Menopause is the final menstrual period and occurs on average for women aged 51, but is common for women aged 45-55.
Symptoms of menopause are wide ranging and can be physical, mental and emotional. Some women will experience all three some one or two and one in five women won’t experience any at all. No two women will experience them the same way. Common symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, joint and muscle aches, vaginal dryness, fatigue and weight gain. One in five women will have symptoms so severe it affects their day to day life but the majority will experience moderate to mild symptoms.
There are some medications which may relieve unmanageable symptoms for some but often food can help.
Yes, I know you’ve heard otherwise but trust me on this one. When we’re talking diet and menopause the food group phytoestrogens should always be included and the most common food from this group is soy.
There is plenty of research behind eating good quality soy products such as tofu and tempeh to be safe and beneficial – think of the asian diet, one of the primary protein sources is soy based. There is a lot of misinformation which has created confusion around the risks of soy with regards to breast cancer but research shows otherwise. Choose soy products which are natural, non-GMO and organic where possible and start incorporating them into your cooking such as tofu and vegetable stir fries, tempeh burgers, miso soups or switch up your dairy milk for unsweetened soy.
What are phytoestrogens?
Phytoestrogen stands for plant-based oestrogen. Phyto = plant-based and oestrogen is one of the main female sex hormones which declines significantly during menopause. With a similar chemical structure to our own natural oestrogen when they are eaten they can also behave in similar ways to oestrogen and because oestrogen falls significantly during menopause eating phytoestrogens may be beneficial.
Does eating soy help menopause symptoms?
Just like anything in life what works for one person does not necessarily mean it will work for the next and the only way to find out if phytoestrogens will help ease menopause symptoms is by testing it out. I suggest testing it out by adding quality sources of soy products daily for at least 3 weeks and seeing how it works for you. Some examples are to use unsweetened organic soy milk in place of dairy or other nut milks or including tofu and tempeh into stir fries instead of meat.
Other Phytoestrogens which may also help to relieve menopause symptoms include:
- Isoflavones – found in soy and other legumes (chickpeas and beans)
- Coumestans – found in sprouted foods (alfalfa, sprouted mung beans and soy sprouts)
- Lignans – found in linseed (flaxseed) whole grains and vegetables.
Staying Healthy Through Menopause
Diet can play a huge role on the level of symptoms women may experience through menopause so it’s important that the lifestyle and diet is looked at from all areas. Focus on nourishing foods mainly from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and other healthy protein options. This will not only help as you journey through this phase but also reduce the risk of chronic diseases, illnesses and other signs of ageing.
Incorporating a healthy balanced diet to support changes in hormones in combination with a regular workout routine such as EMS 20 minute workouts will assist you in maintaining a healthy weight, muscle tone and blood circulation. Book a consultation with me to discuss how EMS and my 6 week Nutrition Guide may help support your body through the changes.