There is scientific evidence that menopausal symtoms such as migraines, hot flushes, mood swings and disrupted sleep can be eradicated or at the least, controlled by dietary changes. My personal experience bears this out.
The unpleasant physical symptoms associated with menopause are thought to be the result of falling oestrogen levels. Oestrogen is a hormone produced mainly by the ovaries. During the menopause the ovaries slowly shut down (as they run out of eggs) until they stop producing oestrogen altogether.
Certain foods contain substances called phytoestrogens which have a similar chemical structure to that of human oestrogen. They can have a hormone balancing effect in the human body when digested by bacteria in the gut by mimicking human oestrogen. They effectively compensate for the falling levels of oestrogen during the menopause and therefore alleviate menopausal symptoms caused by low oestrogen levels.
What foods contain phytoestrogens?
There are several different classes of phytoestrogens including:
Isoflavones: the riches source is found in legumes like soya beans, lentils, kidney beans & chickpeas
Lignans: highest concentration in oilseeds, especially linseed (flaxseed), but these are found in nearly all grains and vegetables
Coumestans: mainly found in alfafa and mung bean sprouts.
There are plenty of other sources of phytoestrogens… these are
Whole grains, like brown rice, barley ,rye and oats
Garlic, Celery, Parsley
Green leafy vegetables, like broccoli, sprouts, cabbage
Try to incorporate as much of these foods as possible in your diet, every day. The Menopause Cake is an excellent source of phytoestrogens. Care should be taken when choosing soya products. Please read my post on the Soya Debate for more on this.
Food Diary – Day 12
Unfortunately I fell off the diet wagon a bit today. I woke up with very little energy and have been wanting something sweet all day. I made it till the evening and just before bed fell prey to a lonely slice of New York Cheesecake in the fridge, whose ‘use by’ date was today. 350 calories according to the side of the box. I had it with fresh blueberries and it was absolutely delicious. To be honest I don’t even feel that guilty but I must make sure that it’s not the start of the slippery slope back to old habits. It just goes to show how important it is not to have these temptations in the house! At least it has gone now!
Breakfast: Half a grapefruit, Menopause Meusli
Lunch: Ready made Nut and Quinoa Salad
Dinner: Roast chicken on lentils with broccoli and courgettes (zucchini)
Snacks & Drinks: Herbal tea, Menopause Cake slice with tahini, japanese cracker with cheese and serrano ham, 3 squares dark chocolate and, confession time, a caramel chocolate digestive and slice of New York cheesecake.