Feel Better by Eating Better: The Dietary Approach to Treating Menopause


Revive Your Mojo: The Woman’s Guide to Naturally Treating Menopause Symptoms

Understanding the Symptoms

Menopause. It’s a time of change, both physically and emotionally. The hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings can leave us feeling like we’re on a roller coaster we never signed up for. And let’s not forget about the vaginal dryness and pain during sex that can make us want to throw in the towel. But fear not, my fellow women, because there is hope! By making some simple changes to our diet, we can ease these menopausal symptoms and reclaim our vitality.

Exercise: A General Boost for Quality of Life and lowers Stress

We all know that exercise is good for us. It improves our physical and psychological well-being, boosts our energy levels, and helps us maintain a healthy weight. But when it comes to menopause, unfortunately, there’s no magic exercise that can make those hot flashes disappear. But exercise and movement has shown to decrease our Stress hormone levels- Cortisol, and that in turn can decrease our anxiety, makes us sleep better, feel more relaxed and due to that,  it will help to relieve hot flashes.  And the good news is that for the stressed folks out there, gentle exercise and movement is much better than signing up for an intense exercise program. . Because high impact and strenuous exercise can also raise your Cortisol levels, and with that worsen symptoms and even prevent weight loss! So gentle and regular does the trick. 

The Link between Diet and Menopausal Symptoms

Now, let’s talk about the real game-changer: our diet. You see, menopausal symptoms are often caused by oxidative stress and impaired antioxidant defense as well as high blood sugar spikes in our bodies. But fear not, my friends, because there’s a delicious solution. High intake of fruits and vegetables has been found to delay the onset of menopause and counteract the adverse effects of those pesky free radicals. So load up on those vibrant berries, leafy greens, and crunchy veggies, and say hello to a smoother transition. If you have a lot of belly fat, that is usually a sign of insulin resistance, and with that you should go easy on the fruit and berries, and focus on the greens and veggies. So instead of having a fruit heavy smoothie, go for a “green smoothie” that has a lot of greens and just add some low sugar fruit, like green apples or blueberries, to add a hint of sweetness. . 

Pro-Inflammatory Foods and Menopausal Symptoms

Here’s a little food for thought: high meat and animal protein consumption has been linked to degenerative diseases, and surprise, surprise, a pro-inflammatory diet can worsen menopause-specific somatic symptoms. But fear not, because a simple swap to a more plant-heavy diet will prevent that.  By incorporating more fiber-rich foods and make sure we focus on plant based sources of nutrition with each meal  we can reduce inflammation and ease those bothersome symptoms. My daily hack is what I call the 80/20 rule: every meal we eat should have at least 80 percent plant based ingredients [ greens, veggies, seeds, nuts, grains, nut milk , soy, etc] , and 20 percent can be animal sources [ fish, eggs, dairy,  meat].  This way you can still enjoy your meat and eggs and occasional steak, but will reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of all the greens. And animal protein is an important source of some important nutrients for us women, but it is all a question of Balance. 

Specific Foods for Menopause Relief

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of specific foods that can provide menopause relief. While poultry and skim dairy products may worsen symptoms, soy milk has shown potential benefits in alleviating those hot flashes and night sweats. So let’s bid adieu to our feathery friends and embrace the soy milk revolution. And, of course, let’s not forget to increase our vegetable intake for that extra boost of menopause-fighting power.

Putting It to the Test: Randomized Trials

You might be wondering, But does all this dietary talk really make a difference? Well, my skeptical friend, let me share some intriguing findings. Women who incorporated soy milk into their diet experienced a whopping 20% reduction in menopausal symptoms within just 12 weeks. And those who followed a plant-based diet reported fewer bothersome symptoms overall. Of course, more interventional trials are needed to establish cause and effect, but these results are certainly promising.

A Plant-Based Diet for Menopausal Transition

Vegans, rejoice! Reports show that vegans experience fewer bothersome menopausal symptoms. So if you’re ready to take the plunge, consider incorporating more vegetables and reducing your consumption of flesh foods. I personally do not recommend a strict vegan diet though, because you need to be very careful in order to not start missing out on the very important B Vitamin family, which are super important for all functions in our body, and as we age we need even more of these.  Also, if you are insulin resistant, all the grains and high sugar fruit allowed in a vegan diet will send your blood sugar on a rollercoaster and make things worse. 

An Interventional Trial: Changing Your Diet

If you’re ready to take a more proactive approach, consider an interventional trial with your diet. Decreasing fat and increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can eliminate those pesky vasomotor symptoms. And for my meat-free comrades, incorporating flaxseed oil, walnuts, and almonds into your diet has shown even better results. Oh, and let’s not forget about those omega-3-rich vegetarian diets, which have been found to reduce the frequency of vasomotor symptoms. It’s time to give your body the love and care it deserves.

Ground Flax Seeds: A Natural Alternative to Hormone Replacement Therapy

Now, here’s a little secret I want to share with you: ground flax seeds. These tiny powerhouses have been shown to significantly decrease menopausal symptoms. In fact, studies have found that just two teaspoons of ground flax seeds daily can have a comparable effectiveness to hormone replacement therapy, minus the side effects. So sprinkle them on your morning cereal or blend them into your smoothies for a natural alternative that will have you feeling like a superhero.

In Conclusion: Embracing a Healthier Diet for Menopause Relief

Ladies, it’s time to embrace the power of a healthier diet in alleviating our menopausal symptoms. By making simple changes, like incorporating more whole plant foods and reducing our meat consumption, we can experience real relief. Remember, this journey is unique to each of us, so it’s essential to find what works best for our bodies through individual trials and personalized approaches. So let’s raise our forks and toast to feeling better by eating better. Cheers to a vibrant and symptom-free menopause!

Remember, eating better can make you feel better!

About Me

Dr. Christina Enzmann is a gynecologist and a certified member of the North American Menopause Society.

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