Contributed by: Rachana Arya
Perimenopause is the transition phase that starts many years before menopause and lasts up until menopause.
This is the stage at which the ovaries begin to produce less oestrogen. The onset of perimenopause typically begins in a woman’s forties.
Hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, and mood swings—put together, can really take a toll, and make the menopausal transition, or peri-menopause, a dreaded phase of a woman’s life.
According to the National Institute on Ageing, women experience a wide range of various subtle and not-so-subtle premenopausal symptoms, including:
When you’re navigating the emotional roller coaster of perimenopause, the somewhat uncomfortable ride might feel a little smoother, through lifestyle and dietary modifications.
One easy way you can try to get through this transition more easily is by focusing on the right foods as you enter this phase of your life.
Good nutrition can help prevent or alleviate certain conditions that that perimenopause can cause.
Foods that can make perimenopause worse
What you put in your mouth can impact your menopause symptoms in both a positive and negative way.
Eliminating, or cutting back on, the following ‘trigger foods’ can help improve how you feel.
Not surprisingly, processed foods can exacerbate hormonal symptoms and make hot flashes worse.
The rule of thumb is to eat as close to the natural state as possible.
Steer clear of fast foods, fried foods, white bread, white rice and sugary foods like cookies, cakes, and candy.
All alcoholic beverages cause expansion of blood vessels, making hot flashes worse.
It can also make you prone to mood swings and irritability that can happen with perimenopause.
Spicy foods, especially food prepared with hot peppers and chilli powders, can precipitate hot flashes for some women.
So try eliminating spicy foods from your diet if you notice worsening symptoms after eating them.
Foods that can make perimenopause better
When it comes to healthy eating, it’s helpful to look at all the foods you should be eating that are packed with nutritional value.
Fruits and vegetables
A healthy diet rich in fruits is known to lessen various perimenopause symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats.
Besides, also having high water content, fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage.
Loading up on dark green leafy vegetables, including spinach, kale and broccoli, as well as bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and carrots is a smart move.
Brightly hued fruits, such as mango, cherries and berries, are also loaded with powerful antioxidants and help balance your hormone levels.
Several studies claim that the heart-healthy fats in fish, called omega-3 fatty acids, ease psychological distress and depressive symptoms often suffered by perimenopausal women.
Consuming omega-3 acids have an excellent effect on lessening the severity of hot flashes and reducing mood swings.
Additionally, fatty fish like salmon is also one of the few food sources of vitamin D, a key nutrient for bone health.
Perimenopause is a time when your muscle mass starts to decrease.
For this reason, to help your body hang on to muscle, women going through perimenopause should eat adequate, good quality protein foods, such as fish, poultry, legumes, nuts and seeds.
If you’re suffering from pools of sweat and cascading heat, so-a few “cooling foods,” including watermelons, coconuts, apples, bananas, berries, spinach, broccoli, cucumber, and green tea may help you cool down.
It’s really important to drink plenty of water during perimenopause. The more hydrated you are, the less likely you will be to suffer from a number of common symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
Another symptom — bloating — which occurs very frequently in perimenopause, can be addressed by maintaining adequate hydration.
Although you can’t stop nature from taking its course, making mindful food choices can help you take charge of this transitional time.
Paying attention to what you eat can help you live a happy and healthy life through perimenopause and beyond.
Also, it’s a wise move to opt for regular health checkups to keep an eye on your overall health.
These health checks enable you to keep an eye out on triggers that can take your health for a toss and take preventive measures if anything off pops up.
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