During menopause, declining oestrogen levels can cause women to experience unpleasant physical symptoms, such as skin dryness and hot flushes. Hot flushes bring a feeling of heat to a woman's face or body and may induce sweating that lasts for a few seconds or several minutes at a time. If hot flushes occur during the night, they can disturb sleep and leave women feeling tired and irritable the following day. Sipping cool drinks like ice-cold fruit juices can help ease discomfort and rehydrate the body after a period of intense heat and sweating. Fresh fruit juices are particularly beneficial during menopause because fruits contain a range of vitamins, minerals and other compounds that help nourish and rebalance the body during a time of hormonal change.
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Citrus fruits, such as oranges and limes, are rich in vitamin C, which boosts immunity and helps to lower blood pressure. Citrus fruit juices are particularly beneficial to menopausal women when combined with bioflavonoids, which are found in the white membrane, or pith of citrus fruits, and also in blackcurrants. Bioflavonoids weakly mimic the effect of oestrogen in the body and can therefore help to alleviate menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats.
Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that mimic the effect of oestrogen in the body, helping to regulate the body's hormonal effects. Populations that consume a relatively high intake of phytoestrogens seem to encounter a lowered risk of menopausal symptoms. Fruits such as apricots and strawberries contain helpful amounts of phytoestrogens called lignans. However, golden linseeds, also known as flaxseeds, are the richest dietary source of lignans. A quick and convenient way to increase dietary intake of hormone-balancing phytoestrogens is to mix a tablespoon of linseeds with your favourite blends of fresh fruit juice.
Around the time of menopause, women may experience discomfort from heart palpitations that sometimes accompany hot flushes and episodes of sweating. Magnesium is a mineral that the body needs to maintain its regulation of blood pressure and cardiovascular systems. According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, an increased magnesium intake might help to alleviate menopausal hot flushes. Nuts and seeds, such as almonds and sesame seeds, are among the richest dietary sources of magnesium. However, fruit juices such as prune, tomato, grape and pineapple juices contain useful amounts of magnesium that count towards a magnesium-rich daily diet.
Before juicing citrus fruits, peel the fruit and leave the pith intact. Try juices that contain a combination of pithy citrus fruits and berries, such as oranges and strawberries or grapefruits and raspberries. For a bioflavonoid-rich drink that contains less sugar and fewer calories, juice a handful of blackcurrants into a glass and then top up the glass with ice-cold, sparkling mineral water.
Soak linseeds in water overnight to soften them before adding to fruit juices. Try blending orange juice and peach juice with a handful of linseeds, or blend a tablespoon of linseeds with a handful of frozen berries. Top up with sparkling mineral water for a thirst-quenching, fruity spritzer.
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- BBC Health: What is the menopause?
- Mama Health: Menopause: healthy alternatives to hormones
- Early Menopause: Vitamins and minerals that may help
- BBC Good Food: Eat to ease the menopause
- Guardian: Superfoods: linseeds
- Daisy Network: Treatments
- Linus Pauling Institute: Lignans
- Journal of Clinical Oncology: Magnesium supplements for menopausal hot flashes
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre: Magnesium-rich foods