Green Smoothies For Menopause

Green Smoothie For Menopause

Menopause is a fact of life for women as they get older. But for many women, the symptoms of menopause can be problematic. Additionally, post menopausal women have an increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.

So are their any green smoothie foods that can help older women maintain their health, and possibly alleviate symptoms of menopause?

Well, a lot of research is pointing to one particular green smoothie ingredient that shows some benefits – flaxseed!

Flax Seeds & Soy May Provide Relief From Some Menopause Symptoms

Flax seeds contain plant compounds known as phytoestrogens (particularly lignans), which can have estrogenic effects in humans. While not a substitute for human-produced estrogen (estradiol) or estrogen replacement therapy, research suggests that a diet rich in flaxseed (and isoflavone-rich soy) may reduce symptoms associated with menopause including hot flashes.

A 1997 article in the Journal of The North American Menopause Society published the results of a study where 147 women were fed a phyoestrogen-rich diet for twelve weeks. Seventy-eight of these women consumed one fourth of their daily caloric intake from foods containing phytoestrogens such as soy foods and flaxseeds.

After 12 weeks, the women with the highest blood serum levels of phytoestrogens experienced reduced or less severe vaginal dryness and hot flashes, both common complaints among menopausal women. 1

While this study appears promising, additional research studies have yielded contradictory results. While some women seem to benefit from consuming flax seed, soy, and other phytoestrogen-rich foods, others do not.

Flaxseed And Soy May Not Work For Every Woman

One of the reasons may be due to a woman’s ability to produce a chemical compound called S-equol. S-equol is produced by intestinal bacteria after ingestion of soy isoflavones, a phytoestrogen compound found in soybeans and soy foods.

While S-equol may provide beneficial effects against menopausal symptoms, not all women produce it. 2

Several studies indicate that only 25-30 percent of women in Western countries produce S-equol after consuming soybased foods containing isoflavones. 3,4 Women from Japan, China, and Korea are reported to have a higher (50-60%) likelihood of producing S-equol. 5,6

An article published in the International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in 2008 indicated that there was improvement in menopausal symptoms among women capable of producing S-equol after supplementing their diet with isoflavones.

The researchers found that “the scores for hot flashes and excessive sweating were significantly reduced after three months, and the scores for weakness, palpitations, limb paresthesia, and total symptoms after six months, in the EP [Equol-Producing] group only”.7

Increased Need For Dietary Calcium

Menopausal and post-menopausal women have a higher need for calcium than younger women – 1200 milligrams per day versus 1000 milligrams per day that is recommended for pre-menopausal women. 8

Therefore, it is important for older women to eat more calcium-rich foods, get adequate vitamin D intake, and perform bone-strengthening exercises such as lifting weights.

Green Smoothie Foods For Menopause

Flax seeds are worth a try, as the lignans may provide some benefit toward certain symptoms of menopause. You can add flax seeds to smoothies by grinding whole seeds in a coffee grinder before adding them to your blender. Flaxseed oil may contain much lower levels of lignans than whole flax seeds.

Organic soymilk might provide some benefit and relief from menopause symptoms in women who are able to produce S-equol after consumption of soy isoflavones. Organic soymilk can be used as a liquid in just about any green smoothie recipe.

Calcium-rich foods that may help increase daily calcium intake to the recommended 1200 milligrams per day include dark leafy greens – particularly dandelion and kale. Calcium-rich fruits include figs, papayas, and oranges.

Flax and chia seeds also add calcium, as well as calcium-fortified plant milks such as almond milk, coconut milk, and hemp milk.

Moringa powder is a rich source of calcium, and makes an excellent mineral-boosting supplement in a green smoothie. (Read more about Moringa here.)

5 Green Smoothie Recipes For Menopause

To make the recipes on this page, add the ingredients to the blender in the order listed. Then blend on high for 30-60 seconds until smooth.

1) Coconut-Citrus Calcium-Rich Green Smoothie

  • 8 ounces unsweetened coconut milk (carton beverage, not canned)
  • 1 medium banana, peeled
  • 2 oranges, peeled and deseeded
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground
  • 2 cups kale, chopped

2) Peach-Orange Green Smoothie

  • 8 ounces unsweetened, organic soymilk
  • 2 medium peaches, pitted
  • 1 orange, peeled and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground
  • 3 large Swiss chard leaves
  • 1/4 large avocado

3) Banana-Veggie Green Smoothie

  • 8 ounces unsweetened, organic soy milk
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 baby cucumber (or 1/2 medium cucumber)
  • 1/4 large avocado
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds, ground
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach

4) Kiwi-Grapefruit Green Smoothie Recipe

  • 8 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1/2 red grapefruit, peeled and deseeded
  • 1 kiwifruit, peeled
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach

Caution: Grapefruit will interfere with many prescription medications. If you are on prescriptions, check with your pharmacist. You can use orange instead of grapefruit.


5) Banana-Papaya-Blueberry Green Smoothie

  • 8 ounces almond milk
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 cup papaya, cubed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds, soaked for about 5 minutes

Sources:

1 – Brzesinski, A., Adlercreutz, H., Shaoul, R., Rosier, A., Shmueli, A., Tanos, V., Schenker, J.G. (1997). Short-term Effects of Phytoestrogen-rich Diet on Postmenopausal Women. The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, 4(2). doi:10.1136/thx.2006.069419.

2 – Setchell, KD; Clerici, C (2010). Equol: history, chemistry, and formation. The Journal of nutrition 140 (7): 1355S-62S. doi:10.3945/jn.109.119776.

3 – Atkinson, C., Frankenfeld, C.L., Lampe, J.W. (2005). Gut bacterial metabolism of the soy isoflavone daidzein: exploring the relevance to human health. Experimental Biology and Medicine, 230(3), 155–70. PMID 15734719.

4 – Lampe, J.W., Karr, S.C., Hutchins, A.M., Slavin, J.L. (1998). Urinary equol excretion with a soy challenge: influence of habitual diet. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, 217(3), 335–339. PMID 9492344.

5 – Arai, Y., Uehara, M., Sato, Y., Kimira, M., Eboshida, A., Adlercreutz, H., Watanabe, S. (2000). Comparison of isoflavones among dietary intake, plasma concentration and urinary excretion for accurate estimation of phytoestrogen intake. Journal of Epidemiology, 10(2), 127–135. PMID 10778038.

6 – Akaza, H., Miyanaga, N., Takashima, N., Naito, S., Hirao, Y., Tsukamoto, T., Fujioka, T., Mori, M., Kim, W.J., Song, J.M., Pantuck, A.J. (2004). Comparisons of percent equol producers between prostate cancer patients and controls: case-controlled studies of isoflavones in Japanese, Korean and American residents. Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology, 34(2), 86–89. doi:10.1093/jjco/hyh015.

7 – Jou, H.J., Wu, S.C., Chang, F.W., Ling, P.Y., Chu, K.S., Wu, W.H. (2008). Effect of intestinal production of equol on menopausal symptoms in women treated with soy isoflavones. Int J Gynaecol Obstet, 102(1), 44-9. PMID: 18395723

8 – Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Calcium. (National Institute of Health)


Tracy Russell: Creator of BLEND! A 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse

Hi! I'm Tracy - green smoothie addict since 2008 and creator of BLEND: A 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse.

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