Whether or not you’re a Diabetic, adding the right foods to your diet as you get closer to menopause can reduce or prevent those pesky symptoms. Here are my recommendations of the 9 foods for the optimal menopause diet.
As you know, some menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and dry skin are just plain annoying.
However, some of the other changes related to menopause can lead to long-term women’s health problems, from bone loss to high cholesterol.
These 9 foods for the optimal menopause diet can help to reduce or even prevent menopause symptoms and protect you from illnesses, such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
Some of these are not only great for women’s health in general, but can ease menopause symptoms like dry skin, bloating, weight gain, hot flashes, and bone loss.
The earlier you make sure these become staple items in your diet, the easier your life through the menopause years and beyond can be.
Among the common complaints of women during menopause are vaginal dryness and dry skin. These are caused by a decrease in estrogen, but getting eight glasses of water a day can help maintain your skin’s moisture.
- Drinking water also helps decrease the bloating that occurs with hormonal changes.
These symptoms are most common in the years just before the periods end for good and are often called perimenopause.
Your calcium needs increase during menopause because the loss of estrogen can speed up bone loss,
If you’re not taking estrogen replacement, aim to get at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day.
If you do take hormone replacement therapy, aim for 1,000 milligrams a day.
Because that’s difficult for most women to do that through diet alone, consider a combination of calcium-rich foods in your diet, like milk and non-fat yogurt, as well as calcium supplements.
3. Vitamin D
Getting enough vitamin D is also critical for protecting your bones during menopause.
Vitamin D comes from the sun, but many experts say it’s vital for women’s health to take a vitamin D supplement to make sure you’re getting enough, especially in winter and in non-sunny climates.
Although the official recommended daily dose is only 600 international units for most people, many doctors recommend getting 1,000 to 2,000 international units of vitamin D a day. Make sure to talk to your doctor about the right amount for you.
4. Fruits and vegetables
Your metabolism slows down as you get older, and women in their mid-forties tend to become more sedentary. This all adds up to weight gain, one of the most dreaded menopause symptoms.
By filling up on low-calorie fruits and vegetables, you can help reduce weight gain while getting the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
5. Whole grains
Some whole grains, such as steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, barley, and brown rice, provide B vitamins — which help boost energy, manage stress, and keep the digestive system functioning.
Folic acid and fiber, also found in whole grains, help lower risk for cardiovascular disease, which rises after menopause.
Your iron needs actually go down during menopausal years, so focusing on eating lean cuts of beef, eggs, iron-rich cereals, and grains should put enough in your diet.
Iron supplements (and that includes multivitamins with iron) are generally not recommended for women after menopause unless your doctor prescribes them.
Some experts recommend soy for relief of hot flashes. However, the research is inconclusive,
Studies of the benefits of soy for women in menopause have primarily focused on women in Asia, who get their soy from food.
However, soy compounds, called isoflavones, mimic estrogen in the body.
If you want to try soy, here are some foods you can try:
- Edamame: These soybeans are harvested when the beans are still green and sweet tasting
- Meat Alternatives: Meat alternatives, containing soy protein or tofu, are used to imitate meat, such as burgers, sausages, bacon, and hot dogs
- Miso: This is a salty, savory, Japanese fermented soybean paste that many people love to put in everything from pasta salad to apple pie
- Soy Nuts
- Soy Sauce (Tamari, Shoyu and Teriyaki) …Just be careful if your diet is sodium restricted
- Tempeh: A meat alternative made from cooked and fermented soybeans
- Soy Protein: Soy protein is a complete protein as it has all the essential amino acids required for human health
Soy is also a good source of protein, fiber, and heart-healthy Omega-3s (though not the same kind that you get in salmon or tuna). Plus, soy is naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat.
Any time you can add plant-based foods to your diet, it’s a benefit.
Flaxseed is a wonderful plant-based food which has omega-3 fatty acids.
Try sprinkling ground flaxseed on cereal, yogurt, and salads. It adds fiber to your diet, keeps your arteries healthy, and has some estrogen-like compounds.
9. Low-calorie foods in general
The plain truth is that your calorie needs decline with every decade of life. The less weight you gain during menopause, the better your menopause symptoms in general.
So, it’s worth adopting a diet of low-fat, healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, to help you support your weight.
What to avoid
Limit or steer clear of alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and spicy foods. These can:
- Trigger hot flashes
- Aggravate urinary incontinence (another common problem during the menopause years)
- Increase mood swings, and increase bone loss.
It’s been shown that the women who handle menopause symptoms the best are the ones who approach this time as a natural progression of their lives and roll with the punches, and don’t see it as a struggle.
Many women have spent their entire lives taking care of others.
This is the perfect opportunity to look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I need to take care of myself now so I can have the quality of life I’m looking for.”
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