Menopause Nutrition
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Nutrition advice during menopause and how it affects your hormones

 

As we approach menopause our oestrogen levels drop and our hormone levels become disrupted, this may cause a variety of symptoms, especially if we are not taking care of ourselves with the right nutrition.  If your diet has been less structured in the past, a gradual change is important due to food causing hormones levels to change.  Once you have altered your new lifestyle, consistency is key as it may help menopausal symptoms, prevent weight gain and improve your overall health and moods.


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Foods to avoid
For foods to avoid, that will help to reduce and prevent unwanted symptoms, please click here.

Healthy Foods 

Nuts, seeds, fresh vegetables and oily fish eaten daily can help reduce some of the symptoms, as they are unsaturated fats and have essential fatty acids that help the body adjust to new hormone levels.  Plenty of calcium, vitamins B, E, D and K, zinc and magnesium can be a benefit to women to maintain a gradual, balanced decrease in hormone changes.

 

Women may not experience all the symptoms, however trying to reduce or prevent the most common problems in the most natural, everyday way can help.


Research shows eating, and avoiding, certain types of foods can make the menopause more bearable. Avoid missing meals to keep the blood sugar levels balanced. Some symptoms do make you want to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a slice of cake, although these foods are the exact culprits to make you feel worse.

 

Here we discuss foods that will help to try and regulate common menopausal symptoms.

 

Hot Flushes

Vitamin C has been shown to help reduce hot flushes. Try replacing hot caffeine drinks with iced cold water and lemon or herbal teas. Fresh vegetables such as dark green leafy vegetables, peppers, broccoli, tomatoes and fruits including blueberries, papaya, citrus fruits, berries, guava and kiwi provide vitamin C, plus many other vitamins and nutrients required at this time.  Avoid eating hot foods during hot flush periods and stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and chocolate particularly late at night. Flaxseeds contain high levels of omega 3, which is a perfect fatty acid to keep your heart healthy and it has also been known to treat hot flushes.

 

Skin conditions

To normalise hormone balance and prevent dry skin or skin complaints, legumes, nuts and seeds are known to help. They contain Vitamin E, zinc and calcium and these nutrients and oils are healthy fats for the skin.

 

Weight gain

Watch the amount of fat in your foods, choose white or lean meat and grill, do not fry and always trim off the fat from meats. Cut back on sugar and eat complex carbohydrates, these include brown grains, wholemeal bread and rice, as these balance blood sugar levels and keep you feeling fuller for longer.  As we get older we need less calories, so watch what you eat during your day.  Swap sugary foods for berries, such as a handful of blueberries, these are great antioxidants, which has properties to help relieve stress. They are also high in fibre and packed with vitamin C and wonderfully low in calories.

 

Fatigue and concentration

Avoid snacking on sugary foods, a sharp rise in your glucose level will then be followed by a sharp dip, this will leave you feeling tired and drained. Opt for fresh fruit and nuts instead to prevent fatigue and also assist in weight control.

 

Depression and mood swings

Ensure you eat enough protein each day, as it contains an amino acid called tryptophan, anti oxidants and vitamin B, which all help to enhance your mood. Try foods such as turkey, cottage cheese, spinach, blueberries, dark chocolate, avocado, oats and legumes. Tryptophan helps manufacture the neurotransmitter serotonin to keep your moods raised.


Osteoporosis

Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, Vitamin K and vitamin E, plus zinc should be increased through the menopause to maintain healthy bones. High levels of phosphorus, which is found in red meat, processed food and fizzy drinks, should be cut back. As too much speeds up the loss of minerals such as calcium and magnesium in the bone.  Reducing level of sodium, caffeine and animal protein can also help keep calcium levels balanced.

 

A slightly more alkaline diet is preferable, which would include vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and yoghurt to prevent calcium levels becoming low. Calcium and magnesium are very good to keep bones strong as well as boron, which is another mineral. Research shows it could help reduce the risk of bone loss. It can be found in apples, pears, grapes, dates, raisins, legumes, honey, peas lentils and nuts. Foods high in magnesium are generally high fibre foods such as legumes, wholegrain, vegetables, (especially broccoli, squash and leafy vegetables) almonds, and calcium from fish, fortified wholegrain cereals, egg yolk, cheese, oatmeal, broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale and legumes.

 

Sleep problems

Eating right will help hot flushes so in turn aid a more peaceful sleep.  Keep on top of omega 3 in take through your fish, nuts and seeds, which can help many symptoms. Anemia has been a suspect with insomnia so try and keep your iron levels balanced by eating more dark, leafy green vegetables like spinach and collard greens.  These foods are also rich in chlorophyll, which is thought to improve a restful sleep. Red meat, egg yolks, dried fruit, beans and artichoke.  Cut back on caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime and try camomile tea as a pre bed drink. 

 

Digestion issues

Adrenalin can be triggered in the body when the calming oestrogen is no longer present, which in turn switches the digestive function off, so when the digestive system is not working at the best a whole range of problems arise. Ensure you take time to eat and slowly chew your food to allow your stomach to effectively break down your food. Choose foods high in fibre such as wholemeal bread, brown rice, fruit and veg, beans and oats. Drink plenty of water and ss with many issues around the menopause stay away from caffeine, alcohol and refined sugar, as these will add a strain to your digestion, they also impact your nervous system. In overall health you should stay hydrated and will aid a healthy digestion system.

 

Libido

Certain foods have been linked to increasing the libido. Include magnesium-containing foods such a soy (although much controversy is researched on soy), so alternatives high in phytoestrogens and protein, can be found in linseeds, tofu, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, celery, rhubarb, peas, broccoli, bananas, avocado  cauliflower and green beans.


All nutrition content on www.stratumc.com is for general advice and should not be a substitute for medical advice from your doctor. If you have concerns about your health, contact your local health care provider.