Preparing for menopause with phytoestrogens

Published August 3, 2021, 8:27 AM

by Cheshire Que

Women who are menopausal are at greater risk for many other diseases

MANAGE MENOPAUSE THROUGH NUTRITION A healthy diet consisting of wholesome plant and phytoestrogen rich foods is important pre-menopause

Approximately 1.2 billion women will be on postmenopause by the year 2030 as predicted by the World Health Organization. Women in their 40s and 50s experience hormonal changes that span the period of menopause, which comes in three stages.

Perimenopause is characterized by irregular menstrual periods. It typically lasts for an average of four years. This is due to the declining production of the female hormones, estrogen, and progesterone by a woman’s ovaries.

If a woman ceases to have any menstrual flow for 12 consecutives months, she is now considered to be on menopause, a stage in her life that ends her fertility and ability to procreate. This normally happens somewhere between the ages of 45 to 55.

Preparing for menopause must always include managing expectations. Be fully knowledgeable about the symptoms that a woman may experience in varying degrees to prevent fear and anxiety when the time comes. These unpleasant symptoms may include hot flashes or night sweats, mood alterations, irritability, depression, sleep disturbances or insomnia, palpitations, vaginal dryness and infections, headaches, body pain, and forgetfulness.

Postmenopause follows menopause. This is the time when a woman gets over the discomfort of menopausal symptoms.

One of the ways to prevent and manage symptoms is through nutrition, specifically the consumption of plant food rich in phytoestrogens. These are plant chemicals that have weak estrogen-like effects in the body. Our body cells have receptors for estrogens to attach to. Therefore, the phytoestrogens attach to the receptor sites, decreasing the risk of cancer and other illnesses common among women on menopause. Decreased estrogen in the body increases fat deposition in the abdominal area. Belly fat is associated with heart problems, diabetes, and even cancer. This is the reason women on menopause and post menopause must achieve and maintain a normal body weight and normal abdominal fat.

Decreased estrogen in the body increases fat deposition in the abdominal area. Belly fat is associated with heart problems, diabetes, and even cancer. This is the reason women on menopause must maintain a normal body weight.

Since the body’s ability to produce estrogen has declined during menopause, the need to provide it with naturally occurring phytoestrogens is beneficial to health. The use of hormone replacement therapy, however, is not tantamount to the health benefits and positive effects from consuming wholesome plant food. According to studies, hormone replacement therapy and synthetic hormone supplements pose a health threat, albeit having some perceived health benefits. It is associated with increased risk of dementia, stroke, coronary artery disease, and pulmonary embolism or blockage of a lung artery which is a life-threatening condition.

Phytoestrogen can also come from animal origin. These products are often high in cholesterol content and packed with saturated fats and calories. These are associated with high risk for cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and osteoporosis. These medical conditions are also common among women on menopause. It is best to get your daily dose of phytoestrogens from wholesome plant food.

Studies have shown that Japanese women have fewer symptoms of menopause compared to other women globally. They also have a lower risk for breast cancer. This is correlated to their regular and high intake of phytoestrogens in the form of Isoflavones that are abundant in soy and edamame. Isoflavones can help alleviate menopause symptoms, as well as promote heart health by lowering bad cholesterol and prevent hormone-related cancer development.

Soy, soymilk, edamame, tofu, tempeh, apple, carrots, berries, yams, oats, mungbean, lentils, flaxseed, sesame seeds, sage, gingko, and licorice are abundant in phytoestrogens.

You don’t need to wait until you get to the menopause stage. You can begin increasing your phytoestrogen intake at any age to get optimum benefits.

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