As the founder of The Food Medic blog, website and podcast, nutrition will always be my greatest passion. And for the past three years, I’ve spent most of my time researching how food helps women live healthier, happier lives.
There is little research on the specific dietary needs of women beyond the usual caloric needs, what foods to avoid during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and what nutrients support fertility – but we do have needs that go well with -of the.
Throughout the menstrual cycle, for example, we have different calorie and nutrient needs due to fluctuations in sex hormones. We burn up to 300 more calories in the second half of our cycle after ovulation when progesterone and estrogen are high. We often see a natural increase in food intake at this stage, and cravings for foods high in carbohydrates and fats are common.
I do not subscribe to the idea of using food as medicine. Instead, I want to reframe food as fuel. The recipes here are high in protein, iron or fiber – or a combination of the three. These, along with my guidelines (below), will allow you to function at your best in every stage of life…
How to Eat to Beat PMS Symptoms
- Limit caffeine and salt to reduce bloating and water retention.
- Increase magnesium by eating foods like nuts, spinach, and whole grains.
- Eat more non-heme (plant-based) iron, which is found in beans, legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds, and omega-rich foods such as fatty fish, pumpkin seeds, and omega-rich foods. flax and nuts.
- Prioritize complex carbohydrates (whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables) over foods high in sugar (cakes, candies, chocolate), to support mood and energy levels and reduce cravings.
- Increase your calcium and vitamin D intake.
- Get the right B vitamins, especially B1 (thiamine – found in nuts, seeds, whole grains, peas, pork and liver) and B2 (riboflavin – found in dairy products, eggs, mushrooms, meat and seafood). These have been linked to lower rates of PMS.
Support your body through menopause
Consider heart health. After menopause, blood vessels become stiffer and narrower, increasing the risk of heart disease. Here’s how you can help support heart health and reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke…
- Replace foods high in saturated fats and trans fatty acids (butter, coconut oil, pastries, fried foods) with foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds).
- Reduce your consumption of red meat and include at least one serving of oily fish per week.
- Aim for three or more servings of 30g per day of whole grains (wholegrain bread, cereals, oats, barley, brown rice, spelled and rye).
- Eat more fiber (fruits and vegetables, legumes, grains and cereals, nuts, seeds) and beta-glucan, found in oats and barley.
- Add soy foods (tofu, edamame beans, soy milk/yogurt), which can lower blood cholesterol by 3-4%.
- Limit alcohol to no more than two to three units per day.
- Watch your salt intake, by not adding salt to meals, by checking food labels (low salt equals less than 0.3g of salt per 100g).
Make bone health a priority. Women are at increased risk of osteoporosis after menopause when estrogen levels decline. There are a number of key nutrients that work together for strong, healthy bones – particularly calcium, vitamin D, protein, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K. Adequate calories are needed to maintain and build healthy bones. healthy bones, as insufficient caloric intake often goes hand in hand. goes hand in hand with lower intakes of essential nutrients such as calcium. This is important for women at all stages of life.
- Increase your calcium intake to 1,000 mg per day. Find it in dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt), plant-based milk substitutes, calcium-enriched cereals, canned fish with bones and orange juice, nuts and seeds, tofu and cabbage curly.
- Eat a source of protein with each meal (Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, edamame beans, nuts).
- Green leafy vegetables (chard, kale, spinach), broccoli and soybeans are good sources of vitamin K.
- Find magnesium in nuts (almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia), spinach, soy beans, black beans, potatoes, whole grains and dark chocolate.
- Phosphorus is found in a variety of sources, such as dairy products, meat and poultry, fish, nuts, beans, and whole grains.
- Sources of potassium include bananas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, nuts and seeds, legumes, fish and shellfish, and meat and poultry.