In Suzanne Somers' new book, "I'm Too Young for This! The Natural Hormone Solution to Enjoy Perimenopause," she encourages her readers to be smart about their food choices.
"It's important to know the jam-packed power of certain foods that will not only protect you from a myriad of health issues, but also will help you with hormone balance," Somers writes. "Ideally, your food choices should be organic and pesticide free. Beef should be organic and grass-fed; fish should be wild not farm raised. It is difficult to get organic food at most restaurants, so when possible eat at home. When not, do your best."
Take a look at Somers' top 21 Perimenopausal Power Foods:
Almonds (raw, unsalted )
Almonds are a great source of protein, fiber and minerals, including:
Calcium and magnesium- Calcium keeps bones strong and promotes bone growth. Magnesium works in concert with calcium for bone growth and is a calming mineral needed by perimenopausal women. It is also good for assisting with constipation.
Iron- This mineral is necessary for transporting the active and usable form of thyroid, T3.
Potassium- Circulatory deficits happen with age and declining hormones; potassium ameliorates this by helping to support blood vessel health and reduce the risk of high blood pressure. A potassium-rich diet will prevent leg cramps and other muscle spasms. This is because of the role that potassium plays with muscle contraction and nerve impulses all over the body, including the heart.
Zinc- Research indicates that zinc helps balance female hormones, helps prevent PMS, and helps prevent acne.
Almonds are also high in vitamin E and unsaturated fats, keeping arteries supple. With the decline of minor hormones, cortisol goes high and is one of the main reasons women get (and die of) heart disease; almonds play a role in preventing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
All types of apples contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which in turn lowers the risk of damage to your arteries. An apple's pectin is effective in lowering levels of blood cholesterol.
This fruit may prevent breast cancer as well as prostate cancer.
Beans are loaded with complex carbohydrates, as well as calcium, iron, folic acid, B vitamins, zinc, potassium and magnesium. They contain large amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol and normalize blood sugar.
Beets contain high levels of carotenoids and flavonoids, which are known to protect artery walls as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, they contain iron and also boost bone health, due to their calcium content, thus reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Berries are a great source of antioxidants that keep your brain and heart healthier. Blueberries also contain pterostilbene, which is effective in reducing bad LDL cholesterol.
This vegetable contains two powerful anticancer substances: sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. Sulforaphane destroys ingested carcinogenic compounds and kills H.pylori (Helicobacter pylori) , a bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and increases the risk of gastric cancers. (If you eat in restaurants and consume nonorganic chicken, it's likely at some point you will pick up H. pylori.) Indole-3-carbinol metabolizes estrogen, potentially protecting against estrogen dominance and breast cancer. It also has a good amount of potassium and beta-carotene.
High in fiber, vitamin A and minerals, cabbage stimulates the immune system, kills bacteria and viruses, inhibits growth of cancerous cells, protects against tumors, helps control estrogen levels and promotes balance, improves blood flow and boosts sex drive. It speeds up the metabolism of estrogen toward a "good" metabolite and slows the production of a bad one, reducing the risk of breast cancer, and inhibits the growth of polyps in the colon; cabbage also protects against stomach ulcers.
Eggs are a good source of selenium, riboflavin, vitamin BIZ' pantothenic acid and vitamin D, and are rich in lutein and zeaxan thin (both offer protection for the eyes, which were not meant by nature to last beyond our childbearing years). Eggs are also a great source of choline, a neurotransmitter critical for brain health and a good source of natural progesterone.
This power food increases the number of ovulatory cycles in perimenopausal women and increases testosterone at the time of ovulation. Regular consumption of flaxseed improves the progesterone/estrogen ratio in postovulatory women and helps with PMS. Flaxseed is also an excellent source of essential omega-3 fatty acids. Freshly ground flaxseed releases more nutrients than whole flaxseed.
This yummy bulb is an excellent cancer fighter, protecting against cancers of the breast, colon, skin, prostate, stomach and esophagus. Garlic stimulates the immune system by encouraging the growth of natural killer cells that directly attack cancer cells. Also, it has the ability to kill many of the antibiotic-resistant strains of MRSA (the hospital superbug).
Lean meats (organic, of course, and grass-fed whenever possible) are an excellent source of protein. Meat also provides needed iron, B12 and zinc. Bison meat is often overlooked as an example of a healthier meat, because bison live on natural grass and spend very little time in feedlots or slaughterhouses. As such, they are not given drugs, chemicals or hormones. Bison meat has a greater concentration of iron than any other meat, as well as some essential fatty acids. Of particular importance to women is its high iron content.
Nuts and seeds provide excellent nutritional value. They are especially good sources of essential fatty acids, gamma tocopherol, vitamin E, protein and minerals. They also provide valuable fiber components; important phytonutrients in nuts and seeds include protease inhibitors, ellagic acid and other polyphenols.
Regular consumption of this omega-3-rich oil helps protect against heart attacks, because of its unique polyphenol and monounsaturated fatty-acid content. Polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil help keep cell membranes soft and pliable, allowing for oxygenation and hydration, the elements of life, to flow through the membranes easily and thus give energy and vitality.
Oranges contain high quantities of hesperetin, which protects against inflammation. Eating these regularly can lower cholesterol because of the fiber/pectin. They are a good source of potassium, which reduces blood pressure, as well as folic acid, which lowers levels of homocysteine (high levels of this substance in the body are not good for the heart).
This is one of the top 50 foods with the highest antioxidant content. Antioxidants have been found to help protect cells from the damage of free radicals, which can break down muscles, increase aging effects and, as a result, lead to cancers and other chronic diseases.
These sea gifts are full of healthful vitamins and minerals. Oysters are a great source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and D, and are also high in iron, calcium, magnesium and other minerals. Many other shellfish are also excellent sources of iron and zinc - mussels, clams, scallops, shrimp, prawns and crab. Shellfish are one of the best dietary sources of zinc, a mineral necessary for keeping your immune system healthy and promoting the healing of wounds. The highest levels of zinc can be found in oysters.
This power food is full of protein, fiber, artery-protecting beta-carotene, blood pressure-controlling potassium, and antioxidants.
Black, green and now white teas are hailed for their anti-oxidant properties. The polyphenols in green tea are powerful antioxidants and protect against free-radical damage, which is a major cause of arterial aging. Green tea may inhibit breast, digestive and lung cancers as well.
Cooked tomatoes contain high levels of lycopene, a nutrient that reduces the risk of prostate, lung and stomach cancers. Tomatoes contain potassium, vitamin C and lycopene; each is essential to your immune system and to keep your skin healthy.
This fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating omega-3 rich salmon regularly may help protect against heart disease, breast and other cancers, as well as provide relief to sufferers of certain autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Its omega-3s are great for mood and also protect the brain, and are essential for the membranes of every one of your 6o to 90 trillion or so cells in your body.
Taken from I'M TOO YOUNG FOR THIS! Copyright ©2013 by Suzanne Somers. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group.