Menopause is not a condition or a disease. It is a phase in life that requires varying dietary and supplement needs just as our bodies require different nutrients in childhood and the teenage to adult years. It is very important to remember that all our body’s hormones, including the reproductive hormones, are made from nutrients supplied by the food we eat.
Healthy, balanced functioning of the body at all ages depends on food nutrients. A healthy diet can help ease the symptoms of menopause and reduce the risk of disease during and after menopause. To reduce symptoms and to avoid chronic disease, a healthy lifestyle, dietary changes, exercise, and herbal remedies are alternatives to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
- Follow a whole foods diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, pulses, whole grain baked goods and pasta, and salads topped with unrefined oils.
- Include phytoestrogens (phyto- means derived from plants) in your diet. Food containing phytoestorgens are good natural alternatives to hormone replacement therapy to regulate hormone levels. These include soy beans, and soy products such as tofu, tempeh, miso and soy milk, and linseeds.
- Sweet potatoes contain natural progesterone which may help reduce menopausal symptoms.
- Add garlic to your diet to help reduce high cholesterol and protect your heart.
- Prevent osteoporosis by eating low-fat dairy products, sardines, green leafy vegetables, almonds, Brazil nuts and figs: all foods rich in calcium and some that contain vitamin D which is important in the absorption of calcium. Almonds are also a great source of vitamin E.
- Nuts, seeds, soya products, and whole grain cereals also contain the mineral magnesium which is also important for bone health.
- Add one or two tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day. Flaxseed is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which are good for your heart and contain a type of phytoestrogen called lignans, which reduce hot flashes. Grind the seeds and add to cereal, yogurt, salads, stews or soup.
- Limit caffeine.
- Avoid trigger foods. These are foods which may worsen symptoms in some women. Common triggers are coffee, tea, chocolate and spicy foods.
- Avoid processed foods high in sugar, salt and hydrogenated fats.