Menopause is a period of transition, usually between the ages of 45 and 55, when a woman’s menstruation stops. During this time, the body reduces production of estrogen and progesterone hormones, triggering a chain reaction of other changes that can include hot flashes, headaches, or anxiety, among other symptoms. While these significant shifts are perfectly normal, they can sometimes be quite uncomfortable. For some, eating certain foods can help with managing various symptoms of menopause:
Blueberries have many benefits for those experiencing menopause. Like many other berries, these “superfoods” contain a special phytonutrient called anthocyanin. This substance is a potent antioxidant that can help control your blood sugar, balance your hormones, and fight oxidative stress. These berries are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Other berries you can try that have similar properties include blackberries and raspberries.
2. Spinach and kale
These leafy green veggies are your best source of phytoestrogens, which are plant-based compounds with a chemical structure similar to that of estrogen. Since estrogen decreases during menopause, eating foods rich in phytoestrogens can help ease menopause symptoms. Dark green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, also provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber to support your overall health. You can also choose broccoli, collard greens, and Swiss chard alternatives. However, be careful not to go overboard—too much of these vegetables can lead to an excess of phytoestrogens, which can actually have the opposite effect and cause more problems. Stick to about one serving per day of these vegetables.
Dairy products contain calcium, which can help regulate blood flow and ease hot flashes. Moreover, calcium is also linked to a reduced risk of osteoporosis and metabolic syndrome. While yogurt is perhaps the healthiest dairy product you can choose (it also contains probiotics, which can help regulate gut health), milk and other dairy products can have similar benefits. However, it is important to limit your intake of full-fat dairy products to control your cholesterol levels. Switch to reduced-fat or fat-free dairy products to get the same calcium benefits without the extra calories.
Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for reducing inflammation, which can be common during menopause. Omega-3 fatty acids are also linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. They also help regulate your blood sugar and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Salmon, a type of fatty fish, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Other foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids are herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and wild-caught fish such as trout, halibut, and tuna. Eating wild-caught salmon at least twice a week can help maximize the benefits of this food. On the other hand, if you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet and can’t consume fish, consider taking a daily fish oil supplement to get your daily recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Flaxseeds are packed with fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome and can help lower cholesterol levels and promote healthy blood sugar levels.
Other foods that can help ease your transition into menopause include soy products, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, beans, nuts, and legumes. These are all excellent sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help boost your overall health and ease menopause symptoms.