Menopause comes with a host of physiological changes that most women shudder to think about. All of a sudden, you are battling hot flashes, low libido, weak bones, mood swings, skin changes and many other unpleasant symptoms. Does it have to be all that bad and more? Not when you know the right foods to eat and you match this with healthy lifestyle changes.
This article highlight the best foods for menopause that will get you started on the journey of reclaiming your youthfulness even as you age gracefully.
Why Foods Are Important For Menopause
Menopause comes with declining estrogen levels which cause many changes in the body. First, your metabolism is likely to slow down. This means that you will put on weight faster than you did in your youth, even though you are eating the same foods in the same portions. Menopause also comes with declining energy levels which means less physical activities. All this spells out weight gain.
Estrogen is cardio protective and declining estrogen levels may predispose you to heart complications.
Menopause is also associated with loss of bone density. This happens due to calcium loss which is essential for forming strong bones.
In order to keep down your weight, you need to be watchful about what you eat. Foods are also able to supplement for the lost minerals such as calcium and prevent osteoporosis that comes with menopause. Foods will also help in replenishing energy stores. Lastly, foods will help in combating other negative symptoms of menopause and make this phase more bearable.
The Best Foods For Menopause
There are several foods that help in alleviating the negative symptoms that come with menopause. A woman going through menopause needs to replenish her energy stores, keep her weight in check, keep her spirits up as well as prevent chronic diseases. It takes a generous mix of good foods to achieve this. However, a few foods are extremely vital for a woman’s wellbeing as she traverses through menopause. Here are ten of such foods.
Oatmeal needs to be a go-to snack for any woman going through menopause. Oatmeal is rich in fiber and will give you a feeling of satiety; this will prevent you from overeating. Fiber also helps to lower cholesterol and prevent constipation.
Weight gain is one of the negatives that come with menopause; high fiber foods are a good way to keep weight gain at bay.
Oatmeal is also loaded with minerals that can provide the required daily intake. They include manganese, iron, zinc, folate, and phosphorous.
Image source Pixabay
Oatmeal is also rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. Avenanthramides are polyphenols that are exclusively found in oats. They have both anti-diabetics as well as antioxidant properties. They also play a role in lowering blood pressure.
Oatmeal is an energy giving food that will keep you energized throughout the day. You can also throw in some healthy treats such as blue berries to make it more flavorful. Not to mention that blueberries are super nutritious. Oat meal makes a good substitute for refined energy giving foods such as pasta and cakes.
Flaxseeds have estrogen-like compounds that combat the negative effects of menopause. One study showed that women who consumed flax seeds had a significant drop in hot flashes. Menopausal women who used flaxseed for three months had an improved quality of life.
Flax seeds also contain omega 3 oils and lignans which are good for heart health.
Flax seeds should be ground and refrigerated to prevent toxicity. You can sprinkle the particles on other foods or salads.
Almonds contain zinc which supports mineral function. They also provide a healthy source of fat which provides energy and prevents dryness of the skin. This fat is has minimal bad cholesterol levels meaning that it is good for the heart.
Image source Pixabay
Almonds are also rich in vitamin E (a group of fat soluble vitamins) which has numerous benefits. One of the benefits is that it has anti aging properties on the skin. It also offers cardio protective benefits.
Lastly, it contains a high amount of magnesium which helps to lower blood sugar levels.
Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fats which are healthy fats. They help in reducing bad cholesterol levels and lower the risk for heart disease. Omega 3 fats also enhance brain power and may help in reducing memory loss that comes with menopause.
Salmon also contains vitamin D which helps to strengthen weak bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Lastly, omega oils help in stabilizing mood swings that come with menopause.
Other rich sources of omega oils include sardines and mackerel. Women at an increased risk for heart disease should consider eating salmon and other omega rich foods.
5. Wild Yams
Wild yams have been used traditionally to support women’s reproductive health. Yams balance estrogen through a complex process. They may also increase sensitivity at estrogen receptors.
Consuming wild yams helps to combat symptoms of menopause. They also help in lowering body fat and reducing weight gain.
Cheese provides a rich source of calcium, vitamin D and protein. Consuming cheese promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut which prevent certain diseases. One study showed that women who regularly consumed dairy products had a smaller risk for developing early menopause.
Calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone health. Taking cheese on a regular basis will help in restoring bone health and minimizing the risk for pathological bone fractures.
Cottage cheese is rich in selenium which promotes youthful looking skin.
Broccoli is loaded with highly absorbable calcium. The body use calcium to build strong bones. Eating broccoli on a regular basis will help in preventing osteoporosis of menopause.
Broccoli is also fiber rich and helps in inducing fullness. This helps in preventing weight gain.
Figs have been consumed by menopausal women in Asia for many years. Whole raw figs are a rich source of calcium. Consuming them will help to replenish calcium stores and to strengthen bones. Figs also reduce symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and mood swings.
Figs contain a compound known as ficusin that has anti diabetic properties. Figs are also good for combating skin dryness.
Soy contains isoflavones which mimic the actions of estrogens. In this way, soy will help in reducing hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.
10. Green Tea
Image source Pixabay
Green tea is a known weight loss drink. It contains vitamin C which promotes digestion. Menopausal women may have digestive problems due to changes in their metabolism.
Green tea also contains quercetin which has anti diabetic properties. Incorporating green tea into your daily routine will transform your experience of menopause.
A Note On Menopause Related Bone Loss
As estrogen levels decline in menopause, so do calcium levels. This often results in osteoporosis, which is thinning of the bone tissue. Due to this, menopausal women are prone to pathological fractures.
Menopausal women need to be careful about their calcium intake. It is on rare occasions that a woman will need to take calcium supplements, but physicians can always advice if this is needed. In most cases, having calcium rich diet can help to meet the calcium needs.
A few factors need to be taken into consideration to prevent bone loss:
- Consume more plant protein than animal protein. Animal protein promotes urinary calcium loss.
- Avoid caffeine because it accelerates bone loss in menopause. Caffeine is a diuretic and it promotes the excretion of calcium through the kidneys.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking tobacco promotes calcium loss and contributes to fractures in menopausal women.
- Be physically active; you need to exercise your bones, otherwise they will lose strength. Having regular walks or doing strength training exercises will help in building stronger bones.
- Work closely with a nutritionist to determine your calcium needs versus your RDI.
- Consult with your physician to advice on whether you need to supplement your calcium.
A Final Word
The importance of a well balanced and varied diet during menopause cannot be over emphasized. Additionally, one needs to be on the lookout for foods that promote weight gain. Most refined foods are rich in empty calories and should be avoided.
It is important to go for foods that are packed with nutrients and that are filling as well. Lastly, foods with estrogen like activity will help in reducing symptoms of menopause.
The best foods for menopause are part of the arsenal needed to get you through menopause. This should be coupled with adopting a healthy lifestyle. Frequent exercising will help in reducing stress levels and help in keeping your weight in check. Mental health is another important component of an enjoyable passage through menopause. Let your whole lifestyle be channeled towards a positive experience of this important phase in life.