If you are in menopause then you know the joy of hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and a decreased sex drive; among other symptoms. Aside from taking bio-identical hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) there are some other things that you can do to better balance your hormones.
The most important dietary recommendation that I can give you is to increase the amount of plant based foods while reducing the amount of animal based foods that you consume. Animal based foods can have artificial hormones in them (given to the animals to get them to market quicker) and the saturated fat in animal based foods has been linked to higher risks of breast cancer and hormonal imbalance.
Phytoestrogens are substances that mimic estrogen in the body and thus, they can help alleviate menopausal symptoms. These substances occur naturally in many plants. Some plant foods contain a significantly higher amount of these substances than other plants. Phytoestrogen-rich foods include soybeans, flax seeds, walnuts, apples, fennel, celery, and parsley. These plant foods are especially good for helping to control menopausal symptoms. Of course, you want to get non genetically modified organic plant foods–we do not fully understand the long term risks of consuming genetically modified and pesticide laden foods so why risk eating them?
Several nutrients have also been shown to be effective for helping alleviate your hot flashes and other complaints. Vitamin E oil or cream is a great topical supplement that can help with vaginal dryiness. Vitamin C 1200 mg daily and hesperidin 900 mg daily have been shown to be effective at reducing hot flashes. There are also several herbs rich in phytoestrogens that can be taken internally as syrups, extracts, tea or capsules. Primary phytoestrogenic herbs include black cohosh, licorice root, ginseng, Dong Quai, evening primrose and red clover.
If you are in menopause it is important to feed your body the proper nutrients, get adequate rest, exercise on a regular basis, and minimize your stress. This, combined with bio-identical hormones, is the recipe for optimal wellness in menopause!!