We all know the old saying that “beauty comes from within” and, now, more than ever, what you put into your body will affect how it works and how it looks on the outside.
In this time of change, it’s important to adapt your diet to ensure a healthy menopause and minimise certain symptoms. Energy, muscle tone and skin quality are all improved with a balanced diet.
Although your calorie requirements at 60 aren’t the same as at 30, an excessively restrictive diet needs to be avoided at all costs, since it leads to muscle wasting, low energy and a hollow, lined face.
Here are our top 17 foods that can help counter the effects of menopause on the body and keep you on top form.
1. Soya and soya-derived products
Did you know that iron and calcium rich Tofu contains plenty of isoflavones, which are oestrogen-like phyto-hormones that can help keep menopausal symptoms in check?
2. Brazil nuts
In addition to being full of flavour, Brazil nuts are exceptionally high in protein. They can also regulate blood sugar levels. Eating moderate amounts of these nuts can help you maintain a healthy metabolism and therefore weight. Walnuts, pistachios and almonds, which are particularly high in calcium, also have similar properties and make ideal snacks.
3. Green tea
Rich in powerful antioxidants, green tea and white tea combat free radicals, which cause skin ageing and damage. To keep skin fresh and bright drink several cups each day, hot or cold. You can also get these antioxidant benefits by taking green tea nutritional supplements.
4. Oily fish
Fish like sardines, herring, salmon, mackerel, cod liver, are an excellent source of omega-3 and vitamin D. They all help to regulate blood sugar and contribute to keeping a healthy heart and circulation, even improving joint flexibility, and helping keep hormone levels balanced!
High in quality protein, antioxidants, vitamins A, E, D and B, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, eggs should also be high on your food hit list.
Quinoa is a balanced source of plant proteins and carbohydrates with a very low glycaemic index. It is important to control your glycaemic index of foods, checking how they increase sugar levels in the blood. The higher a food’s glycaemic index, the faster it will raise your blood sugar, ultimately causing you to gain weight if you are hungry.
Choose cereals with a low glycaemic index, such as wholemeal bread, oat flakes, wholegrain rice, basmati rice, wholemeal pasta. These will release sugars slowly, thus providing you with energy for longer, and cutting down on food intake.
8. Legumes and pulses
Lentils, split peas, broad beans and dry beans are all rich in carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index. Rich in fibre, they are particularly filling and contain B vitamins, magnesium, iron, calcium and selenium. To provide a complete protein intake, replacing animal sources, these legumes should be combined with cereals.
9. Green leafy vegetables
Packed full of antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E, potassium and magnesium, leafy veg provide you with all the nutrients you need for a healthy mind and body.
High in vitamin C and flavonoids, lemon has a beneficial effect on the body’s acid-base balance. Excessive acidity in the body is bad for the bones, muscles, kidneys and weight.
11. White meat
White meat is a source of good protein that is low in saturated fats and will not cause you to snack throughout the day
Rich in vitamin K, which is very good for bones and protein synthesis, avocado is also rich in copper, involved in the synthesis of collagen. It’s also rich in phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, vitamins B, C and E while its fats are ‘good fats’ helping your skin quality.
13. Red fruits and vegetables
Berries, beetroot and red peppers are to be eaten for their high polyphenol content, potent antioxidants, helping the body to counter free-radical damage.
14. Seaweed and algae
Seaweed and algae are great sources of antioxidants, fibre, vitamins A, C and a packed with minerals. Fibre helps to maintain a healthy cholesterol level, and helps to flush the system. Vitamins A and C can help protect the body from free-radical damage.
One of the most potent anti-inflammatories, it also maintains a healthy stomach. To increase the benefits, combine with pepper.
17. Walnut and rapeseed oils
Very high in omega-3 fats, walnut and rapeseed oils help restore the omega-3 and omega-6 balance, that ensures bones stay healthy. Alternate with olive oil. It’s important to cut down significantly on sunflower oil.