Women can begin experiencing menopausal symptoms anywhere between the ages of 39 - 51 and they can last for at least 5 years or more. The most common menopausal symptoms are hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain, sleep disturbances, forgetfulness and being tired all the time. Be sure to always remember that menopause is not an illness but rather a new phase in your life. These symptoms are real and can be very uncomfortable, but you don't have to accept them without a fight. So what can be done?
First of all look at your lifestyle choices. What are you eating? Are you overweight? Are you exercising enough? Making a few simple changes can improve all those pesky symptoms. So what are some of the foods that can relieve and help menopausal symptoms?
Calcium-Rich Foods: Menopause can cause a higher risk of osteoporosis due to hormone levels dropping. This means a greater chance of broken bones. Consume more of the following: • Greek yogourt, plain, lower fat • Milk, lower fat • Cheese -- low fat Mozzarella, low fat Parmesan, low fat Swiss • Non dairy -- rhubarb, sardines, spinach, kale, shrimp
Omega 3 -- Fatty Acids: Women experiencing menopause can cut their night sweats by 20 per cent by eating foods rich in omega fatty acids, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Here are some examples: • Olive oil, organic canola oil, walnut oil • Walnuts • Fatty fish such as Tuna, Salmon, and Mackerel • Sardines • Avocado • Ground Flaxseed
Soy: Soy products can offer relief from hot flashes and night sweats since they contain phytoestrogens which helps to balance hormones. Try these foods: • Tofu -- use in stir frys, miso soup • Edamame • Soy beans • Soy protein powder -- smoothies • Soy milk • Soy beans
Nuts, Beans, Whole Grains and Dried Fruit: These foods contain valuable vitamins and minerals which ease symptoms of mood swings and depression. They help to keep blood sugars level.
Vitamin B Rich Foods: Not getting enough B vitamin rich foods can lead to mood swings and depression during menopause. Try including these on a daily basis: • Whole grains • Lentils, beans • Potatoes • Tomatoes • Lean meat, poultry, liver • Broccoli • Spinach • Fish
Fruits and Vegetables: Naturally high in vitamins and minerals, there are plant chemicals called phytoestrogens that trick your body into thinking it has more estrogen relieving menopause symptoms.
Here are foods that can increase menopausal symptoms and should be eaten only occasionally.
Sugar: Sugar increases blood sugar levels which can cause mood fluctuations. It also adds to weight gain and fatigue. • Pastries • Soft drinks/sugar beverages, • Chocolate bars/candy • Jam • Breakfast cereals • Fruit yogurts
Alcohol: Alcohol leads to disruptive sleep and can also affect your mood. In addition alcohol has excess calories leading to weight gain. • Wine • Beer Caffeine: Leads to hot flashes and sleep problems. • Caffeinated beverages • Chocolate
Refined Carbohydrates: These foods lead to weight gain, high blood sugar levels and fatigue. So it's best to avoid them when you can. • White bread • Pasta • Rice • Corn • Potatoes • Pastries
Spicy Food: They raise your body's core temperature and increase and worsen hot flashes. • Chili peppers • Hot sauce
Saturated and Trans Fats: They increase weight gain, increase heart and stroke disease and certain cancer. These include: • Butter • Lard • Fatty meats • Trans fats Hope this food guide helps. Check out some of our delicious Cool-jams recipes, many of which fit into a healthy menopause diet plan!