Menopause & Diet

menopause

Menopause is a process that all women go through at some point in their lives, a biological change that generally leads to a range of often unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms. 

While menopause is natural and ultimately unavoidable for many of us, a combination of the right diet and specialised menopause supplements can help to alleviate some of the symptoms, increasing the overall quality of life that we can lead. Here, we take a look at some ways in which diet can help with menopause symptoms.


Managing weight during menopause

During menopause, a lot of women experience weight gain, due to a range of different factors. This weight gain is often due to a decrease in metabolic rates, which is thought to be linked to a decrease in oestrogen levels. 

However, that weight gain isn’t inevitable – a healthy, balanced diet can help women to manage their weight, even in the face of changing hormones. It’s advised that you aim to eat a well-balanced diet that’s high in fibre with suitable amounts of protein and fats, and includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole foods. Additionally, it’s advisable to limit the excessive consumption of sugars and unhealthy fats.


Calcium and Vitamin D

Menopause can increase a woman’s risk of developing osteoporosis, because the decrease in oestrogen levels can lead to a decrease in bone density. Women should ensure they are getting enough calcium and vitamin D in their diet to help support their bone health. Foods that are high in calcium include dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified foods, and if this isn’t enough, vitamin D can be obtained from fortified foods, and supplements.


Phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that are thought to have oestrogen-like effects on the body. It’s possible that they might help alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause, by acting as an alternative source of oestrogen. 

Phytoestrogens are found in a variety of foods, including soy products, sesame seeds, and flaxseed. It’s important to mention here that not all women will experience the benefits from phytoestrogens, in fact, some women may experience negative effects. As with all medical concerns, it’s best to consult with a doctor before making any drastic dietary changes.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which can be beneficial for women experiencing menopause symptoms like hot flashes and joint pain. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish, such as salmon, as well as in nuts and seeds.


Fluids

Drinking enough fluids, primarily water, is essential during menopause, as women may experience excessive sweating, which can often lead to unhealthy levels of dehydration. Women should aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, and try to limit their intake of caffeine and alcohol as they can exacerbate menopause symptoms.

Hopefully, it’s now clear just how much a healthy diet can help women manage the symptoms of menopause. Eating a well-balanced diet that’s high in fibre and includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help to manage weight gain. Consuming enough calcium and vitamin D can help support bone health, while incorporating phytoestrogens and omega-3 fatty acids into the diet can help alleviate other symptoms. It’s essential that you consult with a doctor or dietician before making any significant changes to your diet, to ensure that it’s appropriate for your body’s personal position.

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