I am huge fan of Dr. Michael Greger’s website, Nutritionfacts.org AND his many wonderful books – he pores through thousands of studies every year to uncover the most salient, scientifically supported information regarding nutrition, and reports it in a way that is easy to understand without dumbing it down into click-bait headlines.
His latest video regarding the link between diet and menopause symptoms is worth watching, just in case you think I make all this stuff up.
Here are the main takeaways:
More oxidative stress (whether environmental, emotional, or diet-related – it’s all connected) translates into more frequent and more severe menopause symptoms, especially vasomotor symptoms.
More antioxidants in a woman’s diet (i.e., fruits and vegetables) not only reduces frequency/severity of menopause symptoms, but also seems to delay the onset of menopause.
A pro-inflammatory diet – including all the usual suspects like meat, sugar, refined foods, anything fried, and ESPECIALLY dairy and poultry – result in more frequent/severe physical symptoms.
Some foods are particularly helpful in combatting symptoms, and those high in Omega 3s are major standouts. In fact, just 2 tsp. per day of ground flaxseed showed a significant reduction of menopause symptoms within 12 weeks – the same result for a control group taking HRT.
Here’s what’s weird about these studies though: when they report their conclusions - that dietary measures can actually exceed the results you would expect to see from pharmaceuticals - they nearly always caveat the findings by saying something about how a nutrition-centered approach is worth considering for "those that prefer a natural means to manage their symptoms.” Why is it called out that way - shouldn't it be "worth considering" for everyone? As if a preference to reduce the number of pharmaceuticals you are dependent on is “fringe” or kooky in some way!
It seems to me that getting healthy without drugs should be EVERYBODY’S goal, not just lunatics hell bent on avoiding HRT. 😊