One of the big changes (of many!) we experience in perimenopause is in our metabolism. Read on to find out how perimenopause affects metabolism and which foods, from a naturopathic and whole foods perspective, can help keep you feeling vibrant and energetic.

Understanding Perimenopause and Metabolism

Let's do a quick back-to-basics recap: what exactly is perimenopause? 

Perimenopause represents the years leading up to menopause (menopause = a point in time marked by no period for 12 months), typically starting in your 40s but sometimes sneaking in a bit earlier. During this time, your hormone levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, start to fluctuate. These fluctuations can cause a variety of symptoms, including changes in your metabolism.

So, how does perimenopause mess with our metabolism? In a nutshell, the hormonal rollercoaster can slow it down. Estrogen, which plays a role in regulating fat storage and energy expenditure, starts to wane. Lower estrogen levels can lead to an increase in insulin resistance, making it easier to gain weight, especially around the abdomen. Muscle mass also tends to decrease with age, which further slows down your metabolism since muscle burns more calories than fat.

But! Though it can all feel a little despairing there are are things we can each do. Nutritious food can help support your metabolism and overall well-being during perimenopause. Let’s dive into some whole foods that can make a big difference.

Whole Foods to Support Your Perimenopausal Metabolism

  1. Leafy Greens 
    • Think spinach, kale, and Swiss chard. These greens are packed with fibre, which helps keep you feeling full and aids in digestion. They’re also rich in magnesium, a mineral that helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels.

  2. Berries 
    • Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are not only delicious but also high in antioxidants and fibre. They help fight inflammation and keep your blood sugar levels stable, which is key for maintaining a healthy metabolism.

  3. Nuts and Seeds 
    • Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are fantastic sources of healthy fats, protein, and fibre. They help keep your blood sugar stable and provide essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your heart and hormone health.

  4. Lean Proteins 
    • Incorporate sources like chicken, turkey, tofu, and legumes into your diet. Protein is crucial for maintaining muscle mass, which in turn supports a healthy metabolism. Aim to include protein in every meal to keep your energy levels steady throughout the day.

  5. Whole Grains 
    • Oats, quinoa, brown rice, and barley are excellent choices. They’re high in fibre, which helps regulate your blood sugar and keeps you feeling satisfied longer. Whole grains also provide important vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, which are essential for energy production.

  6. Fermented Foods 
    • Foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi are rich in probiotics, which support a healthy gut microbiome. A balanced gut is essential for good digestion and can even influence your mood and energy levels.

  7. Healthy Fats 
    • Avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon are wonderful sources of healthy fats. These fats are crucial for hormone production and can help reduce inflammation in the body.

  8. Green Tea 
    • Green tea is packed with antioxidants and has been shown to boost metabolism. Enjoy a cup or two a day for a gentle caffeine boost and a metabolism kick.

The Ideal Plate in Perimenopause

When it comes to putting these foods into practise, think balance and variety. A typical perimenopausal-friendly meal might look like this:

  • Breakfast: A smoothie made with spinach, berries, a scoop Peri Protein POWder, a tablespoon of chia seeds, and almond or soy milk.

  • Lunch: A big salad with mixed greens, grilled chicken, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.

  • Snack: A small handful of almonds and a Peri Chai Latte loaded with Magnesium and Collagen to help support you through Perimenopause.

  • Dinner: Baked salmon with a side of quinoa and steamed broccoli.

  • Dessert: A bowl of Greek yogurt topped with a few raspberries and a drizzle of honey.

  • Sleepy Night time cuppa (2 hours before bed): Peri Hot Choccy loaded with Magnesium and Hops to support you having a great night's sleep.

Lifestyle Tips for Boosting Metabolism in Perimenopause

Aside from eating the right foods, there are other lifestyle tweaks that can help keep your metabolism humming along during perimenopause:

  • Stay Active: Regular exercise, especially strength training, can help maintain muscle mass and boost your metabolism.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is crucial for good metabolism and overall health.
  • Get Enough Sleep: Poor sleep can wreak havoc on your metabolism and hormone levels. Go here to read how to Improve Your Sleep through Perimenopause.
  • Manage Stress: Chronic stress can lead to hormonal imbalances and weight gain, so make time for relaxation and self-care.

Embrace the Perimenopause Journey

Oh boy, easier said than done we know!  But, perimenopause is a natural phase of life, and while it comes with its challenges, it’s also an opportunity to tune into your body and take great care of yourself. By nourishing your body with whole foods and making mindful lifestyle choices, there is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and even thrive through these years.  

Remember too, we're all unique, so listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have any concerns or health conditions.

Happy eating all the (whole food) things and feeling the whole SheBANG! again through perimenopause and beyond.

SheBANG!'s Adaptogenic Protein Blends help support a healthy metabolism through perimenopause - just one serve needed a day!
July 04, 2024 — Angela Greely

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