Diet is established among the most important influences on health in modern societies and none more so, than in mid-life.
Inflammatory changes are our physiological partner as we move through menopause.
Not only does this inflammation in our cells and tissues result from ageing changes (a relatively new scientific concept known as ‘inflammaging’), but also from insomnia, an incorrect diet that isn’t evidenced for women’s healthy ageing, becoming overweight and of course, from the changes to our blood vessels, liver, gut and muscles during menopause, all of which can be detrimental to our health.
Inflammation speeds up the rate of ageing.
The good news is, with the right approach to your lifestyle in menopause, you can ‘age-well’ and slow down the rate of inflammation in your blood vessels.
One of these foods is beet or beetroot. It contains an anti-inflammatory compound called betaine and I tell you about this in the video below.
The other type of food that is evidenced to help reduce depression are chickpeas. Yes! I talk about these in the video too and I explain why chickpeas help to improve serotonin production in the brain. Good to know if you are on menopause-related anti-depressants.
The MyMT™ KITCHEN: Beautiful Beetroot Hummus
This recipe makes enough for two jars. I recommend freezing some to keep it on hand, but if you don’t want to do this then just half the mixture.
Note – if you don’t like beetroot, you could follow the same recipe but use red peppers or a herb (like coriander).
3 x cans of chickpeas
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/3 cup tahini paste
1 tbsp cumin (optional)
Juice of 1 large lemon (or 2 small lemons)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 beetroot (pre-cooked or un-cooked)
1 tsp salt
- If your beetroot is uncooked, place the oven on Bake 200 degrees Celsius. Wash and peel the beetroot, then cut it into quarters. Drizzle 1 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil onto the beetroot, and rub it so that it is well covered. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes (until tender).
Note – if you have bought pre-cooked beetroot, ignore this step.
- Add chickpeas, garlic, tahini, cumin, lemon juice and salt to a food processor and blend until smooth. If the food processor is struggling to blend the chickpeas (i.e., it is too dry), slowly add 2 tbsp of warm water. Repeat with a bit more water if necessary. Keep blending on high until you reach the desired smooth consistency. It can often take at least 5 minutes of blending.
- Once the beetroot is cooked, place it into the food processor and continue blending until the consistency is smooth again.
- Make a small well in the hummus, and drizzle a small bit of olive oil in the hole.
Serving suggestions: Crackers, on toast, with a salad, with flatbread, on falafels.
Hébert JR, Shivappa N, Wirth MD, Hussey JR, Hurley TG. Perspective: The Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII)-Lessons Learned, Improvements Made, and Future Directions. Adv Nutr. 2019 Mar 1;10(2):185-195.
Jiang Y, Wu SH, Shu XO, Xiang YB, Ji BT, Milne GL, Cai Q, Zhang X, Gao YT, Zheng W, Yang G. Cruciferous vegetable intake is inversely correlated with circulating levels of proinflammatory markers in women. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014 May;114(5):700-8.e2.
Zhao G, He F, Wu C, Li P, Li N, Deng J, Zhu G, Ren W, Peng Y. Betaine in Inflammation: Mechanistic Aspects and Applications. Front Immunol. 2018 May 24;9:1070.