Menopause can be a turbulent experience, it can also be transformative. Hormones fluctuate naturally and symptoms can be signs that there are imbalances elsewhere in our lives.

Here are some tips to help: 

1. Eating a balanced diet of fats, proteins and carbohydrates ensures you feel full so less likely to snack, have stable blood sugar and  have better energy and mood. It’s vital that you eat carbohydrates, fats and proteins at every meal.

    • Best forms of carbohydrates are vegetables, fruit and whole grains (wheat, barley, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, rice, millet). 
    • Best forms of protein include lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, soy products (tofu, tempeh, miso), legumes, pulses and grains (you need to mix grains and legumes to get quality protein) . You need to eat around 30g of protein each meal to ensure your body has the building blocks to function fully. As we age muscle mass and bone strength can decline, this is associated with a reduction in oestrogen. Eating a good amount of protein counteracts this.
    • Best forms of fat include olive, flaxseed and fish oils, avocado, nuts, seeds and fish, with some butter and coconut oil.  Omega-3 fatty acids may decrease the frequency and severity of hot flushes and night sweats. Omega- 3 fatty acids are found in oily fish, fish oils and flaxseed oil. 

2. Eat 5 – 7 servings of fruit and vegetables to ensure you are getting enough vitamins, minerals and plant nutrients that are important for hormone balance. Numerous studies show that menopausal women eating lots of vegetables, fruit and soy experience fewer hot flushes and reduce the risk of post-menopausal health conditions such as cardiovascular disorders and certain cancers. 

3. Calcium is important for post-menopausal women as deficiency increases the risk of osteoposrosis. Oestrogen is important for strong bones. When bone density decreases with age, declining oestrogen and reduced calcium can exacerbate bone loss. Dairy products contain a good amount of calcium and other bone boosting nutrients. Green vegetables such as broccoli and pak choy, small bony fish such as sardines and soy also contain easily absorbable calcium. 

4. Phytoestrogens are specific compounds found in plants that help to modulate oestrogen by selectively binding and regulating receptors on cells thereby balancing the effect of excess or deficient oestrogen.  Several studies show they may reduce incidences of hot flushes. Phytoestrogen rich foods include flaxseeds, lentils, soy beans, chickpeas, peanuts, barley, grapes, plums. pears, apples, grape berries, beans, sprouts, cabbage, spinach, grains, garlic, onion, wine and tea. 

5. Gut health is extremely important (you knew that was coming). Hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone are influenced by the health of the gut and vice versa. Eating fibre and prebiotic foods are key. Fibre helps ensure excess oestrogen and other wastes are removed and prebiotic foods fuel the ‘good bacteria’ which create the short chain fatty acids crucial to a healthy gut and body. Fibre and prebiotic rich foods include legumes, oats, berries, bananas, asparagus, onions, leeks and garlic. 

6. Love your liver – alcohol affects oestrogen’s detoxification and removal. This can cause symptoms including migraines and hot flushes. Be cautious with how much alcohol you drink – try other options such as kombucha or kefir in a wine glass instead. Eating a wholefood rich diet ensures your liver has the nutrients required to carry out its roles including detoxification of oestrogen and cholesterol. 


Other lifestyle tips: 

  • Getting a good sleep is critical for our body to repair and recover. Melatonin, serotonin and oestrogen are related when one is low it affects the others. Sleeping well improves your mood and oestrogen balance.  
  • Keep calm and de-stress. Stress causes havoc with our hormones. Cortisol is made at the expense of reproductive hormones.. 
  • Movement is vital in maintaining weight, balancing stress hormones, strengthening our bones, increasing testosterone (important for motivation and energy) and helps with sleep and mood.
  • Watch out for foreign oestrogens in your environment – chemicals like BPA mimic oestrogen causing unpleasant symptoms such as hot flushes. 

I encourage you to be curious about the symptoms you experience and reflect on the possible reasons – are there areas of your life that need some attention?  Your diet? Your lifestyle? Your mindset?  This is your opportunity to make the changes to ensure a happier and healthier future. 

There is a YouTube video of this blog. Head over to Sarah’s You Tube Channel if you are interested in watching rather than reading.

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