Go nuts for nuts! These superfoods are packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes and other vexing menopausal symptoms. Nuts are nutritionally satisfying and can help you shed those frustrating postmenopausal pounds. They also offer protection from the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, which rises during your menopausal years.
1. Almonds are rich in vitamin E. The skin of almonds contains 20 different flavonoids, including catechin (also found in green tea) and naringenin (also found in grapefruit). These flavonoids combine with vitamin E in the meal of the almond to double the antioxidant power and help reduce hot flashes and other frustrating menopausal symptoms. One-quarter cup of almonds contains almost 45% of your Daily Value (DV) for vitamin E.
Vitamin E has also been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease through its ability to rein in the damaging effects of oxidative stress on the body. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that eating almond skins boosted the antioxidant levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol by 18%; but that figure nearly tripled — to an astounding 52% — when whole almonds were consumed. Whole almonds, therefore, are powerful antioxidants and play a crucial role in improving your LDL cholesterol profile.
2. Cashews have mighty powerful magnesium. Magnesium is a potent mineral for menopausal women. When combined with calcium, magnesium can reduce symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings and insomnia. These frustrating symptoms often begin with the onset of perimenopause and last through menopause. Magnesium helps blood flow more easily. Deficiencies can damage your heart, paving the way for disease. Almonds and cashews have high magnesium content. One-quarter cup of cashews is all that is necessary to meet almost 25% of your DV for magnesium.
3. Choose nuts for bone-boosting boron. Most produce contains this beneficial mineral because it’s derived from soil. Boron is thought to boost the body’s ability to retain and use estrogen, as well as decrease its loss of calcium, protecting bones from osteoporosis, a weakened bone condition that becomes a serious health risk during menopause. To increase your boron intake even further, add raisins to your daily serving of nuts.
4. Go nuts to control your weight. Just a handful or two of nuts, eaten as part of a calorie-controlled diet, can give you the nutrition you need while helping reduce the weight gain and belly fat caused by menopause.
5. Go natural with nuts. The purer the nut, the better it is for you. Eating nuts that have been salted or sweetened can erase the health benefits of eating the real thing. Choose dry roasted, or better still, organic and raw, whenever possible.
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