Updated: Sep 9, 2018
Are You Eating Right for Your Age?
Turning 40 seems to signal a shift in most women’s lives. Suddenly the era of youth, folly and abandonment are behind us and we fear the one-way street to older age.
Media headlines and well-meaning friends and family begin to tell us all about midlife woes: weight gain, sleepless nights, low moods, brain fog, and the ever-dreaded menopause. Is it any wonder that we just want to sit in our PJ’s, eating crap and telling the world to ‘S*d off’?
But what is going on and is there something you can do about it?
Perimenopause is a term that you may not have heard of, but signals the transition period leading up to the menopause. Symptoms like those above can occur anywhere from our late 30’s onward, due to the fluctuation of oestrogen and progesterone, two important reproductive hormones.
Conventionally, these symptoms are treated with hormone replacement therapy and while this may be necessary for some women, it often comes with unpleasant side effects and has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
So, if you would prefer to support your hormonal health in a more natural and supportive way and banish any midlife woes, then look no further than your diet.
Food is our natural medicine, it fuels and influences our health, mood, energy and zest for life. As we age, we need to adapt our diet according to the life stage we are in and during perimenopause, we want to choose hormone balancing, mood bosting, sleep promoting and energy sustaining foods which will support the changes our bodies are going through.
THRIVE Through Midlife With These 5 Power Foods.
They may be small in nature, but they pack a nutritional punch. Flaxseeds are rich in fiber and are a source of phytoestrogens, specifically lignans which help to balance hormones and oestrogen production. A study involving 58,000 French women also showed a link between higher ingested plant lignans and a reduced risk of breast cancer.
Want to wake up singing with the birds and leave the house with a spring in your step? Grab a handful of nuts. Walnuts are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that’s a precursor of serotonin (our feel-good happiness hormone). This hormone is important for stabilising moods and promoting sleep both of which, are often affected during perimenopause.
Behold the versatile and economical lentil. Use them to bulk up a soup, replace meat or add to salads. With so many varieties to try, the recipe list is endless my friends!
Each time you eat these nutritional powerhouses you will be topping up on your B vitamins which help to alleviate symptoms such as low mood and poor sleep.
Did I mention they are also a cancer fighting food? A study found that consuming 2 cups of lentils per week was associated with a 24% reduced risk of breast cancer.
You probably already know that kale is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals but did you know about its liver cleansing and detoxifying qualities?
Liver health is key during perimenopause because one of its many jobs, is metabolising hormones. Kale contains chlorophylls and helps to detoxify xenoestrogens which are chemical compounds found in cosmetics, food preservatives and pesticides.
Acting as hormone disruptors, xenoestrogens mimic oestrogen in the body. Know what to avoid here and eat your kale!
Do you ever feel like you are battling through your day? It’s no fun feeling tired and low in energy, so if this superfood was good enough to boost the ancient Mayana’s strength and stamina as they entered into battle, then it’s good enough for me.
Rich in minerals and vitamins, maca is an adaptogenic herb meaning it helps us to adapt to stress. Also hailed for its hormonal balancing effects, it can easily be incorporated into your daily diet as a natural way to increase vitality.