Menopause is a natural stage in life that occurs when hormone levels drop, causing periods to stop.

It typically affects women and people with uteruses between the ages of 45 and 55, however, it can happen earlier.

Classic symptoms include things such as brain fog, hot flushes and mood swings.

While there are treatments out there to help tackle the side effects, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), some experts say there are lifestyle tweaks we can make ourselves to help support our bodies through menopause.

According to medical scientist and nutritionist Dr Frederica Amati, and chef and food writer Jane Baxter, adapting your diet is one such effective lifestyle change.

In their book, ‘Recipes for a Better Menopause’ the pair joined forces to provide a range of menopause-friendly meals.

They explain: “Understanding how and why our changing bodies react to food differently as we go through menopause is the first step in being able to improve the journey.

“Now we’ve seen how our microbiome changes, how oestrogen levels can impact our food choices, how our bodies changed the way they store fat and how our mental health changes during menopause.

“We also know that after menopause we are at a higher risk of certain diseases, but that these risks can be mitigated by diet and we can use this pivotal point in our lives to focus on ourselves, our health and our longevity.

“A recent review concluded that over 50 percent of women seek complementary solutions to managing menopausal symptoms.

“HRT is not for everyone and it’s not a magic bullet so thinking holistically is really important.

“With one out of three women currently estimated to be perimenopausal or postmenopausal or right now it makes sense to highlight the practical effective changes we can make.”

As part of the book they listed foods you should “always” eat and those you should eat “regularly”.

The former includes:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kale and cavolo nero
  • Barley, buckwheat and spelt
  • Berries
  • Fermented foods
  • Spices and herbs
  • Avocado
  • Rocket
  • Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuts seeds
  • Chickpeas, lentils and beans
  • Dark fruit like plums
  • Broccoli and cauliflower
  • Cabbage peas and other frozen veg
  • Coffee or green tea
  • Gram flour wraps
  • All whole vegetables.

Foods you should regularly consume include:

  • Tofu
  • Edamame
  • Salmon, trout and mackerel
  • A glass of red wine
  • Apples pears
  • Eggs
  • Natural yoghurt
  • Dark chocolate
  • Kombucha
  • Sweet potato and white potato
  • Nut butters
  • Chicken
  • Spelt pasta
  • All whole fruits.

They shared one specific recipe, filled with herbs and spices that should help keep you warm on a chilly winter evening.

To make their Southeast Asian chicken soup that serves six you need:

  • One tablespoon coconut oil
  • Two lemongrass stalks, chopped
  • Three shallots, chopped
  • Six lime leaves
  • 100g soba noodles
  • 250ml coconut water
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 150g pak choi
  • 150g broccoli florets
  • 250g cooked chicken, shredded
  • Juice of one lime
  • One small bunch of Thai basil, leaves picked
  • Fresh coriander to garnish.

And for the paste you need:

  • A two centimetre piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • One red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • Two garlic cloves, crushed
  • Zest of one lime
  • One teaspoon ground turmeric
  • One tablespoon chopped coriander stalks
  • Six spring onions, chopped
  • 50g creamed coconut, grated.

The recipe is as follows:

  1. To make the paste, place all the ingredients In a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth paste.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan and add the lemon grass and shallots. Cook gently for five minutes, then add the paste along with the lime leaves. Cook for five minutes over a low heat until fragrant.
  3. Cook the soba noodles in lots of boiling salted water as per the packet instructions. Drain and refresh with running cold water.
  4. Add the coconut water and stock to the paste. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for five minutes, whisking well. Add the vegetables and chicken. Simmer for five minutes until the vegetables are cooked, then stir through the cooked noodles.
  5. Season and add a squeeze of lime juice, the basil leaves and coriander.