Tammy Gee

Simple nutrition swaps to support a healthy menopause

You might feel like life gets a whole lot more complicated during menopause. Prioritising your nutrition to support a healthy menopause may feel like another task on an already overwhelming list. Simple nutrition swaps reduce the stressors on your hormones without adding to your ‘to-do’ list.

Simple nutrition swaps

Hormone fluctuations impact our metabolism, our stress resilience, the way that we react to those around us along with our overall health and well-being. By finding simple yet impactful nutrition swaps, you can optimise your self-care and support your health through menopause. Here’s my Seven Colours of Nutrition list of swaps that are easy to fit into a busy life without adding to your stress list:

Whole grains

Opting for whole grains reduces the risks associated with weight gain (especially body fat around the abdominal region) and reduces body fat percentage[1]. Not only supporting well-being during menopause, whole grains reduce the risk of chronic disease post-menopause by increasing your intake of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Swap white rice for brown rice or quinoa and swap white bread for whole wheat or seeded bread.

Phytoestrogen-rich foods

These foods are plants containing molecules that function in a similar way to oestrogen in the body, which may help to reduce hot flushes and night sweats[2]. Phytoestrogen-rich foods include beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts and seeds, fruits such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Incorporating plant based meals into your week by swapping meat for foods rich in phytoestrogens also helps to reduce the shopping bill.

Swap beef mince for lentil spaghetti bolognese or chicken for a chickpea curry.

Calcium and vitamin D

With increased risk of osteoporosis post-menopause[3], calcium and vitamin D become crucial to maintain strong bones and prevent bone density loss. Dairy may be the most obvious food group for calcium, although there are plenty of other calcium-rich foods, including leafy greens, tofu, nuts and seeds along with fortified plant milks for both calcium and vitamin D.

Swap breakfast cereal for natural yoghurt or a packet of crisps for a handful of almonds.

Healthy fats

We might associate fats with negative health conditions, however choosing the right type of fat helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and support your brain function[4],[5]. These fats can be found in avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and may help with managing weight, preventing mood swings and supporting hormone balance.

Swap cooking with vegetable oil to cook with olive or avocado oil.

Menopause and beyond

Making simple nutritional choices during menopause can support your overall well-being and help to minimise the impact of hormonal changes. Incorporating whole grains, phytoestrogen-rich foods, calcium, vitamin D and healthy fats into your diet can help to reduce the impact of menopause symptoms such as weight gain, hot flushes, and mood swings. Long-term, these foods can also promote bone health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Simple nutrition swaps during menopause will not only support your health through this time of change, simple changes also support good health and vitality post-menopause and beyond.

Remember: If you have any existing health conditions or take prescribed medication please consult with a professional before making changes to your health regime.

Tammy Gee

Tammy Gee is a BANT registered Nutritional Therapist (DipION, mBANT, CNHC) on a mission to increase conversation and education around nutrition support for hormone health.

Learn more from Tammy in our article Menopause nutrition in a cost of living crisis.

 

[1] Katcher, H., Legro, R.S., Kunselman, A.R. et al. (2008) ‘The effects of a whole grain-enriched hypocaloric diet on cardiovascular disease risk factors in men and women with metabolic syndrome’ The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 87, 1, 79-90.

[2] Chen, M-H. Lin, C-C. and Liu, C-F. (2015) ‘Efficacy of phytoestrogens for menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis and systemic review’ Climacteric 18, 2, 260-269.

[3] Meng-Xia, J. and Qi, Y. (2015) ‘Primary osteoporosis in postmenopausal women’’ Chronic diseases and translational medicine 1, 1, 9-13.

[4] Astrup, A., Magkos, F., Bier., D.M.et al (2020) ‘Saturated fats and health: A reassessment and proposal for food-based recommendations: JACC state-of-the-art review’ Journal of the American College of Cardiology 76, 7, 844-857.

[5] Chianese, R., Coccurella, R., Viggiano., A. et al (2018) ‘Impact of Dietary Fats on Brain Functions’ Current Pharmacology 16, 7, 1059-1085.

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