How to Eat to Reduce Your Menopause Symptoms
How you feel during menopause can be influenced by many factors, including age, stress levels, weight and overall health. A little known fact is that the foods you eat can help minimize troublesome menopause symptoms such as mood swings and vaginal dryness. When you go through the change of life, estrogen and progesterone fluctuations are a primary cause of menopausal symptoms, but insulin also plays a significant role when it comes rebalancing hormones, and insulin levels are directly influenced by diet.
Insulin is produced by your body when you eat, and it enables the cells of your body to absorb glucose, also known as blood sugar. If you consume a diet heavy in processed foods with lots of additives, fillers and preservatives, you will experience spikes in blood sugar and insulin, which can wreak havoc on hormone levels. To minimize this risk and bring hormones back in balance, opt for healthy whole foods that stabilize blood sugar levels, such as:
- Fresh vegetables and fruit. A good rule of thumb is to fill at least half your plate with colorful organic produce.
- Fresh oily fish at least twice a week (choose from options like tuna, salmon, sardines and herring.)
- Lean meats and poultry consumed without the skin
- Whole grain breads and cereals (avoid white flour)
A diet based on whole foods will not only improve vaginal dryness and other menopause symptoms, it will also balance mood swings, insomnia, and assist with weight loss. In a recent study, 17,000 women who consistently followed at low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables reduced or eliminated their hot flashes and night sweats, and lost weight to boot!
How frequently you eat is as important as what you eat when it comes to menopause symptoms. You can best manage insulin levels when you eat 5 to 6 small meals each day, as opposed to 3 large meals. If you prefer a traditional meal schedule, try having breakfast, lunch and dinner, but plan to have healthy snacks between meals, such as a piece of whole fruit, a handful of raw nuts, or some cheese with whole grain crackers.
There are many over-the-counter drugs that promise to reduce menopause symptoms, and there are prescription options as well. Before seeking medication, why not try some simple dietary adjustments to see if you can alleviate your symptoms naturally? Not only will you feel better, but your health and energy levels may improve as well.