Menopause is regarded as one of the scary phases of a woman’s life. You must have heard so many negative things about this. However, there is one thing that will help you sail through this smoothly. This something is lifestyle changes and menopause diet.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is a part of aging process of women. Generally, perimenopause or menopausal transition starts four years before the last periods. Perimenopause has symptoms such as irregular periods, hot flashes and mood swings. Menopause is when women do not get periods for 12 months straight. 51.4 years is the median age for menopause. Perimenopausel menopause is caused by near complete or complete lack of ovarian follicles followed by a condition where women experience high follicle-stimulating hormone level and low estrogen.
As per National Institute of Aging, the hormonal changes in a woman’s body stimulates the below given subtle and not-so-subtle symptoms during menopause.
- Hot flashes
- Dryness in vagina
- Incontinence in urine
- Memory problems
- Weight gain
- Reduced muscle mass
- Irritability and mood swings
- Night sweats
- Low sex drive
- Heart palpitations
- Poor bone health/density
- Sleep problems
Luckily, not every woman will experience every symptom. Changes in your diet, low stress levels, regular exercise, and proper sleep helps ease these symptoms.
What is the Best Diet for Menopause?
The Mediterranean diet which is popular in Italy and Greece is extremely rich in olive oil, fish, fruits and vegetables. It also includes rare red meat consumption. This helps lower saturated fat.
This diet is considered excellent for blood pressure, heart health, weight loss and brain health. And it may also bring down symptoms of menopause.
There is no place for processed foods such as refined carbohydrates in the traditional Mediterranean diet. Healthy fats are included in it. These two aspects of Mediterranean diet are excellent for women during menopause as these make this diet full of essential nutrients .
Foods to Eat during Menopause
The few important steps in a menopause diet plan are:
1. Eat a Diet Rich in Magnesium, Calcium and Vitamin D
Improve your consumption of colorful vegetables, greens, fruits and dairy products – like cheese, milk and yogurt. Since women experience a decrease in levels of estrogen during menopause, they are more prone to certain conditions such as osteoporosis. So, taking foods rich in calcium is more important than you think.
2. Take Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Studies show omega3s can reduce the severity of night sweats and the frequency of hot flashes. You can take supplements for this but getting these from food is recommended. Fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel and vegetarian sources such as chia seeds and flax seeds are very rich sources of omega 3s.
3. Include Foods containing Plant Estrogen or Phytoestrogen
Cauliflower, dark berries, broccoli, soybeans and chickpea mimic estrogen and decrease some symptoms of menopause.
The below given foods can help make your bones stronger and ease menopause symptoms:
- Dark berries
- Dark fruits
- Dark green vegetables
- Cauliflower and broccoli
- Black tea
- Soy related foods
Foods that can Make Menopause Worse
Diet can affect a woman’s symptoms in positive as well as negative ways. Cutting back or saying a complete no to following food helps improve how you feel.
1. Processed Foods
Follow a thumb rule to eat anything in as natural form as you can. Try to avoid foods which come in wrapper or plastic as these are processed foods.
2. Refined Carbohydrates
Pasta, white rice and potatoes are associated with an increase in insulin resistance or blood sugar – as well as hot flashes. Instead go for whole grains and back on high sugary food items.
It can enhance menopausal symptoms. It will not only make hot flashes worse but will also make you more susceptible to irritability and mood swings.
4. Spicy Foods
These aren’t mandatorily bad for you but in some women, these can result in hot flashes. So, in case you experience worsening symptoms, start avoiding spicy foods.