6 Phyto-oestrogenic foods to eat during menopause.
Phyto-oestrogens are naturally occurring compounds found in a wide range of plant foods like fruits,veggies legumes and some grains “Phyto-” is a Greek root word meaning “plant” and oestrogen is the female hormone. Although phyto-oestrogen is different from oestrogen,it has the ability to cause an 0estrogen-like effect on the body. Our bodies contain hormone receptors, these are the places on the cell membrane where substances from the bloodstream can attach themselves and cause an affect, telling the cells what to do. There are two types of oestrogen receptors - alpha and beta. When phyto-estrogens are metabolised, they attach themselves to the beta oestrogen receptor. If oestrogen levels are low and oestrogen-binding sites are empty, the phyto-oestrogens that bind to the receptor will boost the oestrogen effect in the body. This is why phyto-oestrogen intake is important during menopause when oestrogen levels drop, triggering many of the uncomfortable symptoms experienced during menopause. Eating foods rich in phyt-oestrogens may help to relieve and reduce the frequency of troubling symptoms such as hot flushes. Studies on phyto-oestrogens, show isoflavones are the nutrients found in plants with potent oestrogen-like activities.The following list can serve as a guideline on foods you can add to meal times to keep menopausal symptoms at bay. Flaxseed Flaxseeds are a rich source of lignans which contain high amounts of phyto-oestrogens. In fact, flaxseeds contain up to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods and are also rich in Omega-3 fats, which are incredibly important for optimal health. Tofu In addition to the phyto-oestrogen benefits of tofu, it’s also a great source of protein, keeping hunger at bay which can help reduce weight gain in menopausal women. Rich in iron, which is essential for energy levels, it offers a boost for menopausal women to relieve lethargy and low energy levels. Kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans These beans help your body produce natural progesterone and are a must for menopausal women seeking happy hormones and great nutrition. Beans make an inexpensive and tasty meal full of antioxidants, protein, fibre, iron and magnesium. Dried fruits When it comes to fruit, the highest amount of phyto -oestrogens can be found in dried apricots, dried dates and dried prunes. Unlike other sources, the iron found in dried apricots is rapidly absorbed by the body and prunes may be especially beneficial in fighting bone density loss which occurs during menopause. Chickpeas The humble chickpea, also known as a garbanzo bean, provides a good source of phyto-oestrogen for menopausal women. Chickpeas can also significantly boost your intake of manganese and folate, which help support bone development. One of the yummiest ways to have chickpeas is to whip up a deliciously simple hummus or toss them into a stir-fry. Oats Oats are some of the healthiest grains on earth and a simple way to increase the phyto-oestrogen level of your menopausal diet. In addition to containing phyto-oestrogen, oats also encourage the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract, lower cholesterol and reduce blood sugar level response. A hearty bowl of steel cut oats will keep you feeling full for longer, a great way to tackle weight gain.