What to eat to help with low self esteem


Those of us with unhealthy eating habits can’t ignore them any longer! Weight gain is a given for many women (according to the International Menopause Society women gain approximately 1lb a year, after entering perimenopause at 45!). Tackling your diet may help you to look and feel better and at the same time, have a positive impact on your overall health. 

The good….
While there’s no specific ‘self-esteem raising diet’, there are foods that can help with the menopause symptoms that contribute to low self-esteem. Maybe you don’t have time always to cook from scratch, but try to incorporate some of these foods into your daily diet.

  • Nuts: walnuts, almonds and cashews, full of healthy oils.

  • Dark leafy greens: good for bones, mood and weight

  • Oats, whole grains, sweet potatoes and brown rice: Complex carbohydrates full of fibre (helping with bowels) and giving us energy.

  • SMASH: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herrings for their essential Omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Seeds: flax, chia and golden linseed (milled please) also for Omega 3.

  • B Vitamin rich foods help with low mood: Yeast extract, asparagus, broccoli, spinach, bananas.

  • Soy beans, edamame beans, tofu and tempeh: for the Phytoestrogens (eaten by Japanese women who don’t experience our western menopause symptoms)

  • Pulses and legumes, lentils, chickpeas, beans, fresh peas, and peanuts, also good sources of phytoestrogens.

  • Colourful fruit and vegetables: piling your plate up with these means, vitamins, minerals, fibre, and calcium - rather than piling on the calories.

…. The Bad and The Ugly foods for self-esteem
Refined sugars, carbs and saturated fats found in processed food, cakes, biscuits and savoury snacks can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, causing mood swings, weight gain, fatigue and generally exacerbating other menopause symptoms like osteoporosis, breast pain and heart palpitations. So many reasons to tackle poor snack habits! In the supermarket, try to buy the bulk of your food from the outside aisles where you’ll find fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and pulses and nuts. If you venture into the inner aisles, check labels for fat, sugar and salt content.  See our Weight Gain, Anxiety and Depression symptom pages for more information on food and mood.



Laura Llewellyn