We know that what we eat during perimenopause greatly influences our health as we age. While plant-based diets are increasingly recognised as being a powerful instrument for disease prevention, it seems there may be extra benefits of a plant-based diet for women during perimenopause too.
Research shows that women who follow plant-based diets may have fewer symptoms during perimenopause and menopause.
Perimenopause is the years leading up to menopause. This stage of life can start as early as 35, and goes right up until your final period. As estrogen levels gradually decrease over this time, the associated symptoms (such as mood swings, weight gain, mood changes, hot flushes, insomnia, and night sweats, and more) get worse.
This is a problem because the years leading up to menopause, for most of us, are the busiest (and dare I say…the prime?) of our lives. We’re in the height of our careers, and often juggling the demands of young families, supporting aging parents, as well as general adulting and never-ending life admin. This is the time we need our energy levels to be at their peak!
It’s no wonder women in their late 30’s and 40’s often feel overwhelmed and depleted. But can following a plant-based diet during perimenopause help?
A plant-powered diet could be the answer
From the 754 women between the ages of 45 and 80 who completed the Menopause-specific Quality of Life survey in a 2015-16 study, vegans reported significantly less bothersome vasomotor and physical symptoms during perimenopause than omnivores. From this the authors concluded that plant-based diets may be a natural way for women to manage symptoms of menopause.
However, during these crucial years it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re getting enough of the essential nutrients – which can be harder if you’re 100% plant-based. Always talk to your doctor before changing your diet, and get support from an experienced plant-based dietitian who can help you tailor a diet plan especially for you.