Foods to Avoid in Perimenopause
Don’t worry ladies I’m not about to give you a long list of all the things you love and tell you that you can’t have them anymore.
That would just be mean.
BUTTTTTT, If I was to give you just one itsy-bitsy master rule to stick to through perimenopause: avoid ultra processed foods.
I'll explain more on that in a minute...
The other three important things to consider are:
- What foods/drinks seem to be triggering your hot flashes?
- What is your gut health like?
- Do you have any food intolerances?
We're keen to point out before we go on: we don't want to demonise any kind of food. As women we have been told since time immemorial what to eat and what not to eat. So confusing (and annoying)!
Whilst, there are foods that clearly have more nutritional value than others (and we're here to help you find the tools you need to feel better as you move through peri so we're always going to have a spotlight on those), you may find through experimenting that you can tolerate certain foods every now and again.
But really, what each of us can tolerate, what works, what doesn't, what triggers major symptoms is going to be completely different from woman to woman. It's really for you to tune into your body, be mindful, be aware of how certain foods make you feel and make a conscious decision as to whether the fallout is worth it for you. Heck, sometimes it might just be and that's okay! And other times you may just decide that nope, not today peri symptoms! And that's okay too.
Anyway! Grab yourself a cuppa and let's get into it...
Ultra Processed Foods: what about it?
First up, what am I talking about when I mention 'ultra processed foods' and why is it so bad in perimenopause?
When I talk about ultra processed food, I'm talking junk foods like
- Prepared desserts like biscuits/cakes
- Fast foods
- Frozen meals
- Cured meats and
- Soft drinks.
These foods are heavily processed loaded with added sugar (high doses of fructose), salt, not-good fats (like processed vegetable oils), artificial colours, preservatives, flavours and stabilisers to make them hyper palatable.
These types of foods contain little to no vitamins and nutrients needed for your good vital perimenopausal health.
Another key factor, particularly for perimenopausal women, is that ultra processed foods can also contain Omega 6 oils (derived from vegetable oils) which are very inflammatory.
Remember, as we go through peri, our bodies are already in a pro-inflammatory state which can exacerbate our perimenopause symptoms. We definitely don't want to be throwing any fuel on that fire!
What we do need is more anti-inflammatory Omega 3 foods which can be found in:
- Organic eggs
- Grass-fed meats
- Nuts and seeds.
Ultra processed foods are also depleted of fibre which we need to nurture a healthy microbiome. Fibre is another really important factor for peri women because the decline in oestrogen can impair the integrity of our microbiome health.
What foods are triggering my hot flashes?
Hot flashes (or hot flushes) are a common perimenopause/menopausal symptom that affects 75% of women and they can be triggered by certain foods and drinks: the most common is spicy foods and alcohol.
The best way to figure out if you are triggered by certain foods or drinks is to start a symptom diary and note what you have consumed before you experience a hot flash.
You will most likely start to see a pattern.
A great article about hot flashes here.
Have I got food intolerances?
Have you hit 45 years and find that gluten and dairy are just not agreeing with you like they used to?
That is totally normal for a lot of peri women.
As oestrogen declines, so does our gut integrity. So it's an important time to look after our gut health.
Food intolerances will manifest as the following symptoms:
- Joint pain
- Digestive bloating and
- Food cravings.
Nutritional tips to help nurture your gut:
- Reduce alcohol - it can damage your microbiome (and upset your sleep)
- Reduce sugar - feeds your bad gut bacteria
- Avoid ultra-processed foods as it starves your good gut bacteria
- Eat collagen based foods like bone broth and our Peri Chai Latte - helps repair your gut lining
- Eat prebiotics foods - they contain compounds that feed your good bacteria
- Eat probiotic foods - they are foods that contain good gut bacteria like yoghurt (if you can tolerate dairy) and fermented foods
- Take a probiotic and prebiotic supplement.
Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?
To find out more about the best nutrition for perimenopause, go here.
As with all things food, it’s important to find what's right for YOU. Beautiful, unique YOU.