Aside from the loss of fertility and the emotions associated with that, there are a number of health problems that are common during this time of a woman’s life. Hot flushes, mood swings, weight gain and risk factors for heart disease,osteoporosis and cancer all increase during peri-menopause and menopause.
A solid nutrition plan is one of the best ways to alleviate some of the effects of menopause and make this transition as smooth as possible.
Here are 5 nutrition tips to help you manage your transition to menopause:
One of the common problems women experience during menopause is weight gain. This is due in some part to hormonal factors, but more commonly due to over-eating.
This occurs for two reasons:
- As one gets older, less calories are required to maintain bodyweight due to a slight metabolic slowdown and a drop in muscle density.
- The second reason is that menopause is psychologically stressful, and many women turn to food as a comfort.
A good rule for this stage of life is to make sure 80% of your diet consists of protein, fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fats.
Starchy carbs should be limited but not excluded, especially if you are doing regular exercise. This plan will also help you stabilise your mood, keep your blood sugar balanced, and will help alleviate night sweats.
Have a snack-pack ready to help stabilise mood
Making food a random occurrence in your day is a sure-fire way to overeat and to eat the ‘wrong’ things. A fluctuation in blood sugar together with changing hormones can lead to mood swings.
Because your body is undergoing significant hormonal changes, it is incredibly important that you are stocking up on the correct vitamins and minerals and are sticking to a healthy nutritional plan.
This, unfortunately, requires a little more effort and planning when it comes to meal times. It is a good idea to put together some snack-packs that you can carry with you for times when you are hungry but not in a position to get a healthy meal.
Some ideas include dried fruit, nuts and biltong as these are all portable and long-lasting.
‘Eat some oestrogen’ to help keep hormone levels in balance
Nutritional experts advise women going through peri-menopause and menopause to eat more foods containing phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are thought to block the body’s uptake of unhealthy oestrogens and where there is a deficiency of oestrogen, provide an alternative source.
Great sources of phytoestrogens include soy, lentils and chickpeas.
Exercise to prevent osteoporosis and to maintain strength
Regular exercise has many benefits – and we know them well. The body gets stronger, the organs function better, we rid ourselves of toxins and we feel more positive about life when we exercise.
During menopause, exercise could be the magic ingredient that amplifies the benefits of great nutrition. From the age of 30, the body begins to deplete muscle and bone density. Less muscle equals lower metabolism and less strength to do daily activities.
Less bone equals weaker frame and an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.
Resistance training has been shown to slow down this process quite dramatically. You don’t have to become The Hulk, but learning to do some squats, push-ups and pull-ups will be hugely beneficial.
Don’t overload the liver – Keep alcohol intake in check
Many women find their tolerance for alcohol is diminished during menopause. This may be due to the extra work that the liver and other organs are carrying out due to hormonal changes. So make sure to keep your alcohol intake in check.
What action can you take right now?
If you feel like you need support through this time in your life to help you achieve balance in your relationship with food take a look at www.atwnutrition.com. We offer tailor-made coaching that will help you achieve your optimum health and best body.