7 Menopause Foods to Boost a Good Mood
Elvis Presley’s Moody Blue is so on the button; we can be complicated ladies when our peri-menopausal mood swings kick in.
If you’ve checked out our Symptoms section, then you’ll realise how food is the main ingredient to keep your menopause mania under control.
So let us bring you Joy – Joy Skipper is a nutritional therapist, we’ve teamed up with the Joyful Skipper and put together a list of trending foods to help boost your mood.
Yup, this is the trendy food of the moment and it’s loaded with iodine, a nutrient that is important for our hormonal health and thyroid function. The thyroid is a gland in our neck that produces the hormones that are responsible for regulating the metabolism of our body’s cells. Iodine in seaweed may help to maintain proper thyroid function, kick-starting energy levels and helping you maintain that sunny disposition those around you might like restored. It’s also a great source of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids and an excellent source of folic acid, a key nutrient needed to make serotonin, a brain chemical responsible for making us feel happy. Seaweed also contains dietary magnesium, which may help to protect our body’s from the negative effects of stress.
If you like sushi, then sushi rolls wrapped in nori is one of the easiest ways to eat seaweed. It’s not the tastiest of foods on its own. You can buy dried Wakame in packets from health stores and some supermarkets. Rehydrate it in cold water and add it to smoothies, stocks, soups and salads.
Yet another Japanese favourite that’s becoming increasingly more available. Soy products such as tofu and edamame beans have high levels of tryptophan, the pre-cursor to serotonin. Soybeans are also a low glycaemic food, which means they won’t spike your energy too quickly causing mood crashes. Soy products also contain ‘dietary oestrogens’, or compounds known as phytoestrogens. It is thought that phytoestrogens may gently boost oestrogen levels, benefiting the health and mood of menopausal women. As our oestrogen diminishes due to our ovaries producing less as we near menopause, this additional boost is not only helpful to our mood, it may help protect our bones and assist with other symptoms such as vaginal dryness and loss of libido.
Edamame beans are great added to a salad, or as a snack to fight off hunger.
Milled Linseed (flaxseed)
Like soy products, linseed contains a variety of phytoestrogens as well as lashings of fibre to help with digestion. It’s probably one of the easiest foods to add to a menopausal diet. Buy it milled as otherwise you don’t gain the same benefits when in seed form (or crush seeds in a pestle and mortar, or coffee grinder). You can buy it in packets and it’s great added to smoothies, breakfast cereal, porridge, sprinkled on salads or added to fruit crumble toppings.
Kale, broccoli and spinach provide folate and B vitamins. Deficiencies in certain B vitamins have been linked to depression, as serotonin production may be obstructed by low B vitamin levels. The important B’s are folate, vitamins B3, B6 and B12, so eating these leafy greens should keep your B levels up. These nutrients are also essential for a healthy liver – which is partly responsible for regulating and helping balance certain hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. So a healthy happy liver tends to mean a healthier, happier menopausal woman.
Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of the mineral selenium which also supports our thyroid function. It has other menopause bonuses, as it plays a key role in the immune and nervous system and helps keep our skin looking young too. Just three Brazil nuts a day should give you your RDA of selenium. Great on their own as a mid-morning snack, with a banana, or chopped up and sprinkled in salads or stir-fries.
Yes, there is a valid reason why chocolate makes you feel better. A couple of small squares of dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more) causes your brain to release endorphins and boost your serotonin levels, be strong and don’t gobble the entire bar though!
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
Or EFAs are a nutritional menopause must for our brain health and overall mental well-being. In particular omega-3 fats found in oily fish, avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Most of the benefits are due to the anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation plays a role in brain fog, memory loss, anxiety and depression. EFAs contribute to new brain cell formation, help to reduce brain inflammation, protect against depression and are memory and mood boosters.