Nutrition and menopause are related.
Studies have found that eating a nutritious diet can reduce the impact of menopause symptoms in women, ease the transition and prevent many health risks. But most of us do not pay enough attention to what we are eating.
According to a study published on the US National Library of Medicine website, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has an inverse relation to menopausal symptoms.
Read on to know about the effect of food on menopause.
Nutrition and Menopause – What Is the Effect of Food on Menopause?
During menopause, hormonal imbalance can slow down your metabolism, result in weight gain, increase cholesterol levels and cause bone loss.
A healthy diet can also ease menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, bone loss, dry skin and excess weight.
Here is a list of some of the dietary changes you can include to reduce menopause symptoms.Dairy Products for bones
Lower oestrogen levels in our bodies can cause bone loss, resulting in weak bones, increase the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
Dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, potassium, proteins and vitamin D. These nutrients are essential for our bones.
Consuming dairy products, such as curd, milk, cheese, paneer and tofu prevent bone loss, strengthen the skeletal structure and fortify your bone health.Whole Grains for health
Whole grains are rich in fibre, nutrients, protein, B vitamins, antioxidants, magnesium, iron, zinc and copper.
Studies show that a diet rich in whole grains reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and premature death. So, eat barley, brown rice, whole wheat, oats, rye, buckwheat, millets, corn and whole-grain bread.Fruits and Vegetables for menopause symptoms
Studies have found that consumption of fruits and vegetables is inversely proportional to menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression.
Fruits and vegetables are a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fibres and antioxidants that reduce menopausal symptoms.
Include soy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, sprouts, dark berries, grape seed, citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables.Phytoestrogen foods for menopause
Eating foods that have phytoestrogen compounds can alleviate menopause symptoms. Studies show that phytoestrogen compounds behave like oestrogen in our bodies and reduces the associated menopause symptoms.
You can eat food that contains phytoestrogens naturally to slightly increase the hormone level in the body. Include soybeans, flax seeds, barley, plums, grapes, berries, chickpeas and other phytoestrogen foods. You can also take health supplements, such as Femarelle that are made of soy products, flaxseeds and vitamins.Healthy fats for hot flashes
A study indicated that consuming healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can decrease the frequency of hot flashes. You can eat omega-3 rich foods, such as chia seeds, flax seeds (grounded), hemp seeds, salmon, mackerel and other foods.
You can also take omega-3 supplements to improve the condition.Protein for dry skin in menopause
Studies have found a link between declining oestrogen and decreasing muscle mass and bone strength. Therefore, you need to consume more protein to keep your body weight in check, prevent bone loss, improves skin elasticity and collagen production.
Collagen, a protein, improves and hydrates your skin, slows the ageing process, reduces dry skin, prevents wrinkles and improves muscle mass. It also increases bone mineral density. Therefore, it lowers the risk of weak bones and hip fractures.
Eat dairy products, legumes, eggs, fish and meat.
Nutrition and Menopause – What Foods to Avoid?
There is another link between nutrition and menopause. The link is to avoid certain food types to ease menopause symptoms, such as sleep problems, hot flashes and weight gain.Foods Here is a list of some of the foods to be avoided:
- Avoid sugary products in your diet because these products can increase hot flashes.
- Avoid processed foods to lower the frequency of hot flashes in menopause.
- Avoid excess consumption of caffeine during menopause. It can trigger hot flashes and cause sleep disturbances.
- Avoid alcohol consumption. Intake of alcohol increases the severity of hot flashes and leads to sleep problems.
- Avoid spicy foods during menopause. It may increase the incidences of hot flashes. It may also increase anxiety levels.
- Avoid too much salt in your food. Excess salt consumption can lower your bone density during post-menopause years. Too much salt can also develop high pressure and affects your mood.
- Avoid smoking. Studies show that if you smoke, you may hit menopause a year earlier than non-smokers. Smoking aggravates the symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings, sleep problems, skin problems and anxiety.
The link between nutrition and menopause is often ignored, and women may not take precautionary steps to ease their transition. If you make smaller changes to your diet and switch to healthy eating, you can manage the menopausal symptoms easily.
A healthy lifestyle will not only improve your overall wellbeing but also instil positivity in you. You will be better prepared to take on the new phase of life with confidence and not confusion.
Take care of your nutrition, and menopause will be easy.