Menopause is a time of transition for many women. The changes inhormone levels can cause hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and other physical and emotional symptoms. Some women sail through menopause with little discomfort, while others find the symptoms to be disruptive and even debilitating.
As your estrogen levels decline, it can affect your metabolism and how your body stores and uses fat. You may notice that you start to gain weight, particularly around your midsection. It also changes yourbody’s ability to digest carbs.
Sleep may also become more difficult during menopause. As your body temperature fluctuates, you may find yourself waking up frequently during the night.
Additionally, you’re at an increased risk of fractures due to the loss of bone density that occurs during menopause.
Fortunately, a healthy and nutritious diet can help alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause.
Foods To Eat
Here are some foods that may help:
1. Dairy Products
Your bones are especially vulnerable during menopause, so it’s important to get enough calcium and vitamin D. Dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cheese, are good sources of both nutrients, and therefore can improve your bone health.
According to a study, in which over 750 postmenopausal women were examined, those who consumed the most dairy and animal protein had much better bone density than those who didn’t.
Additionally, dairy products contain higher amounts of amino acids, which canhelp improve sleep in menopausal women.
Some studies suggest that the consumption of dairy products can also prevent premature menopause since women with a higher intake of vitamin D and calcium were ata reduced risk of early menopause by 17%.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, are a great addition to your diet during menopause. They contain high levels of phytoestrogens, plant-based estrogens that can help alleviate symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
Additionally, cruciferous vegetables are a good source of fiber, whichcan help with weight management and digestive issues. They’re also low in calories but high in nutrients, so they can help you stay healthy and fit.
According to one study, broccoli can also helpprevent breast cancer by reducing the levels of a certain type of estrogen in the body.
3. Leafy Green Vegetables and Fruits
Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and kale, are packed with nutrients that are essential for menopausal women. They’re a good source of calcium, which is important for bone health, and they contain high levels of vitamins A and C.
As per aone-year study, which was conducted on more than 17,000 menopausal women, women who ate more fruits and vegetables reported a 19% reduction in hot flashes.
Fruits, especially berries, are also a good source of antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage. It can help manage blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
4. Whole Grains
Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber, which can help with weight management, digestive issues, and blood sugar control. They’re also a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc. All of these nutrients are important for menopausal women since they can help with hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings.
According toa study, a diet rich in whole grains can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even death. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight.
5. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They’re also rich in minerals like magnesium, zinc, and iron. All of these nutrients are important for menopausal women since they can be effective in alleviating symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
Nuts and seeds are also good sources of antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage.
Additionally,phytoestrogens present in peanuts and flaxseeds act as natural hormone replacement therapy and can help alleviate menopausal symptoms.
6. Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavours to your food without adding salt or sugar. They’re also a good source of antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage.
Certain herbs and spices, such as ginger, mint, and liquorice, can also help with menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
7. Protein-Rich Foods
Protein-rich foods, such as chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes, are an important part of a menopausal diet. They’re a good source of iron, which can help with fatigue and mood swings.
Also, protein-rich foods are filling and can help with weight management. They can also helppreserve muscle mass and bone density, which is important for menopausal women.
8. Healthy Fats
Healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocados, and nuts, are an important part of a menopausal diet. They’re a good source of energy and help with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Healthy fats can also help with hot flashes. However, more research is needed in this area.
Additionally, healthy fats can help reduce inflammation and protect against heart disease.
Foods To Avoid
1. Refined Carbs
Refined carbs, such as white bread and pasta, are high in sugar and low in fiber. They can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which can lead to fatigue and cravings.
2. Trans Fats
Trans fats are artificial fats that are created during the process of food manufacturing. They’re often found in processed foods, such as cookies, crackers, and chips.
Trans fats can raise bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol levels. They can also increase inflammation and the risk of heart disease.
3. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda and fruit juice, are high in calories and sugar. They can cause weight gain and spikes in blood sugar levels.
Alcohol can interfere with the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. It can also cause weight gain and dehydration.
Additionally, alcohol can make menopausal symptoms worse. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
Caffeine can cause sleep problems, anxiety, and irritability. It can also worsen hot flashes. If you choose to consume caffeine, do so in moderation.
Tips For a Healthy Menopausal Diet
- Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all food groups.
- Focus on whole foods rather than processed foods.
- Limit your intake of sugar, salt, and saturated and trans fats.
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid crash diets and fad diets.
- Talk to your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplements.
- Seek professional help if you’re struggling with disordered eating or body image issues.
The Bottom Line
Making dietary changes can help menopausal women find relief from symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. It’s also important for menopausal women to eat a healthy diet in order to protect their bones, heart, and overall health.
If you’re going through menopause, talk to your doctor about the best dietary approach for you. They may recommend that you make certain changes to your diet or take supplements.
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