Sweet Potatoes Help Tame Menopausal Hot Flashes, Mood Swings & Vaginal Dryness

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First for Women

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“Sweet potatoes’ antioxidant content really makes them stand out,” says certified nutritionist and celebrity chef Serena Poon. “Orange sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, a carotenoid and potent antioxidant that your body transforms into vitamin A.”

Sweet potato reduces vaginal dryness

They contain phytoestrogens, natural plant compounds that act as estrogen in the body. “Phytoestrogens, like those found in sweet potatoes, have been shown to reduce menopause symptoms such as vaginal dryness and hot flashes,” Poon notes. “And they may be a safer protocol than hormone replacement therapy (HRT), since they do not carry the same risk for breast cancer and blood clots.” (Click through for more natural remedies for vaginal dryness.)

Sweet potato blocks a ‘meno-pot’

During menopause, women’s body composition changes, Poon says. That means there’s a shift toward less calorie-torching muscle mass and more fat, which slows your metabolism. This can lead to what’s known as a “meno-pot” or weight gain around your midsection. You might assume you need to scale back on starchy foods to shed those unwanted pounds, but that’s not the case with sweet potatoes.

Sweet potato lifts your mood

If you’re like us, you’ve sometimes caught yourself getting irrationally anxious or irritable over small bothers. That’s because as women age, our levels of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin naturally decline. But “sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamin B6, an essential nutrient that helps your body produce serotonin,” Poon explains. The spud contains about 15% of the recommended daily amount of the nutrient.

B6 also plays a role in the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that calms the nervous system to ease feelings of anxiety, stress and worry. And a University of Reading study in Human Psychopharmacology suggests that vitamin B6 supplementation reduced anxiety.

Sweet potato smooths skin

Sweet potatoes do more than just improve your health — they reduce menopausal beauty bothers, too. “As estrogen levels decline, collagen production also decreases, which reduces skin elasticity,” Poon explains. “Not only do sweet potatoes contain vitamin C that helps your body produce collagen to support skin elasticity, they also contain beta-carotene that your body transforms into vitamin A to protect against UVA and UVB damage. This means that the nutrients in the foods we eat can protect against signs of aging caused by sun damage,” such as age spots and wrinkles.

Tip: “It’s best to consume beta-carotene from food sources as opposed to vitamin A supplements,” Poon advises. “And carotenoids like beta-carotene are best absorbed by the body when consumed with fat — I love topping baked sweet potatoes with tahini, for example.”

Additional benefits – 

“I love adding roasted sweet potatoes to my bowls and salads, especially during fall and winter,” Poon notes. “Sometimes I’ll also add sweet potatoes into my breakfast in a sweet potato kale and hash, or into delectable sweet potato brownies for dessert.” Poon notes that roasting sweet potatoes slightly increases their glycemic index as compared to boiling them, whereas boiling or steaming sweet potatoes makes their beta-carotene more absorbable.

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This content is strictly the opinion of Chef Serena Poon and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Serena nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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