Top 15 foods to take during menopause

Top 15 foods to take during menopause

Tofu

It is important to note that most plant foods have no cholesterol compared to animal foods. On the other hand, most animal foods have other important benefits too including high protein content. It has been proven that eating more tofu has helped some perimenopausal women.

The foods help protect the heart and arteries by making the fats in our blood less damaging and plaque less likely to form.  Studies show that tofu may alleviate many of the side effects (including hot flashes) associated with Female Menopause.

Practical Tofu Tips

Be sure to check the expiration date on the package before you buy it.
Always open the package only when you are absolutely sure you are going to use it.
Always cover any unused tofu with water, cover the container with plastic wrap, and then refrigerate it. Remember to change the water every day until you use it up.

Tofu can also be frozen. But note that when you thaw it out, it will crumble into pieces. This is a quality you might want if you are using tofu in certain recipes, such as chili.

Bee Foods

Royal jelly (RJ) from honeybees (Apis mellifera) is traditionally thought to improve the symptoms associated with menopause.  In studies to prove this, the reporter gene expression assays suggested that 0.1-1mg/ml of royal jelly activated estrogen receptors, leading to enhanced transcription of a reporter gene through an estrogen-responsive element.

Black Cohosh

This herb has been studies and found that it may alleviate many of the side effects of female Menopause due to the 27-Deoxyacteine content of Black Cohosh mimicking the actions of the hormone Estriol. Extracts of the rhizome of black cohosh (Actaea racemosa L., formerly called Cimicifuga racemosa Nutt.) were evaluated for potential mechanisms of action in the alleviation of menopausal hot flashes. There was a significant reduction in the hot flushes, depression and vaginal atrophy commonly experienced by females during Menopause.

Chaste Berry (Vitex)

This herb has been reported to alleviate the symptoms of hot flushes commonly associated with female Menopause.  The extracts of two essential oils derived separately from leaf and the fruit were used and found to have an effect in symptomatic relief of menopausal symptoms.

Dong Quai

This herb may facilitate the transition through female Menopause. It has been shown to alleviate many of the symptoms of female Menopause. The herb has been used for the treatment of symptoms such as hot flashes, skin flushing, perspiration and chills.  Its mechanism of action is presently unknown.  A study found the benefit of using 4.5 grams of dong quai root per day for 24 weeks to be useful for the women with menopausal symptoms.  In China, dong quai is never used alone but in combination with other Chinese herbs.

False Unicorn

Studies have shown that false unicorn may be useful for the treatment of symptoms such as hot flushes, reduced vaginal mucous causing painful coitus and poor pelvic tone in females during menopause.

Hops

Phytoestrogens are a particular group of chemicals in the general phytochemical family. They are plant chemicals that are very similar in structure to estrogen and act like weak estrogens in our bodies. They act by either blocking or enhancing estrogen action in our bodies. Heyerick, A., et al did a study on the hops extract enriched in 8-prenylnaringenin (8-PN, the phytoestrogen in hops, Humulus lupulus L.) on relief of menopausal discomforts. The results prove that daily intake of a hop extract, standardized on 8-PN as a potent phytoestrogen exerted favorable effects on vasomotor symptoms in women during menopause. The hop-derived prenylated flavonoids may provide another attractive addition to the alternative treatments or herbal treatments available for relief of hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms.

Kava (Also known as kava kava)

A dose of 300 mg of Kava standardized to contain 30% Kava Lactones per day has been shown to alleviate the anxiety and depression associated with menopause. There is a significant improvement in mood in menopausal women.

Korean Ginseng

This herb has been show to particularly improve the fatigue, insomnia and depression, seen in postmenopausal women by RG seemed to be brought about in part by effects of RG on stress-related hormones. The study was done in women taking about 6grams of the processed product.

Kudzu

Also know as the Pueraria mirifica, Kudzu has been found to contain phytoestrogens. It has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of menopause also due to the isoflavonoid content in it. The isoflavanoids such as daidzein and genistein are know to prevent bone loss induced by estrogen deficiency in menopause.

Red clover

The red Clover may also help to prevent the increased rigidity (decreased elasticity) of blood vessels that occurs as a result of declining estrogens production during and after menopause. A study showed that treatment with 80 mg isoflavones (Promensil contained in the rd clover) per day resulted in a significant reduction in hot flushes. There was a significant decrease in the episodes of hot flushes of 44% of women during the study demonstrating the effectiveness of Promensil. The ingredients in promesil (flavonoids) include the genistein, daidzein, formononetin and biochanin isoflavones. So if you are at risk of heart disease, this is one of the best herbs to consider.

Tribulus terrestris

Tribulus terrestris has been widely studies for its effectiveness in eliminating female menopause-related symptoms such as apathy, depression, hot flashes, insomnia, and loss of sexual desire. It is good to consider such a preparations during menopause.

Soya beans

The Soybean is a vegetable from the Legume (Leguminosae) family. It contains isoflavanoids such as daidzein, genistein, and glycetein. In a group of menopausal women with an average of fourteen hot flashes per week, a study comparing the effectiveness of soy bean vs. that of wheat flour; the ones receiving soy flour experienced a 40% reduction in hot flashes. There are other proven benefits of soy such as reduction in cholesterol levels, prevention of uterine, endometrial, breast and prostate cancers. The side effects of soy include flatulence, indigestion and increased risk of hypothyroidism. It should be avoided in patients undergoing radiotherapy due to the genistein content that protects cancer cells from radiation

Flax Seeds

These seeds are high in phytoestrogens that may help to minimize the symptoms of menopause. The seeds also contain lignans. Many women who consume the lignan-rich flaxseed oil products have reported a reduction in symptoms such as breast tenderness, bloating, hot flashes, sweating, and vaginal dryness. Flaxseed is also a good source of soluble fiber (the type of fiber that blends with water to form a gel-like mixture in the intestines), which may help lower cholesterol.

Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds have been found to have a sex hormonal enhancement effect in postmenopausal women. In a study, when the sesame seeds, were given at a dose of 50 g/d for 5 weeks, there were significant decreases in blood dihidroepiandrosterone ( DHEAS), Total cholesterol, LDL-Cholesterol concentrations, the ratio of LDL-Cholesterol to HDL-Cholesterol levels. There was a noted decrease in serum DHEAS level after sesame ingestion.

References

References: Trickey, R. Women, Hormones & the Menstrual Cycle.  Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, NSW, Australia. 1998:142

Ref: Mishima, S., et al.  Royal jelly has estrogenic effects in vitro and in vivo. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2005

Ref: Liske, E., et al.  Physiological investigation of a unique extract of black cohosh (Cimicifugae 163 racemosae rhizoma):  a 6-month study demonstrates no systemic estrogenic effect.  Journal of Women’s Health and Gender-Based Medicine 11(2):163-174, 2002.

Ref: Chopin Lucks, B. Vitex agnus castus essential oil and menopausal balance: a research update.  Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery

Ref: Kupfersztain, C., et al.  The immediate effect of natural plant extract, Angelica sinensis and Matricaria chamomilla (Climex) for the treatment of hot flushes during menopause. A preliminary report Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol.  30(4):203-206, 2003.

Ref: Heyerick, A., et al.  A first prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the use of a standardized hop extract to alleviate menopausal discomforts. Maturitas.  2005.

Ref: Bone, K. Tribulus for sexual dysfunction in men and women. The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, December 2004.

Ref: Cooney RV, Custer LJ, Okinaka L, Franke AA. Effects of dietary sesame seeds on plasma tocopherol levels. Nutr Cancer. 2001; 39:66–71