Wor­ries solved

First For Women - - Contents -

Q: Ever since I en­tered per­i­menopause, I’ve been moody, ir­ri­ta­ble and bloated—it’s like I’m PMS-ing all the time. Could chang­ing what I eat help me feel nor­mal again?

A: To quickly ease your per­i­menopause symp­toms—plus cor­rect the hor­monal im­bal­ances that trig­ger them in the first place—we recommend a two-pronged strat­egy:

(1) Start your day with 1 cup of cooked oat­meal or an oat-spiked smoothie. The sol­u­ble fiber and lig­nans in this grain work to bal­ance estro­gen lev­els. Mayo Clinic re­searchers re­port that this ef­fect can re­duce un­pleas­ant symp­toms such as mood swings and fa­tigue by up to 57 per­cent.

(2) Fill your plate with foods rich in vi­ta­min B6 (such as turkey, tuna, spinach and sweet pota­toes). This nutri­ent has nat­u­ral di­uretic prop­er­ties that prompt the kid­neys to flush ex­cess water weight for in­stant bloat re­lief. Plus, B6 in­creases the pro­duc­tion of the feel-good brain chem­i­cals sero­tonin and dopamine to im­prove mood. For an easy way to speed slim­ming, we sug­gest en­joy­ing 1 to 2 cups of yerba maté tea (avail­able at health­food stores and Ama­zon.com) daily. Made from South Amer­i­can holly tree leaves, this earthy brew con­tains a trio of ther­mo­genic plant com­pounds (chloro­genic acid, theo­bromine and theo­phylline) that fire up me­tab­o­lism and spur cells to pref­er­en­tially burn fat for fuel. In a study in the Jour­nal of Medic­i­nal Food, this helped yerba maté drinkers shrink their fat stores by 16 per­cent in 16 weeks with­out mak­ing any other diet changes. That’s the equiv­a­lent of 32 pounds of fat for a 200-pound woman!

An­other boon: Plant com­pounds in yerba maté sup­press the out­put of the hunger hor­mone ghre­lin and im­prove sen­si­tiv­ity to the blood sugar–reg­u­lat­ing hor­mone in­sulin. This helps curb ap­petite enough to cut calo­rie in­take by 10 per­cent.

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