Foods to Favour and Foods to Avoid During Menopause

By Monica Wilson on October 11, 2012

For most women, the menopausal period is the most critical stage in their lives where massive physical and emotional changes take place. While some women do not experience any symptom at all, majority of them do. These include fatigue, hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, and depression. These things could make a woman get a glass of martini and a big slice of cake. However, incorrect food choices can make such symptoms worse.

Other than undergoing treatments, giving emphasis on one’s diet is essential in managing menopausal symptoms. There are foods that aggravate the symptoms, while there are foods that ease them. If you are going through menopausal or just about to face it, here are some diet reminders that could help:

Foods to Avoid

Refined Carbohydrates – foods such as white rice and bread, soft drinks, ordinary pastas, cakes, cookies and chips are composed of simple sugars or starch. Although they give the body plenty of energy, carb can get used up so quickly. And because they are high in sugar, these foods aren’t really recommended especially for those who are looking to maintain a good physical shape. 

Red meat, processed foods and other fatty treats – Women in their menopause can gain 8 to 15 pounds during the first two years. To avoid serious health problems associated with weight gain, careful eating and exercise is necessary. Processed foods, red meat, chips and most instant meals contain saturated fats and trans fats that have been linked to cardiovascular disease. Fats should not constitute more than 20 percent of a woman’s diet during menopause.

Sugar – experts suggest that sugar is the number one food to avoid by women going through menopause. Snacking on fruits is one way to satisfy one’s sweet tooth without having to fear about ingesting more sugar.

Caffeine – women might find it soothing to have a cup of warm coffee in the morning to ward off fatigue and dizziness. However, this could backfire. Caffeine may intensify sleeping problems and hot flashes. So instead of coffee, menopause women may just stick to a glass of cool orange juice or a cup of green tea.

Alcohol – a glass of wine a day could keep the doctor away. But more can be dangerous. Drinking two or more glasses of wine or alcohol on a daily basis may worsen mood swings and fatigue, and at the same time add to one’s calorie intake.

Foods to Favour

Protein – as people grow older, the more they need protein. This essential nutrient is needed by the body to recover faster from illnesses, infections, and surgical operations. Sources of protein include lean meat, nuts, lentils, fish, and dairy products.

Fruits and vegetables – fresh fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals that boost the body’s resistance to illnesses, improve mood, give energy, and keep the body slim and healthy. They are also high in fibre which is crucial to menopause women who are worried about weight gain.

Whole grains – another source of fibre are whole grains. Unlike simple carbohydrates, these foods contain complex sugars that offer long-lasting energy that a small amount makes a woman full for an extended period of time.

Calcium – As a woman enters menopause, she becomes at high risk of bone loss. To keep a sexy posture and stronger bones, women in their menopause should make sure they get enough of calcium. Sources include milk, dairy products and cheeses, and green leafy vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. Note: to make sure the body properly absorbs calcium, women should enough of vitamin D.

Good fats – not all fats are bad for the health. Monounsaturated fats (omega 9 fatty acids) as well as omega-3 fatty acids are very heart-friendly. Adding these fats on one’s regular diet is one way to stay healthy. Foods that contain high amounts of good fats are salmon, fish oil, vegetable oil, nuts, fruits, seeds, and vegetables.  

The menopausal period shouldn’t be that agonising, painful and depressing. As long as women keep an eye on their health, everything will be fine.

 

Source of this article:

Food and the menopause, NHS UK

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