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Best and Worst Food for Menopause

Best and Worst Food for Menopause

Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55.

Some women sail through it with none or few symptoms. Others may have symptoms for several years.

Best and Worst Food For Menopause

Changes During Menopause

Your ovaries stop producing oestrogen, causing the reproductive system to end its cycle and your body’s hormone levels to change.

Symptoms may include:

  • Weight gain. Decreasing levels of oestrogen affect your metabolism.
  • Cholesterol levels increase.
  • Harder to digest carbohydrates.
  • Hot flushes.
  • Depression.
  • Mood swings.
  • Loss of bone density.
  • Night sweats.
  • Insomnia.
  • Skin thinning.
  • Anxiety.
  • Lack of concentration.
  • Bad memory.
  • Palpitations.
  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Need to urinate more often.

Making changes in your diet may help alleviate menopause symptoms.

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What to Avoid

Stimulants

These may contribute to hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings.

Sources include:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Alcohol
Alcoholic Drinks
Refined Sugar

Refined sugar can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which lead to mood swings and tiredness.

Processed Foods

Diets high in processed foods may decrease bone strength.

High amounts of phosphorous should be avoided. Sources include red meat, processed foods and fizzy drinks.

Too much phosphorous in the diet may cause calcium and magnesium to be depleted from bone.

Calcium levels may be maintained by reducing your intake of sodium, caffeine and protein from animal products.

High-Salt Foods

High amounts of salt may lower bone density in postmenopausal women.

High blood pressure may be a risk if there is a combination of lower oestrogen levels and a diet high in salt.

What to Include

Calcium and Vitamin D

As hormones change, bones may weaken and there is an increased risk of osteoporosis.

Our climate in the UK means a lot of people are deficient in Vitamin D. Insufficient Vitamin D levels in a postmenopausal woman may increase the risk of hip fractures. A supplement can usually help to boost your levels.

A simple blood test at your GP will determine your current levels. From this, your GP can determine which strength of supplement you may need.

Always get your vitamin levels checked by your GP before getting advice on taking supplements.  Some supplements may not be healthy if the wrong dosage is taken.

Good sources of Calcium are:

  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Milk
  • Leafy greens
  • Plant milk fortified with Calcium
  • Sardines
Salmon Fillets

Good sources of Vitamin D are:

  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Food fortified with Vitamin D
 Antioxidants

Good sources are:

  • Tinned Tomatoes
    Tinned tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis. Cooking tomatoes breaks down cell walls and makes the lycopene more available.
  • Black Beans
    Black beans have higher levels of antioxidants. They are rich in anthocyanins, which may protect against the risk of heart disease after menopause. 
Fruit and Vegetables

Increased weight and decreased oestrogen increase your chances of getting heart disease increase post menopause.

Eating lots of fruit and vegetables may help reduce the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.

Orange and Yellow Pepper
Exercise

Exercise can improve your bones and joints, aswell as making you feel more energetic (yes, really!)

It releases feel-good chemicals, called endorphins, which are great for relieving anxiety and lifting your mood. Simply going for a walk can clear your head.

Less stress can lead to better sleep.

Weight-bearing exercise is important too. If you have been diagnosed with any form of bone loss, check with your doctor that you can exercise safely and effectively.

Phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens act like weak oestrogens in your body and are mainly found in plant-based foods.

Foods containing soy may help to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and reduce hot flushes and night sweats.


Good sources are:

  • Endamame beans
  • Chick peas
  • Barley
  • Grapes
  • Berries
  • Green and black tea
  • Pulses
  • Citrus fruits
  • Wheat
  • Liquorice
  • Fennel
  • Celery
  • Tofu
  • Flaxseeds
  • Endemame beans
  • Sesame seeds
  • Tempeh
Water

A decline in oestrogen levels and hormonal imbalances may lead to dryness in parts of the body.

Bloating may be eased by drinking plenty of water.

Regular Meals

If you skip meals, you tend to find you overeat on your next meal. This may lead to weight gain.

Your body may go into starvation mode and store fat to help you survive.  

Protein

As you get older, you lose muscle mass. Protein helps maintain the lean muscle in your body.

Protein makes you feel full, which may prevent you from feeling the need to snack in between meals.

Good sources are:

  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Nuts
  • Milk
  • Cheese
Boiled Egg
B Vitamins

B vitamins are essential for serotonin, which helps improve memory and mood.

Good sources are:

  • Buckwheat 
    Buckwheat is a complex carbohydrate, which is good for improving memory and lift mood.
  • Black Beans 
    Black beans are rich in B vitamins, which may help improve your mood,  sleep, and reduce anxiety and depression.
Omega-3

Omega-3 may ease low mood and hot flushes. It does this by helping to transmit serotonin. It helps create eicosanoids, which are a type of hormone that help to control inflammation in your body.

Good sources are:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Flaxseeds
  • Tofu
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
Supplements

Supplements should only be taken on the advice of a GP, registered Dietician, or registered Nutritional Therapist.

Your medical history should ALWAYS be taken into account when being advised about diet and supplements.

Some supplements may reduce the effect of medication you are taking.

Blood tests taken by your GP will determine where deficiencies lie and how much to supplement.

Some supplements may be harmful in excess quantities. It’s important to take the correct dosage for your needs.

Menopause potentially introduces many symptoms, which act as warnings to your body that you may need to give it a helping hand and improve your nutrition.

Eat a rainbow of colours to help you get the nutrients you need.

Regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet, that reduces stimulants, fat, and salt is a great start.




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