At its most basic, menopause is a natural biological process. The physical and emotional symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems, mood swings, depression, headaches, weight gain, slow metabolism, and persistent vaginal itching can be very stressful and difficult to deal with.
The good news is that there are smart healthy lifestyle choices that you can make today that will go a long way in helping to rebalance your hormones.
Superfoods are the perfect way to get you started.
Below is a list of superfoods that you can begin adding to your diet right away, along with a recipe for a superfood smoothie that is delicious and packed full of vitamins.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae which typically grows in freshwater ponds and lakes. It is rich in protein, copper, B vitamins, iron, and manganese. It is also a good source of zinc, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients are essential for immune response, balancing hormones and moods, reducing cramps, and easing breast tenderness as well as inflammation. A teaspoon or two added to your favorite green smoothie is a good way to start using it. Too much spirulina is not necessarily a good thing because of the copper content so be careful, start small, and don’t overdo it.
According to Dr. Deanna Minnich, “Bee pollen has the power to interfere with the reproductive hormones, which can be beneficial in some cases and detrimental in others. One of the flavonoids found in bee pollen, chrysin, is an aromatase inhibitor. Aromatase is an enzyme that has many jobs in the body, including converting testosterone into estrogen. Inhibiting this enzyme can lead to higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of estrogen in women.”
In women who struggle with estrogen dominance, bee pollen may be more beneficial since it seems to decrease estrogen production and reduce estrogen activity. Dr. Minnich also notes benefits for fertility and for easing menopausal symptoms. As part of a balanced diet, bee pollen provides protein, B vitamins, healthy fats, carotenoids, and polyphenols which all contribute to optimum health. Of course, if you are allergic to bees, use common sense in adding this superfood to your nutrition plan.
Cod Liver Oil/ Fish Oil or Krill Oil
These oils are rich in vitamin D and omega 3s. Vitamin D is critical for immune health. Omega 3’s support brain, cardiovascular and hormonal health. They are also known to reduce prostaglandins (which can help ease menstrual cramps and systemic inflammation). In therapeutic (high) doses, fish oil is used to treat anxiety and depression. Always follow the instructions on the label, Fish oil is a very effective blood thinner and should only be used in higher doses under the care of a knowledgeable physician.
Vitex – Vitex is also known as Chasteberry
This is a medicinal herb used for women’s reproductive health. It is known for boosting progesterone levels and studies have shown that it is effective in reducing symptoms of PMS (mood swings, irritability, tender breasts, bloating, headaches, insomnia, and drowsiness).
Maca is a root native to Peru
Maca is full of antioxidants and is a very popular superfood renowned for easing hormonal imbalances. Rich in vitamin C, copper, protein, and fiber, Maca is known to help with libido problems, PMS, and hot flashes. If you have high blood pressure, thyroid hormone issues, are pregnant or breastfeeding or have PCOS, you should consult with your physician or nutritionist before consuming Maca. Steep Maca in hot water like tea, or add 1 tsp of it to your smoothies, overnight oats, raw protein balls or even soups!
Kale: Kale is a leafy green cruciferous vegetable
Cruciferous veggies contain indole-3-carbinol, which helps the body to metabolize estrogens and can be very beneficial for people who struggle with estrogen dominance. Kale is also packed with vitamins including A, K, C, and B5 as well as minerals like copper, manganese, and calcium. For those with thyroid issues, it is important to cook kale to reduce goitrogenic compounds that inhibit the way thyroid hormones are metabolized. If you are eating a lot of raw kale and begin gaining weight or notice an increase in PMS, bloating, fatigue or moodiness, cut back or lightly steam Kale before adding to your smoothie. Any of these symptoms may be signs that you’re enjoying more raw kale than your thyroid can handle.
Magnesium helps to combat fatigue and insomnia that are associated with menopause.
None of these superfoods are magic bullets but can be used in moderation to get you started on the road to balancing your hormones.
Not sure how to incorporate them? That’s where we come in…
If you want to learn more about how to eat for hormone balance, enjoy more energy and vitality and connect to a great community of like-minded phenomenal women transitioning menopause with grace, you should join our Facebook group:
Hormone Supporting Superfood Smoothie:
As a Health Coach, I have learned plenty about traditional and conventional medications. One of the most important things that I learned from my practice is that your liver – this most vital organ – is responsible for healthy hormone production as well as hormonal imbalance. If you are diagnosed with a fatty or problematic liver, then your body may not flush out toxins properly and you may struggle with unbalanced insulin levels. It should also be noted that a deficient liver can trigger your hormone levels incessantly—which can cause infertility, irregular periods, or other serious health problems.
I certainly believe that while conventional medication has helped with the treatment of several ailments, it doesn’t play a contributory role in recognizing the role of the liver as a powerhouse in its influence on our hormones.
Drinking a green smoothie every day is an excellent way to improve liver function and to balance your hormone levels significantly. I would recommend experimenting with the following green smoothie recipe and tweaking it to suit your own tastes.
- 1 cup organic kale or organic spinach
- 2 tablespoons fresh organic parsley
- ½ banana fresh or frozen
- 1 teaspoon of spirulina
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- ½ cup fresh full fat coconut milk (not canned but from the dairy case) or dairy-free milk (almond or (rice/oat) if you have nut allergies)
- ½ cup frozen blueberries
It’s important to understand how this smoothie is able to revitalize our hormones. These ingredients are responsible for flushing out toxins from our liver and digestive system, and they also assist with the metabolizing of hormone by-products. These combinations of flavors are easy to drink and benefit our bodies greatly due to the amount of fiber they contain.
Drink with love!