I am writing this plant-based menopause article at the age of 49 years and from the experience of having eaten a purely plant-based diet for almost 30 years.

Let’s embrace a healthy plant-based menopause together!

It’s commonly accepted that eating a healthy whole-food diet high in fruits, vegetables, and plant-based protein can help us reduce symptoms of menopause.  A healthy, well-balanced plant-based diet is chock full of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and nutrients, which is good for general health at any stage of life. However, when our hormones are all over the place around menopause eating a balanced nutritious diet becomes cruicial to our quality of life.na with wedges

Reducing or eliminating alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, hot spices, unhealthy fats, gluten and junk food can also significantly help with hormone balance.

In this article, I am going to focus on the best plant-based foods to include in a healthy menopause diet. I’ll look at why they are important and how you can include them in your diet.

Plant-based protein around menopause

Protein helps us to repair cells, reinforce bone structure, maintain healthy muscle mass, and regulate hormones.

One of the biggest factors hindering the quality of life as we age is the ability to move freely, and to resist and recover from injury. With a slower rate of healing injury as we age, falls, and more importantly fractures, have been classed as one of the significant contributing factors towards death in older women. It’s therefore important when looking at perimenopause, menopause and post menopause, that we address muscle and bone health.

When we start to age we all naturally start to lose muscle mass (sarcopenia) and bone density.

A combination of physical activity and adequate plant-based protein intake can help us to maintain both healthy muscle mass and bone density.

This is why staying active and keeping fit becomes increasingly important as we age. Quality plant-based protein is essential to support this.

Healthy forms of plant-based protein include:

  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Tofu
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Peas
  • Oats

A combination of various of the above foods can help with a balanced plant-based menopause protein intake.

RECIPES high in plant-based protein to try…

Fibre

One of the helpful elements of eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains is that it is jam-packed with fibre.

Fibre is essential for keeping you full, which can stop you from snacking on less healthy foods.

It also helps to keep the colon clean, helps to regulate our blood sugar levels, supports a healthy gut microbiome and keeps our weight in check.

Phytoestrogens are important for a plant-based menopause

It’s believed that phytoestrogens (plant-based oestrogens) may be helpful for us as oestrogen levels naturally start to decline.

There are two main classes of phytoestrogens.

  • Isoflavones (found in soya)
  • Lignans (found in flaxseed and whole grains, legunes, fruits and vegetables)

Studies suggest that phytoestrogens are beneficial around menopause, especially for reducing hot flashes.

The easiest way to include phytoestrogens in your plant-based menopause diet?

Eat organic soya products

Do what Japanese people do. Eat tofu or tempeh. Tofu and tempeh are made of fermented soya beans. You can eat them in smoothies, stews, desserts, sandwiches and stir-fries.

You can also include edamame beans, which are young green soya beans, although the phytoestrogen content is not as high in these immature beans compared to tofu and tempeh.

Include lignan rich phytoestrogen plant foods in your diet

Lignan rich foods are said to include…

  • Flaxseed
  • Sesame seed (tahini)
  • Cashew nuts
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Green beans
  • Cabbage
  • Apricots
  • Grapefruit
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries

RECIPES with lignan rich foods to try…

Omega 3 for your plant-based menopause

Omega-3 essential fats are important for health at any stage of life. They are thought to be helpful around menopause possibly due to their support of brain, mood and heart health. Regulation of these systems is important for the hormone system.

You can find good levels of plant-based omega-3 in the following plant foods…

  • Flaxseed
  • Chia seed
  • Hemp seed
  • Walnuts
  • Soya
  • Seaweed

Scientific study here: Does Omega-3 improve menopausal symptoms?

Nutrional information here: Plant-based Omega-3 nutirional information

RECIPES with Omega-3 to try…

Vitamin D: Soak up the sun

Did you know that vitamin D is not really a vitamin, but is actually a hormone?

Ana in the sun on coast path in wales

Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system and strong bones. It’s known for helping to absorb and keep calcium and phosphorous in the bones. Vitamin D is also said to be key for healthy muscle and a balanced hormone system

The most natural way to get Vitamin D is to absorb it from the sun. With enough sunshine, our body naturally makes its own Vitamin D.

If you spend a lot of time indoors or live in a temperate climate, however, there is not usually enough sun available, especially during the winter months. It is therefore a good idea to supplement vitamin D for health.

Magnesium Magic

Magnesium is important for calcium absorption, bone health, nerve and muscle function, the immune system, mood and sleep regulation. All of which can be up in the air during the hormonal shifts of menopause. So make sure you are getting enough magnesium in your diet.

Good sources of plant-based magnesium include…

  • Quinoa
  • Oats
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Leafy greens
  • Rice
  • Tofu

RECIPES with high magnesium ingredients to try…

Baked Banana & Walnut Oat Squares, gluten-free vegan by Anastasia, Kind Earth

Tryptophan for menopause

Our sleep cycle, mood and appetite can be all over the place around the menopause. This is where tryptophan can be beneficial.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid responsible for making hormones, and brain chemicals. It enables the production of serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is important for mood, sleep and appetite regulation. Melatonin is directly involved with a healthy sleep rhythm.

Plant-based foods high in tryptophan include…

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Walnuts
  • Sesame seeds (including tahini)
  • Tofu or soya beans (edamame)
  • Oats
  • Buckwheat
  • Chia seeds
  • Cashew nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Sunflower seeds

RECIPES with high tryptophan ingredients to try…

 

Sunshine Seed Patties (veggie burgers) with sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, carrot and herbs - delicious, easy and super healthy - by Anastasia, Kind Earth

 

Maca Powder for menopause

Maca is native to Peru and has been used traditionally by natives for hormone support for aeons.

It is an adaptogenic plant food, which helps us adapt to the physical, mental and emotional stress of fluctuating hormones. Maca is a re-balancing food. It seeks to find where our hormones are out of balance and then bring them back to equilibrium.

Here is my favourite smoothie recipe with maca in it. Specially created to balance my hormones naturally…

Maca Smoothie for Hormone Balance

Maca Mango Smoothie for natural hormone balance by Anastasia, Kind Earth - vegan

Other delicious maca recipes to try…

Other lifestyle choices that can help with symptoms of menopause

  • Meditation
  • Walks in nature
  • Keeping fit
  • Weight-bearing activity
  • Taking time to relax
  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Art
  • Spending time with uplifting people
  • Doing what you love
  • Being kind to yourself
  • Laughter

I’ve been doing all of the above, with amazing effects. Please let me know if you you’d like me to share more, and I’d be happy to do so wherever there is interest.

I hope that you find this article helpful. Feel free to share your experiences and leave a comment below.

Love & Plants
Anastasia x

Pin top foods for your plant-based menopause for later…

top foods for plant-based menopause