Menopause Diet: Back to the basics
Studies have shown that women eating a plant-based diet experience less symptoms while in menopause. So why aren’t women listening?
We receive tons of messages, comments and discussions about peri/menopause symptoms that impact women’s daily lives in negative ways. Our cofounder, Danielle, always recommends that women going through peri/menopause use a combination of eating a plant-based diet, working out, and our supplements for optimal results. Research shows over and over that women can try eliminating/adding certain things from/to their diet to drastically reduce symptoms.
Who wants to depend on prescription drugs if you don’t know how it is affecting your body in the long run, especially when a simple diet switch paired with some natural supplements can do the trick? Studies have shown that weight gain could also be a cause for worse symptoms in menopause. So a combination of eating well, but still enjoying your food and a daily workout, could really help women get through this next step of their journey. Here are a few options we wanted to share with everyone.Items to add to your grocery list
- Soy Products: tofu, soy beans, and edamame can help with hot flashes
- Fruits & Veggies: the darker the better because they provide more antioxidants
- Calcium-rich Foods: broccoli, lentils (also give you added benefits like fiber and protein)
- Quinoa: protein-great replacement for white rice
- Greek Yogurt: protein & probiotics (great for your gut & digestion)
- Oatmeal: fights cholesterol
- Saffron: helps with anxiety & sleep
- Tuna & Salmon: because you need omega-3 fatty acids in your diet
- Chia Seeds & Flax Seeds: a great way to add extra fiber to your meal
Calcium isn’t just in cheese
We were all brought up thinking that the best way to get the calcium we need for our body was from milk, cheese, and yogurt. And although these items taste really yummy to some of us, there are also people who are lactose intolerant and can’t eat any of these. Dairy products can also be calorically dense, and maybe not the greatest choice if you’re trying to be calorie conscious. It’s good to know that there are other foods that you can get just as much calcium from - and maybe even more! Broccoli and lentils are the ones that get us most excited! A vegetable and a bean: Two things you maybe would have never expected. And both are items you can get from any grocery store, and that most of us have already eaten. Try this quick tip: Add lentils to your brown rice and get a quick calcium boost with dinner.
It’s a soy thing
A study from Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, found that women on a low-fat, plant-based diet eating a ½ cup of soy beans a day experienced less hot flashes than they had previously experienced. If it just takes adjusting your diet to a more, or almost all plant-based diet and adding soy to your diet to get relief from the symptoms that keep you up, why not try it?
We often get questions on whether or soy is healthy or not. Some researchers suggest that soy is associated with reduced risk of cancer and may help people who have already had cancer, but it can vary among types of cancers. If you have a history of cancer, you need to follow your doctor’s advice on whether or not soy is an option for you. If you have concerns about soy and your personal health goals, a conversation with your doctor is always the first place to start.
A sprinkle a day keeps the anxiety away
Has peri/menopause brought about anxiety and restless nights? If you are trying to avoid medicine, why not try seasonings? Crazy, right? A seasoning we don’t really use in the U.S. might be what you need to help with the anxiety you can’t seem to get rid of. A study from the Journal of Menopausal Women found that women who added saffron to their diet experienced less anxiety from menopause.
Remove from your diet:
- Coffee (only 1-2 cups a day if you need it)
- Alcohol (try and just have one glass of wine a day)
- Sugars (try to really watch intake as it can negatively affect peri/menopause symptoms significantly)
- Meat (unlike what we learned in school, meat is not our first choice for protein)
- Processed foods (omit as much as possible, and make sure you read labels)
Letting go of meat
Meat was always looked at as a great protein to have included in your diet, but recent studies have found that meat keeps leading back to bad health. A recent study shared in the National Library of Medicines found that women with a mainly vegetarian diet had less menopause symptoms than women going through menopause who ate a diet full of meat protein. Protein can be found in a variety of foods from beans/legumes to quinoa! Who would have thought that protein could be found in something like quinoa?
It’s all in what you drink
We keep going back to hot flashes, and that’s because it seems to be the symptom that causes women the most immediate negative impacts. We know everyone loves their cup of coffee in the morning and their wine at night. But both of these drinks can lead to more hot flashes and night sweats. Funny enough, water is the best thing for you when you are trying to get through hot flashes. Drinking water also helps with bloating and dry skin which are other symptoms of peri/menopause, so drink up!:) Water is beneficial in so many ways.
If you aren’t ready to quit alcohol and coffee cold-turkey, start with an elimination test. Remove one or both drinks from your diet for a month while not really changing the rest of your diet (if it’s pretty healthy). How are you feeling? Can you tell if your hot flashes have gotten better or are gone?
Kick that sugar habit goodbye
Sugar seems to be in everything, from white bread, to white rice, sweets, desserts, alcohol and condiments like ketchup. It can even be in our cup of morning coffee (if you don’t drink it black, which can be really hard to do). Sugar can not only lead to diabetes if not handled well, but can add to the reason why you can’t get rid of hot flashes! We wish it was as simple as just getting rid of sweets, but it seems as though there are a lot of things to look at when getting rid of sugars from the diet. The recommendation is to just have 5 teaspoons or less of sugar a day. You can have more than that in just one can of soda!
Grocery shopping time
The next time you head to the grocery store, we hope you use our list and keep the foods we shared in mind. Make it fun, and try new recipes with these ingredients. We can get very used to our favorite recipes and foods, and changing can certainly be difficult at the best of times, let alone when you're fighting through menopause symptoms. But you never know...there might be something from this article that can benefit your body in amazing ways!
We hope you have fun trying the new foods in this new chapter of your diet.