All women have to go through menopause at some point in their lives. The unpleasant symptoms can make life difficult, but there are ways to deal with some of the worst side effects of menopause simply through your diet.
Increasing your intake of EFAs, (or essential fatty acids) is easy. Not only will you experience less severe menopausal symptoms, but the EFAs offer many other health benefits as well.
What Are EFAs?
Essential fatty acids are so named because your body cannot produce them naturally. The only way to get them is through your diet.
Your body cannot synthesize linolenic (omega-6) and linoleic acids (omega-3) that are critical to the normal functioning of all the tissues of the body. Without sufficient EFAs, you are at an increased risk for:
- Liver and kidney abnormalities
- Dry Skin
- Decreased immune function
However, when you get adequate amounts of omega-3s and omega-6s, you have a decreased risk of:
- Heart disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Menstrual pain
- Breast cancer
EFAs have been found to greatly help reduce the most troublesome menopausal symptoms like:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal, hair and skin dryness
- Mood swings and depression
A study conducted by Italian scientist back in 2005 noted that women who ate a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids reported a “progressively and highly significant reduction” in hot flashes. They concluded that this could be a result of the influence omega-3s have on nerve cell membranes, helping to reduce their sensitivity to hormonal fluctuations.
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It has long been known that having an adequate intake of EFAs helps balance hormones, increase immune function, improve cardiovascular health and promote healthier skin and hair.
What you may not realize is that omega-3 fatty acid EPA helps the body produce adequate levels of serotonin, the “happy” neurotransmitter that greatly affects our moods. Depression and mood swings often accompany the hormonal changes you will be experiencing making EFAs an essential part of your menopause diet.
DHA is a natural brain booster. It keeps nerve cell membranes in the brain healthy, which means better cognitive function, and less memory loss.
The Menopause Diet
By incorporating foods rich in essential fatty acids into your diet, you can greatly reduce unpleasant menopausal symptoms and improve your health overall. It is essential that you get the right combination of omega-3s and omega-6s in your diet and that can take some research and planning. Omega-6 fatty acids compete with omega-3s for use in the body, so getting the right ratio of each is important.
DHA (omega-6) is found in animal foods like beef and pork and corn oils. These are generally plentiful in our diets and most Americans eat too many omega-6 foods when they should be eating foods with more omega-3 fatty acids like.
- Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
- Canola, soybean, walnut oils
Trying to get your EFAs in supplement form is not the most efficient way to up your intake of them. Besides the nasty fish tasting burps many pills cause, the fish oil molecules are highly unstable and can quickly decompose and release cell damaging free radicals.
Omega-3s for Everybody
Whether you are going through menopause or not, eating more food rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA just makes good sense.
You will look better, feel better and be more prepared to handle the hormonal changes when you eat more foods with omega 3 for menopause relief.