When eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet, soy can be an invaluable food to help relieve some of the symptoms of menopause and support women’s health and wellbeing.
Soy contains isoflavones and lignans which have a similar structure to oestrogen and are also known as phytoestrogens. These phytoestrogens that are found in soybeans may help to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes.
Soybeans are highly nutritious food and a great source of protein. Protein is essential for maintaining muscle health which is a priority for ageing well and supporting bone health and a healthy waistline among other things.
Include soy in your diet with the whole soybean, tofu and tempeh.
With a decrease in oestrogen levels during menopause, the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) can increase, and approximately 15% of postmenopausal women will experience frequent bladder infections.
Cranberries contain proanthocyanadins, and it is thought that this constituent of the cranberry may help to prevent the bacteria that cause UTIs from ‘sticking’ to the bladder wall.
Cranberry juice is probably the most common way that cranberries are consumed to help prevent UTIs. Just remember to check the label- unsweetened juice is definitely best so look to see if your juice has added sugar.
A big factor to consider when going through menopause is bone health. A reduction in oestrogen sees an increase in bone loss. In fact bone loss of between 1% and 5% per year occurs after women have gone through menopause.
Calcium is an essential nutrient that is necessary for the maintenance of healthy, strong bones. Now you probably know that dairy foods are one of the richest sources of calcium, but if you’re after a bit of variety or on a dairy-restricted diet, by including broccoli in your diet you can give yourself an added calcium boost. Broccoli contains approximately 33 mg of calcium per 100 g and makes a great addition to stir-frys, and it can be dipped into a healthy home-made tzatziki for a calcium packed snack.
Broccoli also contains phytonutrients which help to support our body’s detoxification pathways and may be beneficial to our health. Remember however, that broccoli alone would not be sufficient for your daily calcium needs as the RDI for women over 50 is 1300 mg of calcium which would equate to around 4 kg of broccoli per day!
Our cardiovascular health is also an area that loses some protection with the reduction in hormones after menopause.
A healthy diet and regular exercise are a must for the maintenance of a healthy heart, and including almonds in your diet may be of benefit here.
Almonds contain monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) which contribute to the health benefits of almonds and help to protect heart health by lowering cholesterol. Almonds also contain phytosterols (plant sterols) which help to decrease cholesterol absorption.