10 Phytoestrogen-Rich Foods to Boost Your Health During Perimenopause
Although most if not all women understand the physical and emotional stress of menopause, many do not realize the enormity of the transitional period known as perimenopause. This period does not have a set start date. For many women, signs of this transition begin in their 40’s, but some have seen symptoms as early their mid-30’s. The vital female hormone, oestrogen, begins to fluctuate wildly, causing uneven menstrual cycles, and mild menopause-like symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep difficulties, and vaginal dryness.
Although there are hormonal-replacement therapies and various medications to help alleviate these symptoms, they are not always as effective as advertised. Some of these treatments carry unpleasant side-effects or risks. Many women are finding relief through the use of natural methods such as changing their diet to include foods high in phytoestrogen, a plant-based source of oestrogen. Studies show that Japanese women have significantly less perimenopausal symptoms due to their high plant-based diets. When seeking to eliminate negative perimenopausal symptoms and strengthen your body for the menopause transition, consider eating these 10 Phytoestrogen-rich foods.
As a soy-based product, tofu is high in phytoestrogens and a great source of natural oestrogen. It is also a good source of protein and contains all 8 essential amino acids. Protein is vital in strengthening the body during physically and emotionally challenging periods such as perimenopause. Because it is low in calories and cholesterol-free, this is a perfect snack. Mix it in your scrambled eggs for a high-protein start to your day or indulge in a blueberry-tofu smoothie for a sweet treat.
Also known as “flax seeds,” these tasty seeds are very high in many minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It is also high in B vitamins such as B6 and Thiamine. Linseeds provide a great source of bone protection, essential to avoiding the dangers of menopausal osteoporosis. These seeds are easily incorporated into nearly any meal. Try linseeds on a salad for a tasty crunch or mixed into a bowl of warm oatmeal.
- Soya Beans
These beans have historically been called the “meat of the field” as a tribute to their high protein benefits. Because they are legumes, they also possess high antioxidant properties which stabilize the body and protect it against “free radicals,” dangerous chemicals that age and damage the body. Studies show that eating approximately 68 grams–a little over two cups–of soya beans a day notably reduces perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. This is due to the isoflavones present within the beans–a branch of phytoestrogens–which help stabilize oestrogen levels. Try them in homemade soups, tossed in salads, or in a tasty homemade bean dip.
- Soya milk
Similar to the benefits of soya beans, soya milk positively benefits female health. It is created from soaked, boiled, and ground soya beans. When combined with water, this mixture is a healthy alternative to traditional cow milk. Soya milk contains only 7 grams of sugar as opposed to the 12 grams present in cow milk. Also, although soya milk contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, it doesn’t possess cholesterol, making it a safe alternative in healthy fats while guarding against the unhealthy ones. Try it in a smoothie, over cereal, or even in a delicious dairy-free ice cream recipe.
This soy product is very similar to tofu, but some key differences make it a popular choice for those who don’t necessarily care for the product. While tofu has a smooth, white appearance and a spongy consistency, tempeh is light brown with a firm, chewy texture. These notable differences can make it more appetizing to those who are new to soy products. Tempeh is created by fermenting soya beans. This creates a sweet, earthy taste that isn’t present with traditional tofu. It has all the benefits of tofu, but higher protein at 15.4 grams per 1/2 cup as opposed to tofu’s 10.1 grams. Try this soy treat in savoury tempeh tacos or a hot, grilled tempeh sandwich. There may be health benefits from eating soy in a fermented form.
Fermenting soya beans with salt and a fungus known as Koji produces an appetizing seasoning. It is widely used in Japan, but it is also gaining world-wide popularity. Depending on the fermenting process, its tastes can vary from savoury to sweet, making it a flexible cooking tool. Its savoury version is popularly used in soups while its sweet counterpart is used to create rich dessert glazes. It also includes all the benefits of soya beans. Although it is high in sodium, it still provides high levels of vital antioxidants as well as the mineral zinc.
Nearly all types of berries pack impressive nutritional benefits. Blackberries in particular are considered powerful health boosters with an elevated levels of vitamins C, A, E, K in addition to the B vitamins. Because it is low in calories, it is a perfect snack and sweet treat. These berries are also antioxidant boosters and are proud members of the “Super Foods.” They are perfect in yogurt, salads, or even eaten plain.
Native to Europe, these berries are closely related to currants and are packed with antioxidant polyphenolics and vitamins. They come in a variety of colours, shapes, and flavours, ensuring that nearly everyone will enjoy them. Nutritionally, Indian gooseberries are the best choice in terms of vitamin C and antioxidant levels. Recipes for these berries range from sweet treats to savoury parings with roasted meats.
- Green tea
This tea has been hailed as the healthiest in the world due to its scientifically-proven benefits of lowering heart disease and guarding against some cancers and strokes. For a tea, it contains one of the highest levels of antioxidants in addition to 45% of polyphenols by weight. These polyphenols are key in preventing severe perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms and decreasing physiological stress on the body. Green tea may be enjoyed either cold or hot. Combined with honey and ginseng, it becomes a lovely warm treat for a cool day.
- Chianti Wine
Originating in Tuscany, Italy, Chianti, is compose of Sangiovese grapes, giving it a beautiful red appearance. It pairs well with many foods with its rustic and earthy taste. Chianti is known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also high in vitamin B-12.
Perimenopause is a stressful time, especially when the symptoms seem to increase as menopause grows closer. Although these symptoms are never pleasant, even small changes within our diets have powerful effects on our over-all health. For more information on menopause relief and diet benefits, please contact us today.