Can You Control Weight Gain in Menopause With Supplements?
During menopause your body slows down production of estrogen and other sex hormones, which could cause you to gain weight. You may be able to prevent some of this weight gain by adding estrogen-mimicking herbal supplements to your diet, essentially convincing your body that it is still producing enough estrogen. Plant sources of herbal supplements to control weight gain during menopause are generally safe when taken in reasonable doses, and they offer many nutritional benefits, too. These phytoestrogen compounds (lignans and isoflavones) are found in many fruits and vegetables, but some are better sources than others.
Take cayenne pepper, ginseng or blue-green algae (spirulina) supplements. These herbal supplements step up your metabolism, burning off more calories without your needing to change your current exercise routine.
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Add black tea or green tea to your daily diet. Supplements which provide large doses of the phytoestrogen compounds found in tea are easy to take. You would need to drink five to 10 cups of tea per day to get the same effect, so supplements work better to help you control your weight gain during menopause.
Add freshly ground flax seed to your daily diet. According to Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism, flax seed has the highest amount of phytoestrogen of all the plant sources tested. You should consume 1/8 to 3/8 of a cup each day, according to GoldenFlax.com. Sprinkle it on yogurt, cereal or salads, and add it to breads and pancakes. Flax oil supplements do not contain the same amount of lignans.
Eat one serving or more of strawberries, cranberries or blueberries every day. These nutrition-packed foods are also high in phytoestrogens and lignans, offering you the protection of estrogen-mimicking compounds in every serving.
One benefit of using estrogen-mimicking herbs, foods and supplements during menopause is the lowered risk of breast cancer, according to Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism. Not only will you control menopausal weight gain, but you will reduce your cancer risk. Cayenne pepper supplements may irritate your digestive system, so do not take it every day. Ginseng is a stimulant, so do not take it late in the evening or you will have trouble sleeping.
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- Mayo Clinic: Weight Gain During Menopause
- Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism Journal: Phytoestrogens
- GoldenFlax.com: Flax Seed FAQ
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Jamie Simpson is a researcher and journalist based in Indianapolis with more than 10 years of professional writing experience. She earned her B.S. in animal science from Purdue University and her Master of Public Affairs in public management from Indiana University. Simpson also works as a massage therapist and equine sports massage therapist.