While menopause is a tough time for many women, I have some patients who seem to breeze through without a problem. What’s their secret? They all eat very well. And by that, I mean they eat a plant-based diet free from inflammatory foods.
I can’t stress just how important a good diet is to overall wellbeing and to your body’s ability to fight the undesirable symptoms of menopause. Even if you’re not ready or willing to give up inflammatory foods like dairy, refined grains, processed meats, and animal fats, you can still up your intake of the following five foods that help ease menopause symptoms.
Salmon for Brain Fog
Salmon appears on many good-for-you lists because it’s not just healthy, but delicious, too. Salmon is full of Omega-3 fatty acids which are known to help with brain function and can combat the dreaded brain fog that so many women experience. Wild-caught King salmon has some of the highest levels of Omega-3s, but other types of salmon are great, too.
Avocados for Supple Skin
Dry, flaky, and itchy skin is a common symptom of menopause. Fight it from the inside by eating skin-supporting foods like avocados, which are high in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, both excellent for supporting healthy skin.
Kale to Balance Hormones and Strengthen Bones
Kale is a twofer. It’s not only a non-dairy food that’s high in calcium – one cup of chopped kale contains around 100 mg – it’s also a superfood with hormone balancing qualities. Calcium is important for women in their middle years because decreasing levels of estrogen in peri/menopause is directly related to the development of osteoporosis. Just be sure that you’re also getting enough vitamin D, as calcium requires vitamin D for proper absorption; ask to have your levels tested next time you see your doctor.
Almonds to Fight Fatigue
Nutrient-dense nuts are an excellent source of energy to give you a boost when you’re feeling fatigued. Almonds are great for an on-the-go snack (and bonus – they’re high in calcium, too). Choose unsalted almonds and remember that a little goes a long way: 20 almonds pack 140 calories, so you don’t have to eat a lot to get the energy you need.
Oats for Mood
Oats are a wonderful gluten-free source of fiber as well as complex carbohydrates and B vitamins for energy. More importantly for women experiencing mood swings in menopause, the vitamins B1 and folate and the mineral selenium found in oats all help regulate and improve mood. Which kind to choose? Steel-cut oats are less processed and are slightly higher in protein and fiber, while rolled oats are quicker to cook.
“Let Food Be Thy Medicine”
This famous quote attributed to Hippocrates is truer now than it’s ever been, as we are faced with an overabundance of highly processed foods full of inflammatory ingredients that can do untold damage to our health. Take the first step of adding in these superfoods listed above to your diet several times a week and slowly remove inflammatory foods, and you may find yourself breezing through peri/menopause, too.