As we move through perimenopause, nutrition can have a really big impact on how we experience these years and some of the symptoms that come with it. Something we get asked a lot is whether eating a plant-based diet is better for us, especially at this time of our lives.

A diet higher in plant-based foods can be beneficial for perimenopausal women for several reasons.

  • Plant-based foods are higher in fibre, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of insulin resistance, a condition that can worsen symptoms of perimenopause.
  • Plant-based foods are rich in antioxidants which can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. Inflammation and oxidative stress are thought to play a role in the development of many chronic diseases, including those that can worsen symptoms of perimenopause, such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
  • Plant-based foods are low in saturated and trans fats, which can help reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease, a condition that becomes more common in postmenopausal women.
  • Plant-based foods can provide a wide range of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, which can help support overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

If you have decided to go plant-based it’s important for you to ensure that you are eating a well-balanced diet with the necessary nutrients you need for optimal perimenopause health. 

The most common nutritional deficiencies in a plant-based diet can be iron, zinc, B12 and Omega 3.

It’s also important to focus on eating enough protein. When it comes to comparing plant-based protein sources with animal sources, there are some important differences to consider.

Animal sources of protein, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products, are considered complete proteins because they contain all of the essential amino acids that the body needs. These essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from the diet. Animal sources of protein are also typically high in vitamin B12, iron, and zinc. Animal proteins are also higher in protein, for example:

  • 100g Tofu - contains 8g of protein
  • 100g Chicken - contains 27g of protein.

More about protein in perimenopause here.

Need plant-based protein for perimenopause? Go here.

On the other hand, vegan protein sources, such as legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, and tempeh, may be incomplete proteins because they may not contain all of the essential amino acids.

However, by combining different plant-based protein sources, such as eating beans and rice together, you can create a complete protein. Additionally, some vegan protein sources, such as quinoa and soy products, are complete proteins on their own.

Vegan protein sources tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol compared to animal sources, which can be beneficial for heart health. They are also often high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. 

When it comes to choosing between animal and vegan protein sources, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and dietary needs.

Both options can provide adequate protein for a healthy diet, but it's important to make sure you're also getting enough essential nutrients from a variety of sources.

If you're considering a vegan or vegetarian diet, it's recommended to work with a healthcare provider or registered nutritionist or dietitian to ensure you're meeting your nutrient needs.


March 28, 2023 — Angela Greely

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