Know someone who’s going through menopause? Or going through the so-called ‘change of life’ yourself? Here are seven simple strategies you can use to ease that transition by keeping you (and your hormones) balanced. It’s all about what you eat and drink – I call it my Happy Hormones Menopause Diet.
Menopause diets are a bit like bras – seriously!
Let me start by saying that just like bras, there really isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to a menopause diet. No matter what Facebook ads try to tell (and sell!) us.
For some women keto and intermittent fasting is the bomb, but for me this affected my liver and cholesterol. For others a vegan or vegetarian diet works for them, but this gave me brain fog and low energy. Then there’s the plain old low-fat, low-carb, low-sugar option. It’s pretty boring and low in fun (as well as everything else!), but it does work for me – when I stick to it.
I’m not a nutritionist, so I recommend speaking to one about your specific circumstances if you want to lose weight during menopause (or anytime really). What I focus on is hormones and how what we eat affects our hormones, particularly during menopause.
Your hormones and menopause
As we approach menopause our hormone levels begin to change and post-menopause some are practically non-existent. Oestrogen and progesterone levels decline, leading to a bunch of symptoms. Everything from hot flushes and low libido to insomnia and anxiety. This decline also affects your metabolism. That’s the way your body converts what you eat into energy or stores it away as fat to use later. However in this modern age there is never a lack of food so the stores just keep piling up. This is why a lot of women gain weight during menopause.
So what are the key things we need to consider when it comes to a menopause diet? Here are seven things that will help smooth your journey through menopause:
#1 Protein in a menopause diet
Our declining oestrogen levels are also linked to a decline in muscle mass and bone strength. A great way to combat this is to increase protein consumption. Guidelines recommend that women over 50 eat 0.45–0.55 grams of protein per 1–1.2 grams per kg of body weight daily — or 20–25 grams of high-quality protein per meal.
Pure Protein Complete™ is a formulated supplementary food designed to give you a protein boost whenever and wherever you need it. It has 25.7g of protein per serving from 3 different protein sources: whey, pea & egg proteins. Protein is necessary for tissue building and repair, and is essential for whole-body health. Protein contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass and the maintenance of normal bones. I love the Vanilla Spice flavour but the Chocolate one is great too.
As you age, particularly during menopause, your existing collagen breaks down, and it’s harder for your body to produce more. Collagen is a protein responsible for healthy joints and skin elasticity, or stretchiness. It’s in our bones, muscles, and blood, comprising three quarters of our skin and a third of the protein in our body. It’s even found in our vagina. Lower oestrogen can lead to decreased collagen in the vulvar tissue and decreased blood supply to the vagina and vulva.
Bloom by Young Living Collagen Complete® delivers the glow-giving benefits of 10,000 mg of Peptan® liquid marine collagen peptides, also known as hydrolyzed collagen. It also includes wolfberry juice, jasmine green tea extract, and skin-supporting vitamins and minerals with a delicious wolfberry-citrus flavour. A unique formula infused with Young Living’s most popular citrus essential oils, Grapefruit, Lemon and Lime.
#3 Calcium and Magnesium
Our testosterone levels decline during peri menopause which increases the risk for osteoporosis. On average, women lose up to 10 per cent of their bone mass in the first five years after menopause. Weight bearing exercise, a diet high in calcium and Vitamin D are recommended for reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Women approaching menopause are often told to take a calcium supplement if they aren’t getting enough in their diet. However calcium by itself can be toxic and deposits itself in the soft tissues leading to arthritis. Magnesium actually helps with calcium absorption by encouraging the thyroid to make calcitonin. Calcitonin is a hormone that helps the body to absorb calcium into the bones where we need it.
MegaCal™ is a powerful calcium and mineral powder. This supplement is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, manganese, and vitamin C.
#4 Healthy Fats for a menopause diet
This includes fats from avocadoes, seeds, nuts, coconut oil, olive oil, oily fish such as salmon and Omega 3s. Omega 3’s can support a healthy cardiovascular system, energy levels, bone health and brain function. And enhance general health and wellbeing. In our modern diet we get a lot of Omega 6s and 9’s but not many Omega 3’s. So, we need to supplement them particularly as we get older.
OmegaGize3™ combines the power of three core daily supplements—omega-3 fish oil, vitamin D3, and CoQ10 (ubiquinone). These supplements are combined with our proprietary essential oil blend to create an omega-3, fish oil supplement that supports in adults a healthy cardiovascular system, bone health and brain function. OmegaGize3™ may enhance general health and wellbeing in adults as well as supporting energy levels.
The omega-3 in OmegaGize³™ is one of the purest fish oils available and is rigorously and independently tested to ensure that it is free of environmental pollutants.
