What is a good diet during menopause?
What is a good diet during menopause? I have heard this numerous times when having conversations with women.
There is so much information on the internet about what to eat. Not all of this information unique to the menopause transition. Due to lowering levels and the natural aging process, many women find it harder to keep weight off in their 40’s and 50’s. Often women lose muscle and gain fat, mainly around the belly area. Lifestyle factors should also be considered too, menopausal women tend to be less active and eat more than they need.
Some of the health risks associated with weight gain during menopause include high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin resistance.
As with any time in life, there are no quick fix diets when it comes to weight loss during menopause.
Here are some principles to consider;
Focus on plant foods. Plant foods typically supply a balance of healthy fats; fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, lower the risk of diabetics and promote a healthy weight. Plant foods doesn’t always mean animal free. However you may need to eat smaller portions of animal foods while increasing your intake of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and legumes.
Limit Carbs and up the Protein. Most menopausal women do not consume enough protein they need. Eating protein during the day helps you feel fuller longer while nourishing your muscles and bones. When you add protein to your meal its best to limit the carbohydrates and dietary fat for balance. Nothing against carbohydrates, such as wholegrains, fruit and vegetables, however eating more carbohydrates than the body can handle at midlife makes weight control more difficult.
Limit alcohol, caffeine and sodium. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink a day. If you suffer from hot flashes, try cutting back on caffeine and spicy foods, which could trigger hot flashes. Try sticking to 1-2 cups of caffeine a day. Watch your sodium intake and aim to cook most of your meals at home rather than eating out.
Exercise More. Adults should do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week. Being active doing daily activities such as taking the stairs; parking further away from your destination and walking; gardening; or dancing. Aim for strength-building exercises at least twice per week. Not only will strength replace your lost muscle mass, but it also helps to slow mineral loss in your bones which can lead to osteoporosis. Exercise should be fun, so pick an activity your enjoy and get moving with family and friends.
Increase your water. Water keeps you hydrated and may ease hot flashes. It also helps move fiber through your system. Remember fruits and vegetables contain water and health-boosting nutrients too.
Remember, menopause is only temporary and following diets to make you lose weight don’t work, long term. The healthy diet and exercise habits you put in place during menopause will keep you feeling great after the hot flashes, mood swings and sleepless nights pass.