Nutrition for Menopause
Menopause is often looked upon as an awful time, with horrible symptoms that must be endured! However there are many natural things you can do to make it much more bearable, including tweaking your diet. So I wanted to run through some basics of nutrition for menopause for you in this article.
What is menopause?
Menopause is a time of change and transformation that all women go through as their hormones change and fertility decreases. Officially menopause is when you haven’t had a menstrual cycle for twelve months. The time leading up to this point is called peri-menopause. This change will happen from the ages of 45-55 for most women and last around four years.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Menopause is not a medical condition, it is a natural process, like puberty! But many women will experience some uncomfortable symptoms during the process, including:
- hot flushes
- night sweats
- aches and pains
- joint pain
- crawling or itching sensations under the skin
- memory issues
- reduced sex drive (libido)
- difficulty sleeping – wakefulness or waking hot and sweaty
- dry thinning skin, brittle nails and hair
- urinary frequency
- vaginal dryness
Why nutrition for menopause?
Eating well and nourishing our bodies during peri-menopause is really important in reducing the symptoms and maintaining a good quality of life.
What foods should you eat for menopause?
- The decrease in estrogen during menopause is linked to decreased muscle mass and bone strength, so foods high in protein are really useful and they keep us full for longer too. Choose good quality protein like pastured eggs, grass fed meats, seafood, nuts and seeds.
- Fruit and vegetables are also important to provide us with fibre, energy and a healthy immune system. Cruciferous vegetables may be particularly helpful for menopausal women.
- To protect our joints and maintain heart and brain health, healthy fats are recommended. Choose olive oil, ghee, butter, coconut oil, animal fats, avocado, nuts and seeds.
- Omega 3s are also great in reducing joint inflammation and improving heart and brain health. You can find them in foods like oily fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, oysters and eggs.
- Vitamin D and sunshine help our bone density, immune system and mental well being. Find Vitamin D in fatty fish, egg yolk, cheese and beef liver.
- Adequate hydration with good quality filtered water is also important. You can also use broth, herbal teas and coconut water. It will help with fatigue and dizziness and replenish fluid lost with night sweats.
- Difficulty sleeping can be a real issue during peri-menopause, so melatonin rich foods can help. Find natural melatonin in tart cherries (you can often find them as a juice at health food stores), goji berries, eggs, fish, nuts and milk.
- Magnesium plays an important role for helping to keep bones strong and to prevent osteoporosis. Helps with sleep, headaches (migraines). It fuels part of our cells that help with hormone health. Foods such as: spinach, pepitas, dark chocolate (cocao), almonds, quinoa, avocado & yoghurt.
What foods should you avoid in menopause?
It will come as no surprise when I say caffeine, alcohol, sugar, poor quality carbs and processed foods should be limited during menopause. These foods put stress on the body and can exacerbate menopause symptoms.
Is bone broth good for menopause?
Bone broth, the magical health elixir is fantastic for so many things, so of course it’s going to be good for menopause too!
- the gelatin and collagen are great for reducing joint inflammation and helping with our bone health and skin, hair and nails
- the benefits of gut healing and easing digestion can help us absorb nutrients much better
- the glycine may help with muscle repair and decreasing anxiety and sleeplessness
- the osteocalcin can improve brain function, stabilise mood and enhance memory
- it can assists the liver with detoxification, keeping our bodies running more efficiently
- provides a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals
- a great way to hydrate the body as it is a natural electrolyte
- also a comforting, warm hug in a mug!
This time of transition can actually be a positive experience! Taking care of yourself with good nutrition as one aspect of your natural health plan for menopause can make a world of difference. Nourish your body with good quality, real food from nature and you can actually enjoy this time of life.
What has helped you with peri-menopause symptoms? Let us know!