Menopause produces a variety of symptoms in women such as night sweating, hot flashes, spotting, cramps, mood swings, weight gain and vaginal dryness. This is also the time when a woman becomes susceptible to diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, hyperthyroidism and diabetes etc. HRT or hormone replacement therapy is often the only choice to avoid these problems. However, there are some superfoods which can help relieve menopause symptoms, reduce risk of cancer and also help boost cognitive function. Let us check out what foods are good for menopause:
Soy is a controversial food; but some experts believe that it is one of the best estrogen rich foods for menopause. A study[i] in University of Bologna Italy showed that women in peri-menopausal years who consumed 60 grams of soy daily for 12 weeks experienced significantly fewer hot flashes and night sweats. Also, there is evidence that soy demonstrates estrogen-like behavior to ward off osteoporosis. A study conducted in University of Illinois showed that 66 post-menopausal women had enhanced bone mineral content and density in spine due to increased soy protein in the diet for 6 months.
- A daily intake of 25 grams of soy protein is ideal for menopause
- Tofu of 4 ounces will provide up to 20 grams
- 8 ounce glass of soy milk will give you 9 grams of protein
- Half a cup of tempeh will give you 16-19 grams of protein.
Spirulina is blue-green alga which is extremely rich in many nutrients including beta carotene, B vitamins, selenium, etc. It is also rich in proteins and chlorophyll. Spirulina is believed to be the purest superfoods available in nature and women must include it in their menopause diet sheet.
Dosage: 6 tablets of 500 mg each or 1 tsp of spirulina powder.
Wheatgrass, like Spirulina, is one of the best foods that help with menopause naturally owing to its high chlorophyll content. This green grass contains every mineral and trace mineral available to mankind. Wheatgrass is also a great detoxifier and eliminates harmful toxins and chemicals in the body.
Dosage: Take 1 ounce of wheatgrass juice in the beginning and slowly build it to 4 ounce per day in divided doses. Do not take on empty stomach as it can cause nausea.
Yogurt is one of the best foods for menopause symptoms as it provides calcium and good bacteria that can prevent yeast infections, urinary infections etc. It is also rich in proteins and can help prevent hot flashes.
- Add yogurt to smoothies.
- Mix it up with fruit, nuts and seeds.
- Preferably try to eat plain, sugar free yogurt only.
This is the group of fruits and vegetables which are mostly orange in color and contain beta carotene which is the precursor to vitamin A. Carotenoids are found in carrots, tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, spinach etc and are important nutrients to build immunity. They can also reduce risk of certain types of cancers.
Dosage: Recommended daily intake is no more than 6-15 mg beta carotene per day.
Lycopene rich foods are generally red colored and include tomatoes, apricots, strawberries, watermelons etc. If you are following menopause diet for weight loss, do include these fruits in your daily diet. Lycopene can protect against heart disease.
Dosage: 2-30 mg per day for 6 months.
7. Cruciferous vegetables
These include cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts. Their high phytonutrient content may protect against breast cancer.
8. Vitamin C and potassium rich foods
Citrusy fruits contain Vitamin C which has a high antioxidant activity. It also works with Vitamin E synergistically and helps recycle it. So include plenty of vitamin C rich fruits like lemons, oranges, broccoli, spinach, dandelion greens and asparagus. Potassium rich foods like bananas help balance electrolytes and can prevent bloating, water retention and other menopause symptoms.
Fibrous foods like beans, bran, vegetables, fruits and lentils prevent cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease in menopausal women. You can check out some recipes for menopause.
In addition to using above foods that help with menopause naturally, you should also limit intake of fast, junk and chemical laden foods. Today’s woman faces menopause symptoms nearly 10 years before it actually begins. This is because of the high stress levels as well as the toxic environments we live in. So try to avoid high sugar intake and choose minimally processed foods, and organic fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Drink plenty of water and make exercise an essential part of your daily routine.
[i] SuperFoods: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life By Kathy Matthews, Steven Pratt MD