Eat Your Way Through Menopause - Part 1
By now most women know that it is possible to control many physiological issues with dietary changes. That includes the sometimes out-of-control symptoms a woman gets with menopause. While women experience various symptoms at various times, and each is unique to the woman herself, the fact is that most (if not all) women experience some level of symptoms indicating menopause is either approaching or has arrived in Technicolor.
You Can Deal with Symptoms Using Food Strategies
Whether your symptoms are hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats or headaches, there are food strategies you can use to help make your menopause years more comfortable and easier to live through. These food strategies can not only help you deal with menopause symptoms, they will also help to protect your heart and your bones. The important thing to remember is that everything is subject to change. What works today may not work six months from now and what works for you may not work for someone else. And, the truth of the matter is that you probably won't find any surprises here. They are all things we should be doing anyway, long before menopause arrives in our lives - but if it takes menopause to motivate you, then hurray for menopause!
If You Eat Soy, Make Sure It's Fermented
For a good many years soy, in the form of tofu, was touted as the panacea for many things, particularly phytoestrogens. However, Research over the past five years indicates that soy isn't the best food to gain these nutrients. Isoflavones in soy are particularly damaging and are responsible for thyroid problems. Soy products won't be helpful unless they are fermented soy products, such as miso. So, if you've been part of the "soy is good for me group", check out the research and make the switch to fermented soy products for your health's sake.
Eat Your Veggies
Eat more fruits and vegetables (not that you didn't already know that). Fiber, vitamins, minerals and naturally low fat levels are all benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. If you can purchase organic fruits and vegetables, then you're even farther ahead. When it comes to menopause, these foods are a real bonus because of the phytoestrogens that are in them. Phytoestrogens are similar in construction to the estrogen that is in our bodies (and that we're losing fast during menopause). Phytoestrogens have the potential to trick the body into thinking it has more estrogen than it really has, thus lessening some of the symptoms caused by lower estrogen levels.
There is a catch to eating phytoestrogen rich foods if there is a risk of estrogen-sensitive cancer. Research is still incomplete in this area, so, if you have had or are currently dealing with an estrogen-dependent cancer, it is probably best not to eat phytoestrogen rich foods every day.
Where to Find Boron
Boron is a mineral that is found in plentiful amounts in fruits and vegetables. Its value for the menopausal woman is that it helps the body hold onto estrogen. An added feature is that is also decreases the excretion of calcium in our bodies which works towards keeping bones strong. Phytoestrogen rich foods that also contain boron include some of these favorites: plums and prunes, strawberries, apples, tomatoes, pears, grapes, grapefruit, oranges and raspberries. Vegetables include asparagus, beets, bell peppers, broccoli stems, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, soybeans, sweet potatoes, turnips and wheat.
Beans, Beans, The Magical Fruit
Beans are an amazing and nutritionally efficient food. You won't find too many other foods that pack the kind of punch that beans do in terms of health benefits. They slow glucose absorption in the bloodstream which means that you feel fuller longer so your appetite is curbed. They're loaded with fiber and contain phytoestrogens. Folic acid, vitamin B-6 and calcium are just a few of the many vitamins and minerals that are stuffed into these little powerhouses. Best of all, they are an excellent source of low-fat protein.
Unfortunately, most people only think of beans in chili or refried beans in a tortilla. There are some great ways to add beans to your diet other than chili. Try sprinkling some into a salad or pasta dish. Add beans to soups, stews or casseroles. A 3-bean salad is always a favorite and tastes great any time. If you can't stay away from tortilla chips, then make a bean dip to go with them.
Check out next article to discover other ways to enhance your menopause experience through the foods you eat.