Your Diet During Menopause
These days, numerous menopause treatments are touted as the cure-all for menopause. From mega vitamin supplements to medicinal creams, you can spend lots of time and money trying to get rid of all those symptoms of menopause. While many of these treatments do offer relief from menopause symptoms, often there are much simpler ways to deal with the associated discomforts. Just following a simple, well-balanced diet can go a long way to reducing menopause symptoms and your chances for developing many of the complications that go along with menopause. Read on for some tips on how to improve your menopause diet and ensure that you keep feeling great in the years to come!
The key to having manageable menopause is to keep your diet as balanced as you can. If you focus on nutrition and remember all of those food groups, you will feel a whole lot better no matter what your symptoms are. Remember to include servings of grains and carbohydrates, proteins and protein alternatives, dairy products, fats, and of course, lots of fruits and vegetables. Try not to overdo it on certain food groups, particularly fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
In order to keep yourself satisfied and healthy, eat at least 3 meals a day, with some nutritious snacks in between, to keep you energized. Don't become obsessed with calories, but instead, focus on portion sizes. This will keep your weight at a healthy level. And don't forget to include the occasional treat. Sweets can be part of a healthy diet too!
Foods to Manage Symptoms
If you are going through menopause you may be suffering from a whole host of symptoms including hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain. You may be surprised to hear that many of these symptoms can be managed by eating specific foods. Try including some of these in your diet so that you can get on with enjoying your life.
Managing Hot Flashes
Hot flashes and menopause night sweats can be the bane of a woman's existence once she reaches menopause. Waking up at night all sweaty is not a fun thing. Hot flashes make working uncomfortable, sleeping impossible, and can just generally drive you crazy. Luckily, some simple changes to your diet can really ease those sweats.
Try reducing your intake of coffee, tea, alcohol, colas, and spicy foods. Many women find these to be triggers for hot flashes. Refined sugars also tend to increase the number of hot flashes women suffer, so try to avoid corn syrup and other sugars found in highly-processed foods.
To fight a menopause hot flash, increase the amount of water you drink to at least 8 glasses a day. Also, try to include foods that contain phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant estrogens that can bind to estrogen receptors in your body, relieving you of many of your symptoms. Foods that are rich in phytoestrogens include beans, legumes, seaweed, yams, apples, potatoes, and carrots. Soy is also a very high source of phytoestrogens.
Managing Mood Swings
Mood swings often occur during menopause because of the fluctuation of hormones in the body. One minute you may be feeling great, but the next minute you could find yourself feeling pretty depressed. Some women find that they may even suffer mild bouts of menopausal depression. A change in your diet can help to alleviate a poor mood.
A lowered level of serotonin, a chemical in the brain, is often associated with depression. Eating foods rich in carbohydrates can help to raise your levels of serotonin, thereby alleviating that depression. Try eating bagels, sandwiches, and whole grain breads and cereals.
Managing Weight Gain
Weight gain and menopause often go hand in hand. As estrogen levels decrease in the body, fat redistributes itself around the stomach and is lost around the hips and breasts. Muscle mass decreases, slowing your metabolism, often ending up in unwanted weight gain.
To help combat this, try reducing your fat intake and focusing on eating healthier fats instead of saturated fats. Try olive oil, canola oil, or flaxseed oil. Rather than frying your foods, try broiling or grilling them instead ' it tastes just as great, if not better. Increasing the amount of water you drink will also help you lose any water weight that you could be retaining, as well as helping your metabolism kick in.
Foods to Prevent Complications
A number of complications are associated with menopause. Lowered estrogen levels put menopausal women at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Menopausal women also tend to lose bone mass at a higher rate than other women, increasing their risk for osteoporosis. Here are some ways that your diet can help protect you from these diseases.
Preventing Heart Disease
Heart disease, including high cholesterol, clogged arteries, heart attack, and stroke, are more likely to hit a woman after menopause. It is important to engage in preventative measures in order to decrease your risk of heart disease. Changing you diet is a simple way to do this.
Try to increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables that you eat. This will help cleanse your arteries as well as provide beneficial vitamins and nutrients to your system. Make oily fish, like salmon and mackerel, a feature in your diet. These fish contain Omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help the body to circulate oxygen and blood efficiently. Reduce the amounts of saturated fats in your diet, which can clog your arteries and increase you cholesterol levels. Try to avoid processed flours and focus on whole grain breads and cereals, and brown or basmasti rice instead.
More than 50% of women will be affected by osteoporosis in their lifetimes. After menopause, as estrogen productions decreases, more and more bone mass is lost in the body. This causes bones to become brittle and can even cause them to fracture or break. It is important to include sources of calcium in your diet to guard against osteoporosis.
Menopausal women should be getting between 1200 and 1500 mg of calcium every day. Adding low fat yogurt, milk, or soy milk is a good way of meeting this target. Other foods that are rich in calcium include cheese, sardines and salmon (with bones), prunes, figs, and leafy green vegetables. Avoid taking in too much caffeine, as caffeine causes the body to not absorb calcium properly.