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Menopause can a difficult time for women as due to decreasing estrogen levels and other hormone changes they deal with menopausal symptoms like weight gain, night sweats, hot flashes, mood swings, and fatigue.
What you eat during menopause is especially important. Eat a healthy diet rich in nutritious wholefoods. What you eat needs to give energy, as well give as much nutrition as possible to support your body in it’s journey through menopause.
Superfoods don’t just have to be for the rich and famous It seems every day there is some new exotic food that some A-list celebrity eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner due to its super amazing health properties.
What I have listed here are your ordinary garden-variety ingredients that have amazing qualities. Make sure your pantry includes some or all of these superfoods.
Include some or all of these foods into your daily diet to improve menopause symptoms such as weight gain, hot flashes, mood swings and more
Avocado and Avocado Oil
These versatile fruits of the gods are rich in plant sterols as well as monounsaturated fats and potassium which can help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. The plant sterols increase heart health and some are able to block estrogen absorption in the body.
These are the chemical estrogens found in some plastics, skincare, cleaning products and environmental pollutants.
The monounsaturated fats or MUFAs can also improve pain and stiffness for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.
Avocados also provide many other essential health-boosting nutrients, including fibre, vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid.
Use in Salads, guacamole, in a sauce for your zoodles or noodles or my favourite mashed on toast with olive oil, salt and pepper and a few drops of lemon juice.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This versatile ingredient has much the same properties as avocado.
This is a monounsaturated fat which is one of the healthy fats and contains a variety of antioxidants. Virgin indicates the oil is extracted mechanically not through heating or chemically. Extra means this oil is from the first squeeze when all the goodness this goddess has to offer is extracted.
For menopausal women this tasty additive is great for your gut health, and does wonders in reducing the inflammation in your body as well.
My Top Healthy Food Swaps
Keep your waistline and your family happy with these hacks
Add one of these food swaps into your life each week to see and feel the positive difference in your health
Stuggling with constipation, try drizzling EVOO on your veggies at night.
If your gut micorbiome is out of balance, it can affect your health, even more so if you are in menopasue. Depression, anxiety, brain fog and hot flashes are more likely to show up for you.
Although far better for you than saturated fats it still contains similar calories so don’t go overboard if you want to maintain a healthy weight.
Use in dressings, sauces, dips. I usually drizzle over the top of cooked vegetables and often add a smidge of vinegar as well. Voila dressing.
These little health powerhouses are one of the most concentrated plant sources of omega-3 fats and is my top pick of nutrient rich foods to eat.
High in soluble and insoluble fibre but low in carbs they are a great ingredient in crackers, muffins bread and muesli. Throw a little in your daily smoothie.
Flax seeds are particularly good for a nice gut health boost as they help to increase the healthy bacteria, the benefits of which will improve inflammation. They are also known to have brain and heart health benefits.
They are also packed with antioxidants that support anti-ageing, hormone balance and cellular health so are a must to eat during menopause.
Use in muesli or low carb muffins, bread, or crackers.
I recently started including a few of these in my daily diet.
For menopuasal women a huge benefit of these high fibre nuts is that they contain Selenium which can improve thyroid function and boost metabolism. Selenium stimulates the glutathione, a powerful antioxidant compound that can remove free radicals that cause wrinkles and even skin cancer from skin cells.
These giants of the nut world also contain zinc which can protect against acne.
Awesome, I know I could quite happily kiss goodbye to as many wrinkles as these suckers can erase.
Brazil nuts may also help inflammation, support brain function, and improve your thyroid function.
Include in homemade nut butter, muesli or just eat on their own. There is nearly a meal in every nut and they are full of healthy fats which keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Rich in omega-3 fats and more antioxidants than most other foods. They may improve brain health while also helping to prevent heart disease and cancer. They also contain powerful antioxidants not found in many foods. Walnuts are like the Superman of the nut world, fighting cancer, diabetes and liver damage and improving brain and male reproductive health. Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Maybe not but I’d rather a walnut than Superman any day.
Use in muesli, salads and anywhere else where you need a nice crunch element.
Fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, yoghurt and even more commonly olives and vinegar. These foods will contribute good microbes to your gut helping to keep that all-important balance.
This balance will help prevent such conditions as irritable bowel syndrome, type-1 diabetes and metabolic diseases and upsets.
Use sauerkraut and pickled veg in salads, on tacos, on top of chilli bowls.
Berries contain concentrated amounts of the disease-fighting phytochemicals. These are found to boost immunity, prevent cancer, protect your heart, and prevent seasonal allergies.
Berries are lower in sugar than most fruits, so they are less likely to destabilize your insulin levels. They are also little antioxidant bullets going about their job of killing free radicals which may play a role in diseases such as cancer.
Use in smoothies, on muesli, in muffins and desserts. How about using raspberries in a chia jam?
Saturated in an alphabet of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, leafy greens are the superstars of the veggie section at the supermarket and should be included in any healthy eating plan. The darker the leaf the better.
Green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, but not spinach are good sources of calcium. Women in menopause start to lose bone mass more rapidly so extra calcium is important to continue to have strong bones.
Your body uses vitamin D to absorb calcium and the best way to get enough is to spend 5 to 10 minutes in the sun. If you don’t have much sun then a Vitamin D supplement will work we..
Use in salads, stews and stir-fries. Why not try some Kale chips for your next snack?
Salmon and Sardines
Salmon and sardines provide omega-3 fats which can benefit your cardiovascular system, your mental and behavioural health, and your digestive health.
They also contain a wealth of other nutrients, such as vitamin B12 and selenium. Boost your brain power, fight inflammation even improve your skin condition. The list of benefits here is long.
Use salmon fried until the skin is crisp and is medium rare with mashed cauliflower and fresh seasonal greens.
I particularly love sardines on toast with lots of olive oil and salt and pepper.
This bright mustard coloured spice often used in Indian cuisine. Turmeric contains curcumin, the polyphenol identified as its primary active component and whose therapeutic benefits include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. It is unfortunately only 3% curcumin and our bodies don’t absorb it well. Consider a supplement or make sure to include a little black pepper when using it as this will help with absorption.
Use in smoothies, stews, curries and chilli. Be careful when you add it to a smoothie, too much is far too peppery and will ruin the smoothie. I speak from experience.
My last but not least superfood was chosen from a list that included dark chocolate, garlic, mushrooms, and gelatine. To go up against chocolate and win in my world you must be special. The humble cauliflower is far from your eye watering expensive ingredients like bee pollen or curcumin supplements. With more vitamin c than oranges per 100gms and cancer-fighting compounds such as glucosinolates and sulforaphane, this simple white vegetable is the star of the world of cruciferous veg.
Cauli could well be my all-time favourite superfood.
Use instead of rice or couscous by pulsing in the blender. Cook and blend with olive oil, salt, pepper and almond milk for a mashed potato-like consistency. Break into florets and use instead of pasta with your favourite sauce.
Foods To Avoid In Midlife
As always if your trying to improve your health through menopause there are also a list of not so good foods
- foods high in added sugars
- foods high in saturated fats
- wheat and wheat products
There are others but if you can manage these two you will be well on your way to a healthy lifestyle.
Of course eating healthy foods is only part of the equation.
Exercise, good sleep and lowering stress levels can also help with keeping on top of your menopause symptoms.