The best foods to eat during perimenopause

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perimenopause diet

The best foods to eat during perimenopause

Perimenopause is also known as second puberty – it is a time of major transition and hormone recalibration. Some days you may not recognise yourself and feel like you have no control of your body or mood regardless of what you do and it can feel like you are riding a rollercoaster.

During perimenopause, the declining levels of progesterone and up and downs of oestrogen can cause a range of symptoms. As our sex hormone production lessens and we may experience physiological changes including weight gain, bloating and indigestion as blood sugar imbalances and digestive issues become common. This is why our diet can make such a difference during this time and why dietary habits may need adjustment to make the transition easier.

This time is also referred to as a critical window of opportunity. While our body is going through these huge changes it is also vulnerable to an increase in inflammation which for some women can lead to thyroid issues and metabolic issues such as insulin resistance.

I have been trying different ways to support my body during this transition and I have noticed that when I don’t stay on track with eating certain foods every day my body can pretty quickly start to feel very heavy and bloated.

Making sure I eat adequate fibre, and eating macro balanced meals, drink plenty of water, reduce snacking and space my meals out helps me to feel my best. A few reasons why fibre can be so beneficial is that it helps to clear excess estrogen from your body which is eliminated via the gut.  This also means you are less likely to experience constipation. The increase in fibre especially prebiotic fibres also reduces the bloating which can naturally increase at this time as the hormones fluctuate. This is definitely a time to focus on getting the basics right and making sure you’re eating a well planned diet because we need a broad range of nutrients to support the optimal function of every body system more than ever during this time of hormonal change.

Once you have your meals macro balanced here are some foods to help fine tune your diet to reduce perimenopausal symptoms

  1. More protein

Protein is so important for women because during our 40s we start to lose a significant amount of muscle mass and protein helps to preserve muscle mass and strength to maintain a certain quality of life. Having sufficient protein also helps to increase the body’s immune functions. It also promotes blood sugar balance and reduces sugar cravings, which is key for women struggling with perimenopausal weight gain.  Quality protein such as hemp seeds, eggs, fish, meat, legumes, tofu and tempeh are great sources

  1. Ground flaxseed

The phytoestrogens in flax seeds are lignans. Lignans have antitumour, antioxidant, and weakly estrogenic and antiestrogenic characteristics. They have been found in studies to decrease vaginal dryness, hot flashes or night sweats in women with low estrogen symptoms. Flaxseed is also an excellent source of fibre and omega 3 fat which is important for detoxification and reducing inflammation.

  1. Omega 3 fats

are an essential nutrient meaning we need to get them from our diet, our body cannot synthesise this nutrient. Omega 3 fats reduce inflammation and support our brain health which becomes more of a risk factor for women as they approach menopause. If you don’t like oily fish which is the best source of omega 3 fats I recommend taking a quality supplement. High quality sources include salmon, sardines, mackeral and anchovies which need to be eaten 3 times per week.  If you need a supplement please contact me for the best quality and brand.

4. Polyphenols

are plant compunds that have anti inflammatory effects on the body. Including – green tea, berries, dark green veggies, They increase short chain fatty acids which have a broad range of nutrients and have been shown to decrease cardiovascular risk and insulin sensitivity. They can be found in lots of foods, including ground flaxseed, cocao, black and green tea, onion, spinach, berries, olives and turmeric.

5. Cruciferous vegetables for liver support.

Regularly eating cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale or cauliflower can support the liver to effectively detoxify and remove any excess estrogen and cholesterol which both naturally increase during this hormonal change. These vegetables include a compound called sulphurophane which is an essential nutrient required for liver detoxification

If you are including these foods in your diet regularly you will be supporting so many aspects of your health and you are well on track to reducing symptoms but also supporting your perimenopause journey. Of course, if you are experiencing symptoms of perimenopause and need more specific advice for symptom relief or tailored dietary advice please get in touch here