Superfoods for Menopause
In this article, we will take a look at superfoods for menopause and what the relationship is between these foods and menopause symptoms.
Superfoods are foods that are nutritionally dense, packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and contain very few calories. While there is no standard criteria for defining a superfood, most are plant-based, but there are some fish and dairy options as well.
Benefits of Superfoods for People Going Through Menopause
Eating a balanced diet consisting of essential vitamins and minerals is important throughout your life; however, menopause puts added stress on the body and therefore requires additional nutritional support. Menopause can be an extremely difficult time for some people as they battle with symptoms including:
- Hot flashes.
- Night sweats.
- Sleep loss.
- Decreased bone health.
- Mood swings.
- Dry skin.
- Weight gain.
- Vaginal dryness.
Estrogen is involved in many of the biological processes in the body, and the deficiency that occurs during menopause can affect various things, including the absorption and utilization of the nutrients you consume. When going through menopause, there are four nutrients that you should pay close attention to: calcium, magnesium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. You should be aware of these nutrients for a variety of reasons including:
- Women going through menopause are less likely to absorb naturally-occurring vitamin B12.
- Magnesium supports the heart, muscles, bones and nerves.
- Vitamin D helps to promote calcium absorption in the body.
- Vitamin D is essential for bone and muscle health.
Luckily, eating a balanced diet consisting of a variety of superfoods can help to promote good health and can even help to relieve some symptoms of menopause.
Superfoods for Menopause
Below we will discuss some of the best superfoods to add into your diet if you are going through menopause.
1. Soybeans, Chickpeas and Lentils
Legumes are rich in phytoestrogens, which can help with symptoms of estrogen deficiency that occur during menopause, including vaginal dryness, hot flashes and mood swings. Additionally, legumes are high in B vitamins, folic acid, potassium, magnesium and fiber.
2. Berries — Blueberries
Berries are packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, as well as potassium and vitamin C. They help to improve skin health, decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease in menopausal people.
Flaxseed is high in essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), which help to relieve symptoms of fluid retention, inflammation, depression and irritability. Additionally, flaxseed is also a potent source of phytoestrogens and B vitamins, which can help regulate estrogen metabolism, helping to minimize symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
4. Seeds and Nuts – Almonds, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds
Seeds and nuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc, and may help to minimize symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, mood swings, sleep disturbances and depression. Additionally, they help to improve bone health and defend against osteoporosis.
5. Green Leafy Veggies – Kale, Collards, Broccoli
Dark leafy green veggies are excellent sources of magnesium and calcium, which both promote healthy bones. Additionally, these magnesium-rich foods help to minimize the severity of migraines, depression and anxiety. Dark leafy greens are also packed with fiber, B vitamins and potassium, which help to prevent weight gain, improve energy levels and regulate mood.
Squash is high in vitamin A which is crucial for healthy skin, bones, soft tissue and teeth. It is also high in fiber which may help to relieve constipation that sometimes accompanies menopausal hormonal changes.
Prunes are high in boron, which is essential for healthy bones as it help to extend the half-life of vitamin D and estrogen. Additionally, prunes can help to reduce hot flashes in menopausal women.
Eggs are rich in vitamin D and iron and are a great source of protein. Eggs have been shown to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity.
9. Cold-Water Fish – Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel, Herring
Cold-water fish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids and help to relieve menopause symptoms, including hot flashes and depression. Additionally, they help to protect against heart disease.
Foods to Avoid During Menopause
During menopause it is best to avoid or limit consumption of certain foods and beverages as they can make menopausal symptoms worse, including:
- Hot beverages.
- Red and processed meats.
- White breads, white rice and potatoes.
- Fruit juices.
Menopause is a naturally-occurring transitional period. The symptoms of menopause can be very disruptive and negatively affect your quality of life. The good news is that consuming a variety of superfoods during this period in your life can help to manage the uncomfortable symptoms and get you through this transition as smoothly as possible.