During menopause, declining estrogen levels can bring uncomfortable and unwelcome symptoms. So many options exist to help address them, but because diet is crucial to overall health, let’s look at how certain foods right under our noses can help.
Hot Flashes: Spinach
Spinach is packed with folate (the synthetic form is folic acid). A 2013 study proved that folic acid successfully reduced the severity, duration, and frequency of hot flashes during menopause. Not only does it help keep your homocysteine levels in check, which is good for hot flashes, but it’s also great for your heart! Other good sources of folate include beans, sunflower seeds, and fresh fruit.
Mood Swings: Fish
Fish are packed with omega-3s, which have mood-stabilizing effects that can help with hormone fluctuations, too. It’s been found that people with low levels of omega-3s are more likely to have anxiety or depression. But that’s not all—menopause can drive cardiovascular disease risk factors due to changes in body composition, lipids, lipoproteins, and vascular health. Fish packed with omega-3s, like salmon, sardines, and trout, are also great for heart health. They are anti-inflammatory and anti-blood clotting, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reducing blood pressure. Aim to eat eight ounces of fish per week.
Low Energy: Whole Grains
Whole grains are rich in carbohydrates, your body’s preferred fuel source for energy production. Add grains like oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, and whole-wheat bread to your diet for sustained energy. Bonus: they also provide mood-boosting serotonin. Eating whole grains instead of refined grains substantially lowers (LDL or bad) cholesterol, vital during menopause when the risk of cardiovascular disease in women rises.
Low Libido: Avocados
The healthy fats, potassium, and vitamin B6 found in avocados can positively impact your libido—and even vaginal lubrication. The nutritional properties have a hand in increasing blood flow, and studies have shown that vitamin B6 supplementation can increase libido in both men and women.
Joint Pain: Herbs and Spices
There are estrogen receptors all over the body, including the joints. When estrogen declines, hormone levels can add to pain caused by inflammation. With anti-inflammatory properties, spices like turmeric and cinnamon can help manage joint pain. Bonus: those same anti-inflammatory properties may help with hot flashes as well.