Perimenopause marks a significant phase in a woman’s life when she bids farewell to fertility and embraces no longer having menstrual cycles. This transitional phase usually occurs in the late 30s or early 40s and slowly, without your knowing what’s happening, and without your consent to do so, your body hops on a hormonal roller coaster.
While on the roller coaster there are ups and downs; twists and turns. You often don’t know what to expect. However, there are some parts of perimenopause that you can control. So it’s best to focus on controlling the controllables, with your nutrition being one of them.
Decoding Perimenopause: Can Your Nutritional Choices Tame the Hormonal Roller Coaster?
Perimenopause is referring to the years, between four to ten years, leading up to the cessation of a menstrual cycle. It starts when your ovaries decide it’s time to cut down on estrogen and progesterone, the dynamic duo responsible for regulating your menstrual cycles along with other important functions. Cue the hormonal roller coaster, complete with physical and emotional symptoms that are the perfect accessories for this midlife adventure.
The common physical manifesations include hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness – because who doesn’t dream of experiencing a personal heat wave while trying to sleep? And let’s not forget the emotional rollercoaster, showcasing mood swings, irritability, along with a side of brain fog and peppered with difficulty concentrating.
Additionally, as if it wasn’t fun enough, perimenopause can influence metabolism and weight management. However, a proactive approach to nutrition and lifestyle choices are your ticket to managing these changes and supporting your overall well being during this transitional period. Cheers to hormones!
What Dietary Changes Are Crucial in Perimenopause?
In the phase of perimenopause, a clear shift in nutritional needs becomes evident. Supporting your metabolism, bone health, and your heart become more important than ever.
Changing Nutrient Requirements
Perimenopause alters hormonal balance, metabolism, and bone health, requiring attention to nutrient intake. Essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids become crucial. If you couldn’t quite get it together before, a well-balanced diet becomes more critical than ever while riding the roller coaster.
Protein Intake for Muscle Maintenance
Protein becomes your new BFF for maintaining your muscles. Ordering up chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs is in your best interest to support your metabolism. While chocolate and wine may feel like all you want, you have control over prioritizing protein. Pretend like you are training for an event. In fact you are, you are training for menopause.
Forget about the days when you didn’t have to worry about muscle mass. Now embracing a protein packed lifestyle is paramount in order to keep the muscle you have, and if you can add new muscle it’s even better for the long haul (because this transition is a long haul).
Polyphenol-rich Foods for Gut Health
Polyphenols, a compound found in many plant based foods are the unsung hero of perimenopause, specifically for your gut health. Forget about the allure of processed snacks, it’s time to stock up on berries, olives, sweet cherries, and green tea. They truly are superheroes. It’s not just about your overall wellbeing, but also about transforming your diet into a polyphenol-rich powerhouse for your digestive system.
Guidance through the Storm
All of this can be a lot. If you need personalized guidance on navigating this time and optimizing nutritional strategies I have you.
To help me work through this time, I dove into the research along with my colleagues and we put together a preparation course to get you ready for the transition. You can find more information and learn to Calm the Chaos. Because moving through the transition alone can be lonely. Join our menosquad to guide you through.