Alongside leaving you feeling energised, good nutrition can aid in balancing our hormones – something that can be particularly helpful during the menopause!
A diet rich in essential nutrients can also help to support the detoxification processes of the liver, removing unwanted hormones – and it’s these unwanted hormones floating around the body that can leave you feeling so wretched during the menopause!
We asked Pai’s resident nutritional expert, Lisa Knowles, for her top tips for supporting your body through these natural changes and controlling symptoms of the menopause through diet.
What to eat
- Phyto-nutrients from plants can help to keep your hormones under control to ease menopausal symptoms.Phytoestrogens gently mimic oestrogens to balance hormones and support the liver.
Sources include soya (fermented is best) beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables, garlic, sweet potatoes, whole grains, seeds and nuts.
- Omega-3 to prevent inflammation and keep the skin supple and naturally moisturised.
Try adding flaxseed oil/seeds and small oily fish like mackerel, sardines and anchovies.
- Indoles and Flavonoids for an anti-oxidant effect, to boost energy and reduce hot flushes.
Add berries, eggs, avocado and cruciferous vegetables, almonds, seeds and green tea.
- Calcium, Vitamin D and Magnesium will support bone density and muscle health, alongside helping to strengthen the immune system and aid relaxation.
Try wild salmon, small fish with bones, eggs, sesame seeds, spinach, quinoa, black beans and cashews.Nettle tea is also rich in calcium and iron, and useful for its calming and skin nourishing properties.
What to avoid
- Dairy (yoghurt, milk and cheese) contains high levels of oestrogen (different to plant oestrogen), which can disrupt the hormone changes in body.
Try dairy alternatives such as unsweetened almond, oat or coconut milk.Avoid soya milk, as there are very few good sources available.
- Processed food (such as white bread, cakes, biscuits, sweets, fizzy drinks and food high in sugar or refined carbohydrates and salt).
These foods bring about fluctuations in hormone levels and raise blood sugar levels, increasing the release of insulin and too much insulin results in fat storage.Switch to wholemeal and try dark chocolate to reduce sugar intake.
- Stimulants (coffee, tea, alcohol and spicy food) can make menopausal symptoms worse, especially hot flushes and night sweats!
Supplement and herbs have shown to be have great effect on hormone symptoms.
These include a good multi-vitamin and mineral, Coenzyme Q10, black cohosh, St John’s Wort, red clover, sage, aloe-vera gel and vitamin E oil.
However we recommend having a chat with a health practitioner or seeking advice from an independent health store before adding these to your routine!
Find out what happens to the skin during the menopause here.