Copyright excerpts from Gabriele Kushi's book Embracing Menopause Naturally
Heart disease is the number one cause of death among postmenopausal women in the US. This probably has little correlation to menopause and is more a result of the aging process. However, there are a number of things that women can do to decrease the likelihood of developing heart disease. The most important ones are regular physical activity, a heart-healthy diet, and not smoking.
To choose a diet that promotes heart health, one should emphasize plant-based foods. Whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes should be the mainstays of the diet.
Animal foods, especially those high in saturated fats and cholesterol, should be minimized or avoided. One should also avoid foods with trans fatty acids. Almost all trans fatty acids are created in commercial food processing through hydrogenation. Hydrogenation transforms vegetable oils into fats that are more stable and thus prolong the shelf life of foods. However, trans fatty acids are known to dramatically increase the risk of heart disease. It is easy to avoid trans fatty acids by reading food labels. Any product that contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils or fats will also contain trans fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have a positive effect on preventing cardiovascular disease and maintaining cardiovascular health. These fats are not only important for heart health, but for every cell in the body. People deficient in omega-3 fatty acids may experience fatigue, dry skin, cracked nails, thin and breakable hair, constipation, immune system malfunction, aching joints, depression, arthritis, and hormonal imbalances. Many of these symptoms are often associated with midlife and menopause.
These fatty acids are found in flaxseed and fatty fish such as salmon, albacore, herring, and mackerel. Cod liver oil, egg yolk, and algae are other possible sources. Flaxseed oil, with its composition of 57-percent omega-3 fatty acids, served cold with a dressing over salads, is a palatable choice. Another choice is 1/4 cup of ground flaxseed three to seven days a week. Grind your daily serving in a coffee grinder. Stir the flax meal into soups, beverages, cereals, or salads. The flax meal must be prepared fresh daily, due to its high rate of oxidation.
Copyright Gabriele Kushi with www.kushiskitchen.com
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