Five foods to help those in menopause

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR HEALTH - Ask Dr Libby Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered. WITH AU­THOR AND NU­TRI­TIONAL BIOCHEMIST DR LIBBY

Q: I think I’m en­ter­ing menopause and I’m in­ter­ested in foods that sup­port this tran­si­tion – what would be your top five foods for me to in­clude? Thanks, Heather.

A: Menopause ‘be­gins’ when you haven’t men­stru­ated for 12 months. This is where women tend to ex­pe­ri­ence an in­crease in un­pleas­ant symp­toms such as hot flushes, in­ter­rupted sleep, mood change and fa­tigue to name a few. For some this is mild, while for oth­ers, these symp­toms are de­bil­i­tat­ing.

To best sup­port your body dur­ing this time, it’s im­por­tant to em­brace a calm­ing breath-fo­cused prac­tice and nour­ish your­self with plenty of real whole­foods, min­imise or avoid al­co­hol and to deal with emo­tions as they arise. It’s also im­por­tant to main­tain good adrenal health, as this is now the sole source of your pro­ges­terone pro­duc­tion.

Pro­ges­terone acts as a pow­er­ful anti-anx­i­ety agent, an anti-de­pres­sant and a di­uretic, mean­ing it al­lows us to get rid of ex­cess fluid, so op­ti­mal lev­els are

crit­i­cal for our health and well­ness. Here are some won­der­ful foods to in­clude:

RAW NUTS AND SEEDS

These are a good source of the an­tiox­i­dant vi­ta­min E and zinc. These nu­tri­ents and the oils in nuts and seeds may help pre­vent dry skin, they are also very sa­ti­at­ing and can help to reg­u­late blood glu­cose lev­els. Some seeds con­tain lig­nans, which help sup­port healthy es­tro­gen me­tab­o­lism, es­sen­tial across the menopausal years.

GREEN TEA

This is packed full of an­tiox­i­dants and while it does con­tain caf­feine, the ef­fect is buffered by the amino acid, l-thea­nine. Green tea has been shown to sup­port car­dio­vas­cu­lar health, help re­duce the risk of cer­tain can­cers and as­sist with con­cen­tra­tion.

CRU­CIF­ER­OUS VEG­ETA­BLES (BROC­COLI, CAB­BAGE, CAULIFLOWER AND KALE)

These pow­er­house veg­eta­bles sup­port our liver and es­tro­gen me­tab­o­lism. They also con­tain sul­foraphane, an an­tiox­i­dant and stim­u­la­tor of nat­u­ral detox­i­fy­ing en­zymes. Sul­foraphane may help re­duce the risk of breast and blad­der can­cers.

OILY FISH SUCH AS SAL­MON OR FLAXSEEDS

These are rich sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are pro­tec­tive for heart health due to their anti-in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties.

They’re also won­der­ful for skin health as they help to keep skin mois­turised, which can have a ten­dency to dry­ness, dur­ing menopause.

EX­TRA VIR­GIN OLIVE OIL

Con­sum­ing olive oil im­proves some of the risk fac­tors as­so­ci­ated with car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, it helps im­prove your blood-choles­terol pro­file, it also helps re­duce the for­ma­tion of blood clots and it can as­sist in blood­glu­cose con­trol, im­por­tant in the pre­ven­tion of type-2 di­a­betes.

Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional biochemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional. Visit dr­libby.com.

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Green tea has been shown to sup­port car­dio­vas­cu­lar health, help re­duce the risk of cer­tain can­cers and as­sist with con­cen­tra­tion.

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