Ease your way through menopause with these 7 hor­mone-help­ing foods.


Seven hor­mone-help­ing foods to help you through menopause.

Menopause is a nat­u­ral phase of ev­ery woman’s life, but the side e ects of fluc­tu­at­ing hor­mones feel any­thing but nor­mal. Ad­di­tion­ally, hor­monal changes in menopause may in­crease the risk of se­ri­ous dis­eases, in­clud­ing os­teo­poro­sis, can­cer and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease. Eat your way to hor­mone health with these seven foods that bal­ance mood, ease hot flashes and in­som­nia, fight can­cer, and pro­tect your heart and bones.

Whole grains are ex­cel­lent sources of com­plex carbs, essential for the pro­duc­tion of tryp­to­phan, an amino acid that is a pre­cur­sor to sero­tonin, a neu­ro­trans­mit­ter linked with mem­ory and mood. Stud­ies also show that car­bo­hy­drates can re­lieve de­pres­sion and el­e­vate mood. Buck­wheat is a healthy choice; it’s gluten-free and rich in B vi­ta­mins, which also im­pact mood. TRY THIS: Stir-fry cooked buck­wheat with eggs, green onions, car­rots, gin­ger and tamari for a twist on fried rice; toss cooked buck­wheat with chopped pars­ley, red onions, Kala­mata olives, feta cheese and olive oil; soak un­cooked buck­wheat, chia seeds and co­conut milk overnight, then serve with berries and honey as a fast break­fast (like overnight oats).

Col­lard greens.

Cal­cium is essential dur­ing menopause; os­teo­poro­sis af­fects one out of three post­menopausal women, and for those women, the life­time risk of frac­tures is higher than the risk of breast can­cer. One cup of cooked col­lards has nearly as much cal­cium as a cup of whole milk, and some stud­ies sug­gest the ab­sorp­tion of cal­cium from veg­eta­bles is nearly twice as high as from dairy. Plus, col­lards con­tain vi­ta­min K and mag­ne­sium, also crit­i­cal for bone health. TRY THIS: Sauté shred­ded col­lards, chick­peas and gar­lic in olive oil and harissa; tear col­lard leaves into chip-sized pieces, toss with olive oil and sea salt, and roast un­til crispy; mas­sage thinly sliced col­lard leaves with olive oil and vine­gar then toss with radishes, sweet onions and crum­bled feta cheese.


Like salmon, tuna and other fatty fish, sar­dines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help re­duce the fre­quency of hot flashes and re­duce the risk of os­teo­poro­sis and breast can­cer. Omega-3 fats also re­duce triglyc­eride lev­els and pro­tect the heart – es­pe­cially im­por­tant for women re­ceiv­ing hor­mone ther­apy, which can in­crease triglyc­eride lev­els. And if you eat canned sar­dines with bones, you’ll also be get­ting cal­cium. TRY THIS: Mix canned sar­dines with bread crumbs, minced onions, chopped pars­ley and eggs, form into pat­ties and cook in olive oil; in a food pro­ces­sor, com­bine smoked sar­dines, yo­gurt, smoked pa­prika and black pep­per, process un­til just smooth and serve with veg­eta­bles for dip­ping; spread mashed av­o­cado on toast, layer with grilled onions and sar­dines and sprin­kle with pars­ley.


Flaxseeds are the rich­est source of lig­nans, phy­toe­stro­gens that are struc­turally sim­i­lar to es­tro­gens and may re­duce breast can­cer risk. Flax has also been shown to re­duce night sweats and hot flashes and im­prove qual­ity of life dur­ing menopause. In re­search pub­lished in Ob­stet­rics & Gyne­col­ogy, 40 grams per day of flaxseed had ef­fects sim­i­lar to hor­mone re­place­ment ther­apy for de­creas­ing mild menopausal symp­toms. TRY THIS: Beat ground flaxseeds with buck­wheat flour, honey and eggs and make sil­ver-dol­lar pan­cakes; blend ground flax with sun­flower seeds, basil, gar­lic, arugula and lemon for a nut-free pesto; mix flaxseeds with chia seeds, co­conut milk and co­conut sugar then top with ca­cao nibs and toasted co­conut chips.


Like flax, soy con­tains phy­toe­stro­gens that mimic the ac­tions of es­tro­gen and can re­lieve symp­toms of menopause. Find­ings on the ef­fects of isoflavones – phy­toe­stro­gens in soy – are mixed, but some stud­ies show a ben­e­fit on hot flash fre­quency and/or sever­ity, and in one study con­ducted by the Mayo Clinic, soy re­duced hot flashes by 45%. Pop­u­la­tions with a high soy con­sump­tion also have a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in breast can­cer in­ci­dence, and isoflavones may have pro­tec­tive ef­fects on car­dio­vas­cu­lar and bone health. Be­cause soy can be hard to di­gest, stick to tem­peh; be­cause it’s fer­mented, it’s eas­ier to di­gest and it has in­creased an­tiox­i­dant ca­pac­ity. TRY THIS: Sim­mer crum­bled tem­peh with onions, pep­pers, tomato sauce and sea­son­ings for a ve­gan sloppy joe; mar­i­nate tem­peh cubes in tamari, olive oil and gar­lic pow­der then bake un­til crispy for grain-free crou­tons.

Tomato sauce.

Tomato sauce is a con­cen­trated source of ly­copene, a pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dant that re­duces the risk of heart dis­ease and stroke. Ad­di­tion­ally, some stud­ies show ly­copene can re­duce the risk of os­teo­poro­sis. While toma­toes in gen­eral are high in ly­copene, cook­ing them breaks down cell walls and makes the ly­copene more avail­able; adding olive oil fur­ther in­creases bioavail­abil­ity. TRY THIS: Sim­mer tomato sauce with minced onion, gar­lic, Kala­mata olives, ca­pers and an­chovies for a fast put­tanesca sauce; heat tomato sauce and chopped spinach in a shal­low pan, crack in eggs, sim­mer un­til whites set, and serve hot with shaved Parme­san cheese.

Black beans.

Black beans and other legumes are loaded with fiber, which help pro­tect against breast can­cer af­ter menopause. They’re also rich in B vi­ta­mins, im­por­tant for mood, and mag­ne­sium, which pro­tects bone health, im­proves sleep and may re­lieve anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion. And black beans have higher lev­els of an­tiox­i­dants than other beans; they’re es­pe­cially rich in an­tho­cyanins, which have been shown to pro­tect against heart dis­ease af­ter menopause. TRY THIS: Cook black beans with shred­ded sweet pota­toes, chopped kale and cumin for an easy break­fast hash; purée black beans with tahini, olive oil and gar­lic then stir in finely minced jalapeño pep­pers for a spicy hum­mus.

Buck­wheat Ba­nana Pan­cakes cleaneat­ing.com/bw­pan­cakes

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