5 Nutrition Tips that Will Support Your Heart Health in Menopause
October is Menopause Awareness Month and this year's theme is all about cardiovascular health. Given that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women (not breast cancer) I wanted to share 5 nutrition tips that can help keep your heart healthy in menopause and beyond. As I mentioned on Instagram last week, there are a few things that add to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease after menopause including a 10-15% increase in cholesterol along with becoming more salt-sensitive, which can impact our blood pressure.
I'm often asked what my opinion is of the Mediterranean diet for menopause, or the anti-inflammatory diet for menopause. I think that both have research to support a pattern of eating that may help to support overall health, including heart health. But I don't think we need to pick one "diet" as best! Instead, let's focus on using gentle nutrition to enjoy some of the health-promoting foods more often.
Regardless of how you manage the symptoms of menopause, your heart will thank you for keeping these suggestions in mind.
1. Whole-grains, including oats are definitely good for your heart
It probably comes as no surprise that I've put oats and whole grains at the top of this list! But it's well-deserved! Whole grains are not only satisfying but usually higher in fiber, one of the key ingredients in any menu that supports your heart.
Recipe: If you don't love hot oatmeal, try baked oatmeal such as this Baked Banana & Chocolate Chip Oatmeal
2. Foods rich in omega-3 fats are a win-win
Fish ticks two gentle nutrition boxes - protein and omega-3 fats. Add-in 2-3 servings a week of cold water fatty fish including salmon, mackerel, herring or sardines.
Recipe: If you're not a fan of the texture of fish, try Sweet Potato Salmon Cakes.
3. Soy foods do more than just help hot flashes
The research is clear - soy foods, including tofu and edamame, are great for your heart health. Even if you're not having hot flashes, adding them to your midlife menu is a no-brainer.
Recipe: Don't love tofu? No problem, here's a Soba Noodle Salad for you that uses edamame beans.
4. Potassium deserves a spot on the menu
As potassium intake goes up, blood pressure goes down. Even if you're watching your salt intake, make sure to include potassium-rich foods more often! Aside from bananas, you'll find potassium in many foods including avocados and spinach.
Recipe: This white White Bean & Pesto Dip make a great snack.
5. Eating with others is good for your heart
It may not come as a surprise that spending time with others is good for you, but many countries have now made eating with others an official recommendation for your overall health and heart health. Food is meant to be enjoyed.
Recipe: This Tortilla Soup is great for crowds. Make a batch and invite a few friends over for a meal!
I hope these menopause nutrition tips make menopause feel easier. If you give any of them a try, let me know!
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