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What Foods Can Balance Hormones During Menopause?

What Foods Can Balance Hormones During Menopause?

Menopause! Can be a wonderful time of transition for women in their mid to late 40’s and 50’s. For some women, they welcome an empty nest, the time for Self, the time to create, and the time to accomplish what they have been putting off for years.

Foods Can Balance Hormones During Menopause

They embrace the changes in their bodies and don’t miss having a menstrual cycle. If this sounds like you, congrats, you're the minority of women who do well during these hormonal changes. If not, you're the majority of women who dread having menopause due to various unpleasant symptoms.

But these symptoms can be minimized and prevented with certain lifestyle changes. 

Some women tend to have a challenging time grappling with the changes of hormones, with their bodies, and their overall health. Below are some of the symptoms that most women endure during menopause: 

Irritability

Hot flashes

Night sweats

Insomnia

Weight changes

Emotional swings

Headaches

Depression

Low energy

Brain fog

Metabolic shifts such as bone density loss


Factors pertaining to these symptoms are based on a long-term imbalanced lifestyle. For instance, a poor diet primarily made up of processed foods, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, emotional stress, lack of exercise and lack of sleep will enhance these symptoms. Having said that, we can make incremental changes to change all this. 

First, let’s begin with our state of mind when it comes to menopause. It's essential for women to be aware that their bodies are preparing to change due to hormones or lack thereof. This is inevitable, so embrace this anatomical change and prepare for it by consuming whole foods, reducing stress, movement, hydration, and good sleep.

Nourish yourself with whole foods such as fresh, organic, and local fruits and vegetables. Eat whole grains, nuts, and seeds, legumes, sustainable fish, and poultry, along with cold-pressed oils.

Foods to Balance Hormones During Menopause

The lists below offer you the top foods in each category of vitamins and minerals needed to alleviate symptoms caused by hormonal changes.

Phytoestrogen Rich Foods 

These are not only colorful but also act like weak estrogen which reduces symptoms of night sweats and irritability. 

Such foods are:

  • Flaxseed
  • Soybeans, edamame
  • Berries
  • Pear
  • Whole grains 
  • Spinach
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Tamari
  • Squash
  • Dark leafy greens like Kale

*Avoid spicy foods which can exacerbate night sweats. Reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake can also reduce these symptoms.

Carotenoids

Carotenoids help protect cells from damaging free radicals. 

Find them in:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cantelope
  • Bell peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Apricots
  • Carrots
  • Collard greens
  • Winter squash
  • Papaya
  • Romaine Lettuce

Fiber-rich food

Dietary fiber is a must in all stages of our lives, especially during menopause as they help maintain balanced blood sugars and cholesterol levels. You can find fiber in all vegetables and fruits.

Such as:

  • Raspberries
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard Greens
  • Broccoli
  • Swiss chard
  • Spinach 
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Cranberries
  • Lentils
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Winter squash 
  • Summer squash

Iodine

Iodine assists in proper thyroid gland functioning and synthesizing thyroid hormones T4 and T3.

Food with high sources of Iodine are:

  • Sea vegetables
  • Organic plain yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Strawberries

Iron-rich

Iron is essential for the distribution of oxygen to the body. Low iron causes fatigue, dizziness, and brain fog.

Enjoy the benefits of iron by eating:

  • Spinach
  • Turmeric
  • Swiss Chard
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Tufo
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Venison
  • Quinoa
  • Grass-fed beef liver

Niacin B3

Niacin B3helps stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol and plays a crucial role in the production of estrogen and progesterone.

Foods with high sources of B3 are:

  • Crimini Mushrooms
  • Tuna
  • Organic Chicken
  • Wild Salmon
  • Asparagus
  • Turkey
  • Sardine

Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and minimize your chances of headaches and migraines.

Sources of Omega fatty acids are:

  • Wild salmon
  • Scallops
  • Sardines
  • Cod
  • Tuna
  • Flaxseeds
  • Walnuts
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Soybeans

Pantothenic Acid - B5

Pantothenic Acid - B5 helps improve our ability to respond to stress by supporting our adrenal glands. Relieving stress is crucial especially during this time of life. Such foods are:

  • Crimini Mushrooms
  • Cauliflower
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Yogurt
  • Corn

Phytoestrogen 

Phytoestrogen foods have the ability to act as weak estrogen. This helps us balance our hormone levels of estrogen fluctuations during menopause.

Enjoy the following foods:

  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Tofu
  • Raw soybeans
  • Beans 
  • Natto - fermented soybeans 

Potassium

Potassium helps us maintain calcium levels and lower the risk of High Blood Pressure. It also assists in our muscles and nervous system to function, reducing any symptoms of low energy, confusion, brain fog, and fatigue.

