Our diet is key to our well-being, especially in a time of change such as the menopause. Today we know beyond any doubt that choosing the right foods and nutrients offers genuine benefits and can help regulate various symptoms we might be struggling with.
As with sport, weight control isn’t the only benefit that comes with a good diet. During menopause, fatigue levels, bone strength, muscle tone and your skin’s glow will all be affected, so adding supplements which contain micro-nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and plant extracts to your diet can help balance your hormone levels again. This in turn can help regulate weight problems, hot flashes or mood swings.
Useful vitamins and anti-oxidants during menopause
Omega 3 fats
These fatty acids are known as “essential” fats since the body cannot make them itself. They have beneficial effects on the skin, weight and brain. They reduce cardiovascular risks and inflammation and improve mood. Generally speaking, modern diets are too high in omega 6 fats and not high enough in omega 3 fats. The aim is therefore to restore the correct balance in our diet. Foods rich in omega 3 include flaxseed oil, fish oil, Chia seeds, walnuts, fish roe (eggs), fatty fish, seafood, soybeans, and spinach.
Without these, we’d be left without muscles, skin, or hair. In other words, they are very important, especially at a time of life when we are losing muscle and our skin and hair are ageing. Proteins are made up of chains of amino acids. To be certain of getting the ones our body needs, it’s important to eat protein from a variety of animal and plant sources. Try seafood, white meat poultry, milk or cheese and yogurt, beans, eggs or soy for quick protein intake.
Minerals and more
Calcium and phosphorus
The right balance between these two minerals keeps the bones and teeth strong which is crucial during menopause. An easy way to increase your calcium intake is by adding two to four dairy products to your daily intake. Broccoli and legumes are also rich in calcium! As for phosphorus beans, lentils and nuts as well as whole grains are good sources.
Iron & Magnesium
Essential, iron plays a key part in our body’s function including the production of red blood cells whose main function is circulating oxygen. As for the macro-mineral magnesium it is involved in plenty of our body’s chemical process, dealing with everything from sleep to bones and blood pressure so having the right doses is crucial.
Plant extracts & herbal help
Phytoestrogens and isoflavones
Plants like Evening Primrose, Chaste Tree, Soy, Hops and Red Clover all share oestrogen-like qualities, beneficial to regulate hormones and thus moods too. Their high concentrations of phytoestrogens or isoflavones make them a natural ally. Soy, as well as Red Clover have been recommended to combat osteoporosis too. Other plants commonly used include Dong Quai, Ginkgo, Ginseng, Kava, Valerian, Motherwort and Rhodolia as well as St John’s wort, Lemon Balm and Wild Yam.
Remember dosages are tailored to specific individuals so talk to your pharmacist, naturopath or micro-nutritionist for advice.