Women drinking water leaning on a wall.
beauty

Managing menopause through mindful eating

How the right foods can help your skin during menopause.

A balanced diet, fresh, colourful fruits and vegetables grown in nutrient rich soil, and happy gut flora – eating a healthy diet during menopause supports women during this time of change. Nutritionist Dr. Jasmin Peschke offers tips.

A woman’s ability to create and nurture new life wanes during menopause. But this phase of life does not only bring loss: many women discover entirely new aspects about themselves. Are there certain foods that our body needs and benefits from during this time of change?

Dr. Jasmin Peschke: The female organism undergoes profound change during menopause. But women can support their own physical needs by eating a balanced diet based on fresh food – preferably organic or better, biodynamic. This means salads, fruits and vegetables, freshly cooked meals and a variety of aromas and flavours that stimulate the senses and give us joy. Fermented products – like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha – are also healthy and help regulate our gut bacteria and metabolism. Highly processed foods and pre-made convenience meals should definitely be kept to a minimum.

How can the foods we eat help our skin during this phase?

Dr. Jasmin Peschke: This life phase also offers great opportunity: As our outward energy wanes, our internal energy grows, which brings maturity.

Our skin reflects our inner self. When we are in harmony with our inner self – when we embrace our maturity and understand that our individuality expresses itself more clearly in exchange for our youthful vitality – then our skin will reflect this too, expressing our inner beauty on the outside.

It is important to create a good internal basis for skincare by eating a variety of tasty foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and dairy products. Maintaining a varied, high-fibre diet provides overall support to the gut microbiota.

Exercise, stress avoidance and meditation are also important for a healthy gut. When it comes to fats and oils, I recommend opting for high-quality vegetable oils, such as olive oil and other oils with unsaturated fatty acids. The Mediterranean diet or a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet are good options for those who want to follow an established diet.

Women working in the garden.

What’s important when grocery shopping and preparing meals?

Dr. Jasmin Peschke: A healthy diet of authentic, fresh foods stimulates our digestion and overall well-being. By “authentic”, I mean when a healthy green head of lettuce tastes like lettuce instead of nothing. Or when carrots are orange and aromatic and not only sweet. It’s like exercising: the activity makes us fit and strong, not resting on the sofa.

In other words, we should prefer a good mix of fresh, at least organic but preferably biodynamically grown products, buy seasonal produce, and prepare them gently to preserve as many nutrients as possible. Greasy frying should be the absolute exception.

How does the cultivation of our food affect our health?

Dr. Jasmin Peschke: As plants develop, they undergo processes of growth and maturation. Farming addresses the conditions in which plants grow, which are particularly observed in biodynamic cultivation, where crops are not simply given mineral fertilisers. Instead, biodynamic farming takes a holistic approach involving soil care and using natural fertilisers and other care measures that enable the plants to grow and mature.

Special biodynamic preparations support the decomposition of plant matter in compost, which fertilises the soil and activates soil fertility. Meanwhile, biodynamic sprays such as horn manure and horn silica help maintain the balance between soil health and the plants’ healthy development.

Cups with tea and glasses of water on wooden floorboards.
Woman eating an apple in a field.
Fruits and vegetables in a crate.

In the new Weleda Contouring Face Care, blue gentian, with its lovely, bright blue flowers plays an important role. How does a food’s colour affect its nutritional benefits?

Dr. Jasmin Peschke: Of course, colour plays an important role. Colour and flavour work together to liven up the meal and create a feast for the senses. Colours stimulate our pleasure and curiosity.

Plants develop their colour as they mature – this process is similar to the one that occurs during menopause. Colours are secondary plant compounds that are known to be healthy. Incidentally, organically grown vegetables have been shown to contain more secondary substances than conventionally grown vegetables.

Colours indicate the typical characteristics of a vegetable or fruit. With apples, for example, colour is one way we can recognise the variety.

Conversely, we might wonder why many foods are artificially coloured with dye. This is often done because the colour is expected to convey a message of authenticity. However, it can mask the product’s genuine quality. For example, some “strawberry yoghurt” contains no actual strawberry but rather artificial flavouring and colour – in the best case using naturally derived colours or colouring foodstuffs.

women having a picknick

What important advice would you give to women going through menopause?

Dr. Jasmin Peschke: Become your own nutrition expert. Explore what is good for you. Respond to your individual needs instead of following strict dietary rules. You can cultivate a healthy diet through methods such as mindful eating, intuitive eating, or asking yourself three mealtime questions (see info box). In practising this simple daily ritual, we can cultivate our relationship with ourselves, which is also an important prerequisite for nurturing relationships with others.

Happiness researcher Ha Vinh Tho defines happiness as nurturing a relationship on three levels: with oneself, with one’s social environment, and with nature and the whole Earth. In nutrition, we can optimally cultivate these three dimensions, and in doing so, we can cultivate happiness. We can be mindful of what we eat, what we need, and what is good for us. We can practise a sense of community by sharing enjoyable meals. We can be interested in the origin of our food and how its cultivation contributes to the Earth’s healthy future.

Three mealtime questions

A daily ritual for mindful nutrition. At each meal, take a moment to consider the following questions.
 

  1. Before the meal: What do I have on my plate?
  2. During the meal: How does it taste?
  3. After the meal: How is my digestion – how does my body react to what I have eaten?

     
hands close up

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Dr. Jasmin Peschke

Dr. Jasmin Peschke

Nutritionist

Dr. Jasmin Peschke holds a PhD in ecotrophology and has been addressing food quality and natural products for 30 years – in cultivation, processing, in the laboratory and in nutrition. Since 2016, she has been head of nutrition in the Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. She wants to encourage people to maintain their own self-determined diet and, in doing so, contribute to a healthy future. Her book “Vom Acker auf den Teller. Was Lebensmittel wirklich gesund macht” (From the Field to the Plate: What Food Really Makes Healthy) was published by AT Verlag in 2021.