7 Menopause Superfoods
Nov 11th, 2011 | By Tamekia Reece | Category: Health & Fitness, Menopause
Hot flashes, irritability, night sweats and other symptoms of menopause can make you feel downright miserable. Many women think the only relief is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, help may be right in your kitchen. Make these superfoods a staple in your diet to help ease menopausal symptoms.
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that psychological distress and depressive symptoms associated with menopause improved in women who took supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids. Another study, in the journal Menopause, showed women also experienced fewer hot flashes after consuming omega-3 supplements. To get your omega-3s without using supplements, add more salmon and other oily fish to your diet.
Results of studies have been conflicting, but some researchers believe the plant-estrogenic isoflavones found in soy-based foods, like tofu, soy milk or soy nuts, can help alleviate hot flashes, vaginal dryness and mood swings that occur during menopause.
Fruit and dark green leafy vegetables
Fruit and vegetables contain phytoestrogens, estrogen-like chemicals found in plants. Experts say phytoestrogens may have the same effect on menopausal symptoms as synthetic estrogen used in HRT, without the risks. Next time you’re in the produce section, stock up on apples, apricots, berries and other fruit, and spinach, broccoli and other leafy greens to increase your level of phytoestrogens.
Low and nonfat dairy products
Boosting your intake of calcium and vitamin D can help to reduce the bone loss that often accompanies menopause. To keep bones strong and healthy, talk with your doctor about your specific calcium and vitamin D needs. Then, up your consumption of milk, yogurt, cheese and other low and nonfat dairy products.
Like fruit and veggies, beans contain phytoestrogens that are believed to help with many menopausal symptoms. Rich in iron, beans can also improve energy levels and alleviate the fatigue many women suffer during menopause. If those aren’t enough reasons to add more beans to your dinner plate, fava beans, in particular, are known to boost libido, which often takes a hit when menopause approaches.
Vitamin E significantly decreased both the occurrence and severity of night sweats and hot flashes, according to a study published in Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation. Nuts and seeds, including almonds, pecans, walnuts, flaxseed and sunflower seeds, are chock full of vitamin E.
Although not technically a food, gulping down more water can do wonders for menopausal symptoms. Water can help relieve the bloating often experienced during this time, and it helps keep your body hydrated, which may reduce vaginal dryness. Another bonus? Water makes you feel fuller, so you’re less likely to overeat and better able to manage your weight.
Tamekia Reece is a Houston-based health writer. She’s written for Woman’s Day, Oxygen, Preserving Your Memory and Health & Fitness Sports, among others. For more information, see her website at www.tamekiareece.com.