Your kitchen gets hot enough while prepping holiday dinners. Who needs the extra heat from all the hot flashes? Menopause symptoms can get in the way of enjoying the season, but you can take steps to feel better. Check out some menopause-friendly nutrition suggestions for your seasonal table plus natural estrogen replacement alternatives for symptom relief.
Fall in Love With Fiber
Fiber is a fundamental part of anyone’s diet, but it’s especially important during menopause. It’s a key contributor to metabolism and stable blood sugar levels, but it also helps you feel fuller and more satisfied after meals. Fiber-rich plant sources include beans and lentils along with nuts, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, fall and winter squashes, parsnips, carrots, okra and eggplant. With many holiday dishes containing these foods, boosting your fiber intake is easier than you may think.
Amp Up Your Iron Intake
iron is another critical dietary need during menopause. While your overall need for it is lower, you’re also at risk of not getting enough. Unless recommended by your healthcare provider, you may want to focus on eating more of it in your diet. Lean red meats, poultry, eggs and fish are excellent sources: You can easily incorporate those with your holiday main courses.
Plant-based options include leafy greens like spinach, Swiss chard and bok choy as well as turnip, mustard and collard greens. Sweet potatoes, another seasonal favorite, are also rich in iron. Fruits higher in iron include raisins, dates, figs and prunes — flavorful additions to desserts, bread and stuffing.
Don’t Forget the Calcium
Post-menopausal bone loss is a real thing, thanks to lower estrogen levels. Fortunately, you have lots of options for boosting your calcium intake at the holiday table. Dishes with cheese and milk are obvious ways to accomplish this goal. Greek yogurt can replace milk, sour cream and heavy cream in some dishes, achieving a creamy flavor while lowering fat intake.
If dairy is a no-go, try plant-based sources. Beans, peas and lentils are excellent sources. Leafy greens are superstars in this department, too. Both bean and leafy green salads are quick and easy to make for your special occasion meals. Go vegan with your collard greens by using vegetable broth, red pepper, garlic, onion and smoked salt in place of the traditional ham hock. You can also find tons of casserole recipes with these and other calcium-rich foods.
Include an S-Equol Supplement
Estrogen seems like the obvious answer to menopause symptoms, but increasing its levels does come with risks. S-equol supplements are a safe and impactful alternative. If you wonder, “What is s-equol?”, you’re not alone. Newer menopause relief remedies contain this complex molecule that shares a similar structure with estrogen. It can bind to estrogen receptors in your body, reducing discomfort from hot flashes, mood shifts and sleep irregularities. You also avoid increasing your risk of certain health conditions such as breast cancer.
Food, family and fun are important parts of many holidays. Menopause can make the season feel a bit challenging, but sound nutrition and natural supplements for hot flash relief can help improve your well-being and be at your best.