Menopause can be a confusing time for women. But there are some simple things you can do to make the ride a little smoother.
Incorporating the right vegan foods into your diet can significantly impact how you feel and react to some of the symptoms of menopause.
1. Leafy Vegetables
The symptoms of menopause, triggered by the decline of estrogen levels that occur 12 months after a woman’s final period, can be pretty uncomfortable. These include hot flashes, weight gain, sleep issues, and irritability.
One of the best ways to reduce the symptoms of menopause is by eating a diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants. These foods can help boost your immunity, regulate blood pressure and energy levels, support your mood, and prevent cancer and other chronic diseases.
Leafy greens are especially beneficial for women during this time because they are packed with phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. In addition to preventing heart disease, maintaining good digestion, and providing plenty of fiber, these vegetables can lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
For instance, broccoli is a high-quality source of calcium for strong bones. The same goes for kale, collard, turnips, and other leafy greens. These greens are also excellent sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, potent antioxidants that protect your eyes from age-related vision problems.
In addition, these greens are low in calories and rich in magnesium, a mineral essential for muscle and nerve function. This mineral helps absorb calcium, regulates blood pressure and energy production, relaxes muscles, and improves blood sugar control.
These nutrients also play a role in reducing inflammation, which can be a significant contributor to many of the symptoms of menopause. Vitamins C and A are particularly effective in reducing inflammation, while zinc supports your immune system and a healthy response to infection.
In addition to their nutritional benefits, fruits and vegetables can help reduce the symptoms of menopause by improving your mood and lowering your risk of chronic diseases.
Researchers found that women who consumed more fruits and vegetables were less likely to have hot flashes, irritability, insomnia, or other symptoms of menopause than those who ate the least. The data also revealed that women over 50 taking a probiotic supplement had their symptoms reduced even further.
Tofu contains isoflavones and phytoestrogens that help reduce unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
The results of studies have also shown that consuming tofu regularly can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis during menopause.
Eating tofu can also provide additional health benefits, such as improved digestion and skin elasticity.
Daily tofu consumption provides a practical solution for women going through menopause to help lessen unpleasant symptoms while bringing other positive health effects.
A diet incorporating this nutrient can help ease menopause symptoms and reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the body to produce hormones, which is why they are so helpful for hormonal balance and inflammation. They are also known for their ability to reduce the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and depression.
Researchers at the University of Laval in Quebec, Canada, recently conducted a study that found that omega-3 fatty acid supplements were effective in treating several menopause-related mental health problems.
The study compared women who took gel capsules containing marine omega-3 fatty acids to those who took a placebo for eight weeks.
In this study, women who took the fish oil supplement experienced fewer depressive symptoms than the participants in the placebo group. In addition, the study found that the participants who took the fatty acids had less difficulty sleeping.
The research results suggest that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids during the menopausal transition may be beneficial for reducing psychological distress.
More extensive controlled trials are needed to determine whether the supplement can effectively treat the major depressive disorder in the menopausal population.
This is an exciting and vital new area of research. It is the first time scientists have shown that the antidepressant effect of omega-3 fatty acids can be delivered to the brain, and this effect can be achieved at low doses.
For the best results, you should use a high-quality fish oil based on wild, cold-water small fish screened for dioxins and PCBs. In addition, ensure your fish oil contains adequate amounts of EPA and DHA (long-chain omega-3 fatty acids).
Nuts, the seeds of fruit-bearing trees, are a source of nutrients essential for good health. These include high-quality protein, unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
They are also rich sources of L-arginine, an amino acid that can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels and reduce inflammation.
These nuts can be found in many forms, but they can be classified into two categories: tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios) and peanuts. In general, tree nuts are the more nutritious of the two.
Regarding dietary fat, tree nuts have a high content of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the ‘bad’ form of cholesterol that increases your risk for heart disease. They can also help improve your vitamin E status, an essential nutrient during menopause.
Additionally, nuts can provide a significant amount of vitamin K. This nutrient can help to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.
Furthermore, nuts can improve gastrointestinal tract function by reducing your risk of constipation and diarrhea. In addition, they can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and improve your cholesterol levels.
There are several clinical trials and epidemiological studies on the protective effects of nut consumption.
These have been associated with a reduced risk of gallstones, coronary heart disease (CHD), and diabetes in both women and men.
These findings are consistent with the theory that nuts can lower cholesterol by increasing HDL, a ‘good’ form of cholesterol that can help to protect against heart disease and other chronic diseases. Moreover, nuts contain bioactive compounds that may benefit oxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular reactivity, all contributing to atherosclerosis.
Fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help fight disease and reduce the symptoms of menopause. They also provide a healthy dose of fiber, which aids digestion and helps control cholesterol levels.
Berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries, are particularly beneficial for women experiencing menopause. This is because they contain antioxidants and vitamins C and K, as well as folate, manganese, and copper.
The nutrients found in fruits can positively impact hot flashes, insomnia, and other menopause-related symptoms, says Dr. Pattimakiel, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at Yale University.
For example, berries have been shown to reduce the intensity of hot flashes and night sweats in women who are experiencing menopause. Similarly, the nutrients found in spinach, turnips, and collard greens may reduce weight gain during menopause.
Moreover, eating more vegetables can help improve your heart health and reduce your risk of diabetes and obesity. In addition, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and healthy fats has been linked to a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
Another way to lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease is by closely monitoring your cholesterol level, says Dr. Pattimakiel.
“Cholesterol is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases,” she says. “It can affect your mood, increase your risk of breast cancer, and even contribute to heart failure.”
In addition to reducing your cholesterol, replacing saturated fats with plant-based monounsaturated fats such as olive oil or avocado can help moderate your hormones, appetite, insulin response, and vitamin absorption.
Adding eggs to your diet is also an excellent idea for improving your calcium intake. This is important as estrogen declines during menopause, putting women at greater risk of bone loss.