#5 Phytoestrogen Foods
Phyto is a Greek word meaning plant so these are plants that function like oestrogen. They include brown rice, fennel, celery, chickpeas, grapes, garlic, buckwheat, sesame seeds, caraway seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, sprouted seeds, mung beans, red onions, green tea, tempeh and miso. These foods are particularly important to include in a menopause diet.
You may read that soybeans are a phytoestrogen food which is true. However, it’s best to stay away from processed soy based foods such as soy milk, soy cheese, soy yoghurt etc. as these contain soy protein isolates, rather than nutrition from the whole soybean.
Seed Cycling is where you eat certain phytoestrogen seeds at different times of the month to get the most benefit. Research on this is inconclusive however the benefits of these seeds make it a winner in my book. Menopausal and postmenopausal women often don’t have a regular menstrual cycle. So they can use the phases of the moon as a guide to cycle dates, with day one of their cycle falling on the new moon.
For the first 13–14 days of the cycle (until the Full Moon), eat 1 tablespoon each of freshly ground flax and pumpkin seeds per day.
During the second half of the cycle, eat 1 tablespoon each of ground sunflower and sesame seeds per day until the first day of the next cycle (New Moon)
#6 Liver Loving Foods
If your liver isn’t functioning properly it can’t detoxify excess chemicals and hormones in your body, including oestrogen and xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that mimic your natural oestrogen. You’ll find them in many personal care products, toiletries, plastics and cleaning products. If not cleared, your body stores oestrogen causing oestrogen excess which leads to a host of health problems. It is important to love our liver by limiting alcohol consumption and increasing our consumption of liver loving foods. This includes green leafy veggies and cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale which all help your liver to function better.
JuvaTone is an advanced phytonutrient supplement that promotes healthy liver function through a powerful herbal complex and a blend of potent premium essential oils. JuvaTone is an excellent source of choline and contains dl-methionine, which helps with normal excretion functions and helps recycle glutathione, a natural antioxidant that is crucial for normal liver function. It also contains Oregon grape root, which provides the liver-supporting compound berberine, and Lemon, German Chamomile, Rosemary, and more premium essential oils for a well-rounded liver-health supplement you can take multiple times daily. This product is available to order from Young Living in the USA by doing a Not for resale (NFR) order.
*Not sure how to order NFR? Just drop me a line at [email protected]
Bowel movements also help to eliminate toxins from our body so it is important to keep regular. A great way to do this is by increasing our fibre intake. While my body can’t tolerate bread anymore I try to eat a diet that includes whole grains and lots of fibre. Most adult women should get about 21 grams of fibre a day. Foods high in fibre include whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
One of my favourite cereals is Einkorn Flakes which are made with whole ancient grain einkorn and oat bran, Einkorn Flakes Cereal is crispy and lightly sweetened with organic coconut sugar. It also has higher levels of protein, trace minerals, and a lower gluten level than hybridised, modern wheat.
I don’t always get enough fibre from my diet alone. Balance Complete™ is an essential oil-infused, superfood-based meal replacement, supplying an incredible 12 grams of fibre per serving. Whole Ningxia wolfberry powder, nutrient-dense brown rice bran and a wide assortment of super-foods deliver a balanced, complete and nutritionally dynamic meal.
ComforCleanse™ is an effective combination of herbs and essential oils that aids in the relief of constipation and helps reduce the occurrence of constipation. It effectively combines healthy fibre, minerals, herbs and essential oils to cleanse and balance. Conveniently packaged in capsule form, ComforCleanse also contains Cascara sagrada bark and psyllium. ComforCleanse was formulated to help cleanse and restore balance with the entire bowel in mind.
Don’t forget the Water!
Our bodies are made up of 75% water but as we go through menopause it feels like everything is drying up. We can go from being a plump, juicy plum to a prune in no time. Our skin can feel dry and itchy and our vagina seems to lose a lot of its lubrication. If we sweat a lot at night or during a hot flush then it is ultra important that we stay hydrated. I aim for 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day but I agree its not always easy especially during winter.
However I have a little trick. Staying hydrated has never tasted so good. YL Vytalyte™ Drops help you stay hydrated by replacing sugary drinks like soda or juice with water, without losing any of the flavour! Get the sugar monkey off your back and lean into healthy hydration with delicious Lavender Lemonade YL Vytalyte Drops. Formulated with naturally occurring minerals from the Great Salt Lake and all-natural flavours, including Lavender and Lemon essential oils, a few drops in your water will keep you hydrated and feeling great!
Fizzy, carbonated drinks don’t count towards your water intake and its not just because many of them contain sugar or artificial sweeteners. In fact carbonated drinks actually affect your bone density and increase your risk of osteoporosis, something we are obviously trying to avoid.
Foods to Avoid
- Alcohol – yes I know big sigh
- Foods high in sugar and salt
- Processed carbs – such as white bread and pasta
- Caffeine – this includes coffee, tea and chocolate as they all can cause hot flushes to be worse.
Note: Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Vitamin and mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.