11 Mar MENOPAUSE MENU: Rainbow plate
Add color to your diet to boost health benefits
My “MENOPAUSE MENU” series is dedicated to exploring foods that can be easily assimilated into your diet and that have health benefits specific to menopause and aging. Today’s Menopause Menu is all about how you can reap loads of health benefits by adding color to your plate.
Increased inflammation in the body is correlated to an increased risk for a variety of conditions such as heart disease, depression, obesity, cancer, cognitive decline, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s Disease. During menopause, the decline in estrogen is believed to contribute to an increase in inflammation, which increases health risks for menopausal and post-menopausal women. Studies show a strong link between loss of estrogen, inflammation, and cognitive decline.
So what can you do? Reducing chronic inflammation can be challenging but there are small adjustments you can make to modulate inflammation as much as possible. Find ways to manage stress. Stress induces inflammation and exacerbates existing chronic inflammation. One additional and probably easier adjustment that you can include in your everyday life is the addition of more color on your plate. Different pigments in foods have different benefits, many of them providing anti-inflammatory perks. One of the reasons is their anthocyanin content, which are natural plant pigments that give your fruits and veggies their red, blue, and purple color. Anthocyanins have demonstrated a wide range of health benefits. So next time you head to the grocery store, reach for the purple carrots and potatoes. A few examples of diets that have been shown to lower inflammation are the Mediterranean and the Paleolithic diet. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick to those. Start by making a few simple changes to your plate.
Here are a few ideas of foods with anti-inflammation superpowers:
Garlic, ginger, cinnamon, green tea, green leafy vegetables, berries, cherries, broccoli, avocados, turmeric, tomatoes, and olive oil.
Try out this super easy recipe I use all the time for oven-roasted veggies:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Combine tomatoes, mushrooms, purple asparagus, butternut squash, different colors of mini bell peppers, purple and orange carrots, and onion in a large bowl. Add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil and toss to cover.
- Place olive oil coated veggies on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Place into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.
- Serve immediately or save for leftovers. I tend to meal prep on the weekends and will eat these over the remainder of the week.
Make your plate look like a rainbow of fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices!
Stay curious, unafraid, and armed with knowledge!
– Dr. Maria Luque