For the ladies: 6 Tips to improve hormone health in your 30s, 40s and 50s
05/15/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Perimenopause is the period in women's life when their estrogen and progesterone hormones start to decline. It usually starts when women reach their mid-40s, although some women experience it as early as their 30s. During this period, women experience menopause symptoms like depression, irritability, missed or heavy periods, mood swings, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. To reduce these symptoms, here are some dietary changes you should make:

  1. Eat more cruciferous vegetables. Supporting the body’s ability to metabolize estrogen properly is important in the early stages of perimenopause because progesterone declines faster than estrogen. This can result in estrogen dominance or a higher estrogen level than progesterone. Cruciferous vegetables, which are rich in indole 3-carbinol and chlorophyll, are especially good at promoting proper estrogen metabolism and detoxifying the liver. Therefore, eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, and cauliflower every day is beneficial to people undergoing perimenopause.
  2. Include protein in every meal: During perimenopause, blood sugar issues often worsen mood swings, increase irritability, and put stress to your adrenals. Eating protein-rich foods at every meal will help keep blood sugar levels at bay, reducing spikes and drops. This will also help in losing weight, preventing weight gain, and lowering the risk of diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. In addition, protein keeps you satiated and helps burn more calories without making you feel deprived or always hungry. Getting enough protein each day, together with resistance training, will help preserve muscle mass and bone density -- both of which decline with age. Some of the best protein-rich foods to add to your diet are wild-caught fish, lean poultry, legumes, and grass-fed meats. Consume around 21 to 28 g of protein at every meal.
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  4. Add flaxseed to your diet: Flaxseed is one of the most beneficial foods for women undergoing perimenopause because it contains lignans-- phytoestrogens or weaker plant-based estrogens that provide gentle estrogen support. Flaxseed can also act adaptively and inhibit estrogen when estrogen levels are dominating progesterone levels.
  5. Eat bone-enhancing foods: Eating foods that support bone health becomes more important for women who lack estrogen. This hormone protects against bone loss, and the lack of it can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Some foods you can try are Greek yogurt and organic dairy products that are rich in calcium. For non-dairy options, you can try almonds, broccoli, bok choy, collard greens, kale, salmon, and sardines with bones. Many of these foods are rich in vitamin D, which also supports bone health by increasing calcium absorption in the body. Foods rich in magnesium and vitamin K2 are also important for bone health. Magnesium can be found in nuts, legumes, leafy greens, and dark chocolate, while vitamin K2 can be obtained from natto, egg yolks, and cheese.
  6. Eat foods that contain healthy fats: Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines, tuna, cod, and trout, are important during the transition to menopause because they help reduce inflammation, boost mood, and fight depression. These foods also lower the risk of heart disease. For plant-based sources of omega-3s, you may try walnuts and flaxseed.
  7. Replace simple and processed sugars with high-fiber complex carbohydrates: Not all carbs are bad. Some carbs, such as high-fiber complex carbohydrates, can help balance blood sugar levels during perimenopause. Healthy carbs also increase the production of serotonin, helping to reduce mood swings, irritability, and depression. Some of the good carbs you may include to your diet are buckwheat, lentils, and quinoa.

Aside from making healthy dietary changes, you can cope with menopausal symptoms by making healthy lifestyle choices: Exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and manage your stress with mind-relaxing techniques like meditation and yoga.

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