A clear understanding of how diet affects the start of natural menopause can be very beneficial to women.
That’s because if you eat the right nutrition, make some lifestyle adjustments and surround yourself with the information to spot the symptoms, you’ll be better armed than just landing into it.
A balanced diet has plenty of variety; lots of coloured fruit and vegetables, wholegrain, nuts and seeds, and good fats, including omega 3 and quality proteins.
Drink plenty of water, and avoid overly processed foods, excess sugar and alcohol. This may be the guide for a lifetime of healthy eating but it really comes into its own during the menopausal years.
Let’s focus on one particular group of nutrients called phytoestrogens. These are natural plant compounds that mimic oestrogen in your body. Foods rich in phytoestrogens include flaxseeds, soy and lentils. In some traditional cultures such as Japan, where phytoestrogen-rich foods are consumed regularly, there is a lower incidence of menopausal symptoms compared to Western countries.
They can also be found in legumes such as chickpeas and lentils, edamame beans and black beans, so consider adding these to your weekly diet. They are also full of fibre, help decrease cholesterol, lower blood sugar and increase gut bacteria.
EDUCATE yourself as to what nutrients are good for brain health, inflammation, mood, immunity, heart health and the ultimate health of the whole family.
PLAN plan weekly meals, have food in the freezer for the busy days, seek input from family members, and better still assign cooking duties!
SHOP do one main shop per week, plan it well, and don’t go when you are tired or hungry.
COOK cook foods from scratch, be wise about cooking and double up where you can to provide another meal for the freezer or lunch the next day. Use tested recipes, with minimal effort, listen to radio, music or podcasts or while supervising homework, whatever stage of life you are at.
EAT sit, enjoy, socialise, allow digestive enzymes to work effectively, and don’t drink with your meal ideally not for 20 mins before or after.
NOURISH feel nourished and healthy, satisfied and strong.
Diet is just one piece of the puzzle.. Make sure you’re getting enough quality sleep, some daily exercise, including some resistance work and schedule time for rest and relaxation
Here are two of the recipes from my 6-week menopause cooking course to try:
Chia Berry Compote
A great way to add extra nutrients to your diet, and great for brain health! This is a great way to get nutritious berries into your diet, it can be used as a jam or as a topping on porridge or Greek yoghurt. Make a batch and keep it in the fridge for the week. Chia seeds are high in omega 3 and fibre and are also a source of protein. The omega 3 ALA that the seeds contain can help maintain healthy blood cholesterol.
Makes six to eight tablespoons / Prep time:10 mins
On top of porridge, overnight oats or Greek yoghurt or a wholemeal scone or a slice of toast. It can also be added to a smoothie.
1. Add the berries to a medium saucepan and simmer gently for approx. five mins.
2. Mash up the fruit to your desired consistency, I like some larger pieces in my compote.
3. Take off the heat and stir in the chia seeds, allow to cool.
4. Add the honey, stir and store in a clean container in the fridge.
This can be made using lots of different fruit or using fresh fruit in season. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Pasta with trout & ricotta
This is a delicious quick pasta dish, using a no-cook sauce, I have paired it with a locally smoked trout for omega 3, parsley, and lemon to support our immune system and ricotta.
Serves two / Prep time: 15 mins
1. Cook the pasta as per instructions on the packet.
2. Toss all the ingredients together and serve.
More info: For more information and to join the waitlist for my next course, go to www.fionasfoodforlife.ie or call 087 6646445