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Can Dietary Changes Save You From The Worst Menopause Symptoms?

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Mar. 13 2024, Published 2:53 a.m. ET

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The average woman endures around 450 menstrual periods during her lifetime — a figure that assumes pregnancy and nursing offer temporary “grace periods.” You would be forgiven for assuming that most women look forward to the end of this monthly inconvenience by the time the perimenopause knocks on the door, but that’s not quite accurate.

Before officially reaching menopause — the time when periods have been completely absent for 12 months, never to return — women can expect a turbulent transitional period. This time, called perimenopause, can last as long as four to eight years for many.

Periods become less regular during this time, but when they do arrive, they can occasionally be extremely heavy. That’s not the worst of it, though.

Hot flashes, night sweats, sore breasts, headaches, frequent urinary tract infections, and burning sensations in the mouth are some of the weirder physical symptoms. They’re often accompanied by severe fatigue and mood swings that can include depressive and anxious episodes.

Declining estrogen levels are to blame for this physical and emotional rollercoaster, and hormone replacement therapy is often touted as a cure-all solution. Is there another way, though? Could a new, menopause-friendly diet save you from a lot of the trouble associated with perimenopause?

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The Role Diet Plays in Alleviating Menopause Symptoms

You’ll have heard that “you are what you eat” countless times, and there is no question that consuming a healthy and well-balanced diet tips the scales in your favor as you manage the symptoms of perimenopause.

A diet that’s rich in (lean) protein, healthy fats, fresh veggies and fruits, and whole grains presented in the form of home-cooked meals made from scratch goes a long way toward supporting your overall health and wellbeing during a challenging time of your life.

Look beyond the obvious, and you’ll discover a world of nutrients that perfectly support your health as you struggle with fatigue, mood swings, and hot flashes. Consider incorporating these nutrients into your diet if you have decided against HRT, or it’s not available to you:

·Phytoestrogens mimic the effects estrogen has on your body, and they can support you as your body gradually makes less and less of this female hormone. You’ll find phytoestrogens in soy-based products like tofu and soymilk, flaxseeds, and legumes.

·Calcium and vitamin D become more important than ever as you approach menopause, and you need to take the risk of bone density loss and osteoporosis more seriously. While most doctors would recommend supplementation, dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, leafy greens, and fortified foods (like many eggs) can help you keep up.

·Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, which helps to fight mood swings and joint pain and increases cognitive performance. They are especially abundant in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, but you’ll also find omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

Deciding what not to eat is almost as important during the perimenopause, however! Many women discover that vices they were once able to enjoy responsibly and in moderation become their worst enemy as they try their best to combat the nastiest menopause symptoms.

Try keeping a food journal to explore whether you, too, are negatively impacted when you indulge in caffeinated beverages (like coffee, coke, and green tea), alcohol, sugary foods, and spicy meals. Stay away from your former favorites as much as possible once you discover they’ll trigger hot flashes and night sweats, and remember to stay hydrated!

Combating Weight Gain During Perimenopause

Unfortunately, one of the most common side effects of the gradual decline in estrogen that unfolds during the lead-up to menopause is a gradual slowing down of the metabolism. Yes, this means many women suddenly find themselves gaining weight unexpectedly, even if they don’t give into the food cravings that are also sometimes associated with menopause.

You can fight this side effect by working out more, reducing your intake of processed and fattening foods that don’t do your health any favors, and eating smaller meals more regularly.

One of the best tips for a healthy diet during menopause is to embrace the habit of eating healthy fats as snacks. Think a handful of roasted nuts or half an avocado with a little balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Healthy eating can be delicious!

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Consider Supplements to Fight Menopause Symptoms

Although estrogen replacement therapy can work wonders when it comes to fighting difficult menopause symptoms, research has also shown that HRT can increase your risk of serious complications like stroke, heart disease, breast cancer, and blood clots.

If you choose to manage your menopause symptoms more naturally, you can consider vitamin D and calcium supplements and omega-3 fatty acid or fish oil supplements. You can also think about Lubracil menopause relief gummies, which offer a natural blend of ingredients designed to keep hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings in check while also helping to regulate your metabolism to prevent unnecessary weight gain.

Menopause relief gummies have the benefit of giving you access to herbs that you can’t naturally incorporate into your diet, like ashwagandha (which reduces stress and improves sleep quality), black cohosh (which nips hot flashes in the bud), and chasteberry (which helps with headaches and mood swings).

With a little experimentation and tweaking, this natural approach to managing your symptoms can be just as effective as hormone replacement therapy — without any of the risks.

A Final Word

The good news? As unpleasant as the perimenopausal transition may be, taking proactive steps to manage it naturally can increase your quality of life during this time. With the right approach, it is possible to enjoy all the effects of HRT without ever having to go anywhere near it.

No matter how long the perimenopause lasts for you, this period eventually comes to an end. By embracing a healthy lifestyle, it gives you the chance to enjoy a life free from menstruation and menopausal symptoms. Are you ready for this exciting new chapter of your life?

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