Foods To Help Symptoms of Menopause
With many women experiencing hot flushes, weight gain and plummeting energy levels, it’s safe to say that the menopause is an inevitable buzzkill. But don’t lose hope just yet; good health starts in the kitchen and making informed decisions about your diet could help to ease some of your symptoms. From what to eat to the foods to avoid, here’s our guide to menopause and diet.
Healthy eating tips
1. Cut down on sugar
You’ve probably heard it before, but now is as good a time as any to start cutting back on those sweet treats. We know it’s not always easy to resist a slice of cake, but making a conscious effort to reduce your intake of sugar can decrease your risk of obesity, not to mention the health benefits of cutting the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
2. Limit your meat intake and eat more oily fish
Aside from the physical symptoms, the menopause can also affect our general health too, including triggering high cholesterol levels. It’s wise to limit your intake of red meat due to how rich it is in saturated fat.
Instead, focus on a protein-rich diet from other sources and choose lean meats that are rich in vitamin B12. Turkey and chicken are two versatile options that contain mood-lifting tryptophan, which could help to regulate menopausal mood swings.
3. Reduce how much caffeine you have
Sleep problems can often be a plaguing symptom of the menopause but there are many ways you can get a good night’s rest. One way to tackle insomnia is to limit the amount of caffeine you take in during the day. When you do drink caffeine, drink it earlier in the day. Have your last cup of tea or coffee long before bed to lessen its effect on your sleep patterns.
Tea and coffee are not the only ways we consume caffeine. Chocolate provides a big kick, so do many carbonated drings including sodas and energy drinks. Check your medicines, too. Many contain caffeine. For those of you who are partial to a bar (or two) of dark chocolate, it’s best to limit your intake or indulge earlier in the day so that the caffeine it contains doesn’t further disrupt your sleep.
4. Opt for iron-rich foods
It’s no secret that including leafy green vegetables in your diet is one of the best ways to make sure you get the nutrients you need, and adding these to meals is an easy way to be a little healthier.
These greens are all full of fibre, vitamins and minerals:
- Romaine lettuce
Beans, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds and dried fruit are also high in iron and other essential vitamins.
5. Go for wholemeal or wholegrain carbs
When we’re tired, irritable or even just feeling a little down, it’s frighteningly easy to reach for the biscuit tin. But try to resist – it won’t make you feel any better. Your body’s changing hormones may have thrown the diet rule book out the window, but eating right is crucial to feeling better during menopause. Switching to wholemeal or wholegrain carbs, such as brown rice, can help to keep the insidious ‘middle-aged-spread’ at bay and boost energy levels.
Many whole grain foods are low GI, which means they are high in dietary fibre and absorbed more slowly. This means that we stay fuller for longer, which can help weight loss, reduce blood sugar levels and lower the risks of heart disease and diabetes.
They are also high in vitamins and minerals including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium and selenium.