Daily servings of:

  • Swiss chard
  • Crimini Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Winter squash 
  • Summer squash 
  • Tomatoes
  • Collard greens 

Protein

Protein assists in strengthening the immune system and maintaining muscle mass. Protein is found in must foods, especially:

  • Cod
  • Tuna
  • Venison
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Chicken
  • Grass-fed Beef
  • Spinach
  • Sardines
  • Crimini Mushrooms
  • Wild Salmon
  • Asparagus
  • Tofu
  • Broccoli
  • Soybean
  • Swiss Chard
  • Collard greens 
  • Cauliflower
  • Organic Plain Yogurt

Selenium

Selenium enables thyroid hormone production and is an essential mineral that helps maintain the proper function of the thyroid glands. This mineral is also essential in the thyroid to produce an active form of T3 which regulates the number of hormones that are produced. It can also relieve fatigue.

Find it in:

  • Crimini Mushrooms
  • Cod
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Shrimp
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Wild Salmon
  • Mustard seeds
  • Eggs
  • Turkey
  • Oats
  • Chicken
  • Tofu
  • Grass-fed beef

Tryptophan

Tryptophan will regulate your appetite and elevate your mood. It also promotes sleep. Consuming the following foods will help fend off low energy and depression:

  • Shrimp
  • Crimini Mushrooms
  • Cod 
  • Tuna
  • Chicken
  • Scallops
  • Spinach
  • Turkey 
  • Tofu
  • Grass-fed Beef
  • Sardines
  • Wild salmon
  • Soybeans

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 supports the nervous system and promotes the proper breakdown of sugars and starches which prevents build-up in the blood. May cause fatigue if deficient.

To avoid this, try a daily dose of:

  • Spinach
  • Bell Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Tuna
  • Cauliflower
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 has been linked to reducing hot flashes during menopause. Great sources of B12 are found in:

  • Grass-Fed beef Liver
  • Legumes
  • Organic Plain yogurt
  • Clams
  • Eggs 
  • Nutritional yeast

Vitamin E

Vitamin E as you all may know strengthens the capillary walls in our skin to maintain moisture and elasticity, meaning it keeps our skin looking youthful.

Foods with a good source of Vitamin E are:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Swiss chard
  • Almonds
  • Spinach 
  • Collard greens 
  • Kale
  • Papaya
  • Olives
  • Bell peppers
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Kiwi
  • Blueberries
  • Tomato

Zinc

Zinc helps balance our blood sugars and stabilizes our metabolic rate. Lack of zinc in our body decreases the response of the hormone Insulin which may lead to unstable blood sugars.

Consuming the following will add zinc to your diet:

  • Crimini mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Grass-Fed Beef
  • Summer squash 
  • Asparagus
  • Venison
  • Chard
  • Shrimp
  • Collard greens
Foods Can Balance Hormones During Menopause

Let’s talk about bone health!

Osteoporosis is the loss of bone minerals, density, and bone strength. The bone loss is particularly found in the spine and long bones of the arms and legs. This can be prevented with a good diet and weight training exercise. Adequate minerals of manganese, phosphorus, vitamin D and vitamin K, Strontium, and Silicone all help the absorption of calcium.

You can find high sources of calcium in the following foods:

  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Basil
  • Swiss chard
  • Plain organic yogurt
  • Kale
  • Celery
  • Goat milk
  • Broccoli

Vitamin K

Vitamin K helps protect us against osteoporosis and prevents oxidative damage. This particular vitamin is found in:

  • Parsley 
  • Kale
  • Spinach 
  • Swiss Chard
  • Collard Greens
  • Cayenne Pepper (in moderation)
  • Cranberries
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Basil
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Avocado
  • Asparagus
  • Celery 
  • Seas vegetables
  • Green Beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Soybeans 
  • Tomatoes
  • Black peppers 
  • Green peas 
  • Carrots
  • Bell peppers
  • Summer squash

Manganese

Manganese helps strengthen bones and relaxes our nerves and muscles.

Such foods to consume are:

  • Swiss chard
  • Spinach
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Flaxseeds
  • Green beans
  • Collard greens
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Buckwheat 

Foods Can Balance Hormones During Menopause

Final thoughts

Consult your healthcare practitioner to test the levels of your hormones and the necessary vitamins and minerals needed for you to thrive during this inevitable transition. Include the necessary vitamins in your diet and generous consumption of Phytonutrient-rich foods. You can also supplement with vitamins and minerals, ensuring you talk to your professional health care provider before doing so. 

“Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food” - Hippocrates.

If you notice, baked goods, processed foods, alcohol, sugars, and sodas were not added to any lists. These foods are not nourishing and excessive consumption will deplete and may harm you especially during Menopause. Eating nutrient-dense rich foods will nourish and balance you. 

In addition to whole foods, it’s crucial to add movement to your existence. Daily walks, yoga, and weight training are great places to start. Keeping your joints lubricated and your muscles stimulated will prevent future physical ailments.

Enjoying outdoor activities like cycling, tennis, and hiking can elevate your mood while getting your dose of vitamin D. 

Last but certainly not least, honor your body. Drink ample water and rest when tired. Ensure you sleep at a decent time to enjoy a full night's sleep and wake up feeling rested and energized. Menopause is a time for self-love. Invest in yourself to feel physically, mentally, and energetically balanced. 

References:

‘Food and Healing’ - AnneMarie Colbin

‘The world’s Healthiest Foods Essential Guide for Healthiest way of Eating’ - George Mateljan

 

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