3 Foods to eat

Fish and shellfish.

Menopausal women need a little more protein than younger women just to maintain muscle mass and replace the protein lost due to insulin resistance. Fish and shellfish contain less fat than red meat and also provide iodine, which is commonly deficient in women over 40. Iodine can help promote healthy oestrogen metabolism. Choose oily fish such as salmon, herrings and mackerel for the essential fatty acids, or prawns for the iodine. Fish also has the benefit of containing collagen, essential for maintaining skin, muscles and tendons as oestrogen levels fall. If you struggle with eating several portions of fish per week, maybe consider a marine collagen supplement like Zooki Collagen.

Edamame Beans.

High in isoflavones, which act as phytoestrogens. This means they interact with the body’s estrogen receptors. During perimenopause, when oestrogen is high they can have a beneficial anti-oestrogen effect. During menopause, when oestrogen is low, they can have a mild pro-oestrogen effect and ease any symptoms of testosterone dominance such as weight gain, hair loss and facial hair. They make an easy snack

Dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate is a great source of magnesium. Research has shown that magnesium works to stabilise the action of progesterone on the central nervous system. Magnesium also helps to promote sleep; support the thyroid hormones, prevent migraines and help to absorb vitamin D and build bones. Work up to eating 85% dark chocolate or above for the best benefits.

3 Foods to Avoid

Alcohol

Alcohol is particularly unhelpful during perimenopause for several reasons. It can worsen hot flushes and night sweats that disrupt sleep. It damages the gut microbiome and can promote permeability of the gut lining. Finally, alcohol disrupts oestrogen metabolism which is why it’s considered a risk factor for oestrogen related conditions such as fibroids and breast cancer. On top of that, alcohol is a neurotoxin, so it’s not helping the brain either

Sugar

One of the effects of menopause is to cause a change in insulin sensitivity. This means your body can’t deal well with sugar well, raising the risks of prediabetes or insulin resistance. Particularly harmful sugars include anything high in concentrated fructose such as soft drinks and fruit juice. Agave syrup is 55 % fructose and should be avoided.

Ultra-processed foods

That means all types of fast foods, crisps, ready-made desserts and soft drinks. Devoid of any nutrients or fibre they commonly contain harmful food additives and processed vegetable oils which contain trans fats or high doses of Omega-6 fatty acids. These can all promote inflammation which contributes to heart disease and fatty liver.