The stage right before menopause is called perimenopause. During this period of time you may begin to experience some unusual symptoms because your hormones are fluctuating. Sometimes you will have too much oestrogen and other times, not enough. Progesterone, which is a female sex hormone and has a calming influence, starts to diminish when you stop ovulating regularly. You may find that you are more anxious. There are certain foods that you can eat that will help diminish perimenopausal symptoms as well as certain foods that you should avoid altogether.
Choose foods that are protein-rich and low in sugar, according to the Women to Women website. Eat most of your protein early in the day and don't allow yourself to get too hungry before eating or too full while eating. If you aren't eating enough protein, your metabolism will slow down, which will cause you to gain weight and feel tired. Eliminating sugar will help reduce food cravings and stabilise your blood sugar.
According to Jay Williams, Ph.D., eating soy products can reduce the symptoms of perimenoapuse. Phytoestrogens are present in some foods and behave very much like natural oestrogen, without harmful side effects. Consider eating two serving of soy daily. Soy is believed to reduce the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer and is thought to keep your hormones stable.
Don't eat foods that contain gluten, which is thought to make anxiety worse. Dr. Podell of The Podell and King Medical Practice notes that gluten as well as dairy products can produce anxiety and depression. Foods that contain gluten include pasta, rye bread, pretzels, cakes, muffins, pancakes, sausage, gravy powder, self-basting turkeys, flour- based soups, pickles and soy sauce.
Foods that Increase Hot Flashes
Dr. Tori Hudson of Vitanica.com notes that hot flushes, which many perimenopausal women experience, are made worse by salt, stress, warm drinks, alcohol and spicy foods, so avoid these items.
Iron and Calcium Rich Food
Ask your physician if you should increase your iron intake during perimenopause. The Cleveland Clinic notes that many women are deficient in iron, as well as calcium, during perimenopause and these deficiencies need to be corrected for optimum health. Eat at least three servings of iron-rich food each day. Iron is found in leafy green vegetables, enriched grain products, fish, eggs, poultry, lean red meat and nuts. Eat dairy products and calcium rich foods, including broccoli, dairy products and legumes.
Avoid Sodium and Saturated Fats
Limit your consumption of saturated fats (whole milk, cheese, fatty meats and ice cream) and cut back on your salt consumption. Too much sodium can result in high blood pressure. Eating foods that contain high levels of nitrates, such as salt-cured items and smoked foods, should be keep at a minimum. High blood pressure during perimenopause may be the result of an unhealthy lifestyle, including smoking and drinking, according to the Baby-boomer Care website, which explains that when a woman is experiencing night sweats or hot flushes her blood pressure may actually be lower than normal, which is due to the fall in her body temperature. Both low and high blood pressure on a prolonged basis can do harm to a woman and lead to heart conditions.
Following these steps will help balance your hormones and optimise your neurotransmitters so that the right messages are getting to the right places at the right time in your body.