Foods for Menopause

Here are some ways that you can make dietary changes to counteract the effects of menopause.

The title is a bit misleading. If you could actually beat menopause, there would be a line around the corner for the pill. But, you can lessen the symptoms that often make this time in a woman’s life so annoying and apparent to everyone else. And, it doesn’t necessarily require a pill.

The phrase, “you are what you eat” is quite appropriate right here. In many areas of our lives, what we put in our mouth can make or break the rest of the body. For instance, eating too many processed foods can lead to increased risk of obesity, high cholesterol and stroke. But, changing our eating habits can also lead to other more positive changes on the inside as well as the outside.

Symptoms of Menopause

So, what are these daunting symptoms that many women fear to face? When the body goes through pre-menopause and eventually menopause (begins when the menstrual cycle has not happened for 12 months), the hormone levels that were maintained during childbearing years begin to fall off. Estrogen and progesterone are lower than before, which changes the reproductive cycle and also how the body functions.

It is not uncommon for women going through menopause to encounter a variety of changes. These changes include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, decreased libido, osteoporosis and irritability to name a few. No one wants to feel like they are having a meltdown in the middle of the grocery store or have a fire in their belly when it's 20 degrees outside.

Food Choices for Menopause Management

Here are some changes that you can make to your diet to help alleviate the effects of falling hormone levels and the resulting consequences.

* Fish oil – There are supplements but the best source will always be food. Try eating oily fish at least twice a week. Go for salmon, sardines or mackerel. They are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids which work to improve cardiovascular function and reduce cholesterol and heart disease risk.

* Nuts – They are a good source of plant protein that contains good fats as well as other vitamins like vitamin E for healthy skin, hair and nails. Calcium is also a component of nuts and seeds, which strengthens your bones. Eating soy and flaxseed provide your body with plant estrogens that can help calm hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

* Dairy – Don’t forget milk. It helps to strengthen bones by providing calcium, vitamin D and other minerals that the body needs but rarely gets. Eat your eggs, yogurt and low-fat milk.

* Fruits and veggies – Eat them raw if possible or just cooked to doneness to receive the full nutrient advantage. Not only do you gain energy from raw foods, but also vitamins and minerals that improve intestinal function and fight free radical damage in the body.