Lifestyle Tips (Its not all about what we put on our plate):
1. More down time – 30 minutes a day of rest that’s away from your phone or computer
2. Restorative exercise recommended- such as yoga or walking
3. Water – increase to 1.5-2 liters a day
4. Practice deep stomach breathing before bed
5. 15 minutes a day of sun exposure for Vitamin D – lowers risk of osteoporosis and supports the aging process
6. Limit yourself to toxins in the home (E.g- Plug in air fresheners, furniture polish, hair spray etc) These can be hormone disruptors.
7. Try for 8 hours sleep a night in a dark room, no artificial light.
As you can see, menopause ‘management’ requires a holistic approach. Mind and body must work together throughout this major life change.
I have put together a brief guideline for anyone who wishes to follow a menopause fighting diet, please note this is just my guide and my rule in clinic and out of clinic is always have a plate that is plant focused with a variety of colours and nutrients, lots of greens, healthy fats and good quality protein.
FOODS TO AVOID
• Processed and packaged convenience foods (‘’Healthy’’ granola bars, condiments, sauces, dressings etc- Lots of these types of foods are laden with added sugar)
• White refined flour (eg- white bread, white pasta, baked sweet treats)
• Processed and refined sugar (As I said please be aware of hidden sugars in sauces, dips not just the obvious in your starbucks breakfast muffin!)
• Processed soy products (eg-please opt for tempeh, organic tofu, edamame instead of ‘’fake meat/soy burgers’’)
• Un organic, cheap dairy and low fat yoghurts/milk/yakult etc
• Low cal ‘’diet’’ foods (ALWAYS laden with sugar and additives and so un nutritious) Think snack a jacks, mousses, flapjack snack bars etc.
• Processed deli meat, un-organic meat (Your body doesn’t need any extra hormones!)
• Alcohol and caffeine in moderation (If you’d like to have one coffee a day please do so but try and have before 10am, it is a stimulant and will heighten any menopausal symptoms if you go overboard!)
• Spicy foods (In moderation are okay but please be aware that they do cause some internal heat and can aggravate any further hot flushes)
FOODS TO INCLUDE
• Cruciferous vegetables:
Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage- All help to naturally balance estrogen levels.
Spinach, watercress, rocket, lettuce, celery, cucumbers, 3x portions a day minimum . (Eg-Spinach in smoothie, cucumber sticks and hummus, salad for lunch with avocado/salmon crucial to ensure you are having enough healthy fats!)
Beetroot, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, peas, parsnips, sweet potatoes, white potatoes (Don’t shy away from these they are very high in vitamin B and lysene) carrots, butternut squash, radish’s. I’ve chosen veg specifically high in vitamins, A, B, C, D and E that I would focus on because this is what your body could be craving and lacking. At this time and only for a while I would minimise the use of too many vegetables from the deadly nightshade family; Aubergines, courgettes, peppers etc for the time being just to reduce internal body heat, and inflammation that maybe causing aggravation resulting to night sweats and hot flushes.
Bananas, apples, pears, figs, berries in abundance, kiwis, lemons, limes.
I have picked some fruits that are seasonal at the moment (It’s important for our bodies to sync with seasons especially as we go through hormonal changes) high in vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidant rich. Please do not limit your intake on fresh fruit, I would much rather you ate you these freely than restricted yourself for fear of too much sugar.
SO IMPORTANT! As Women we seem to be programmed to fear it…! Focus on fatty oily fish, salmon, avocados, cold pressed olive and hemp oil, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, brazils, pumpkin seeds, nut butters- Our bodies need fat to function, regulate and maintain healthy hormones. (Be sure to have aprox 55 grams of fat a day, to give you a guideline half of a medium sized avocado has roughly 10 grams of unsaturated good fat)
• Protein and calcium sources:
Organic free range eggs, organic goat/sheep cheese, lentils, black beans, chickpeas, coconut yoghurt, full fat organic greek yoghurt, organic tempeh, organic chicken, organic turkey, organic nut milks (I would opt for coconut and always unsweetened please with minimal ingredients)
(Calcium levels drop during menopause so it’s vital please to keep these levels up to avoid any decrease in bone density, maintain healthy skin, hair, nails and thyroid function.)
• Grains and flours:
Brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, chickpea flour, coconut flour, gluten free flour blend (for baking) sourdough, rye or millet bread.
Hydration hydration hydration! Below are my favourite herbal blends for a menopausal diet.
Try and incorporate a variety into into your day, most are all very internally cooling, balancing and calming for the body
Fennel and peppermint tea- For digestion, great after a meal.
Camomile tea- For relaxation, destressing, unwinding.
Green tea- Pick me up, minor stimulant, cleansing.
Dandelion tea- Internally cooling, and wonderful for skin, it’s a natural diuretic so brilliant for flushing out any unwanted toxins.
Fresh lemon balm- Very calming
Liquorice tea- Wonderful if you need something sweet.
Ginger tea- De bloating, immune boosting.
Rosehip/hibiscus tea- High in antioxidants.
Water with lemon, cucumber or chlorophyll drops.