Menopause is a period of extreme physical changes in a woman’s body. While estrogen levels are declining, there are ups and downs in hormone levels throughout the system. These fluctuations bring about the symptoms of menopause which can take a physical and emotional toll on some women. Additionally, women transitioning through menopause stages may be more vulnerable to developing related illnesses and health conditions. What can be done to protect the body during menopause? A healthy lifestyle helps cut the risks and ease the symptoms of menopause. One of the most important measures a woman can take to improve her current and future health is to stick to a healthy diet.
The importance of diet during menopause
The foods you eat and the way that you eat them can make a tremendous difference in how you feel today and ten years down the road. The foods you eat in essence are the fuel that helps your body to operate. If you are using fuel with the right amounts of nutrients, then you are supplying the body with the things that it needs to function at the highest levels possible. Lack of proper nutrition may result in sluggishness, weight gain and low resistance to illness, higher risks in developing serious health problems and increase in the frequency and intensity of menopause symptoms.
The same goes for eating the wrong things. Unhealthy eating habits increase the likelihood of health related problems developing during menopause and you may not feel healthy. Energy levels may be affected as well as cognitive processes. As your body is adapting to the changes brought on by menopause it needs all of the support it can get.
What should be included in a menopause diet?
The basics of a healthy and balanced diet include recommended daily servings of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, low fat dairy products, whole grains for fiber and adequate water intake. Determining the proper serving amounts is also vital. This depends on how many calories you need to consume to maintain a healthy body weight. If you have packed on a few extra pounds due to the natural aging process and a slower metabolism, you can limit your portions to get the number of calories that are needed, but cutting out any extras.
Foods that are rich in calcium and iron are important to help ward off the risk of osteoporosis and anemia. These include cabbage, fortified cereals, asparagus, meats, eggs, greens, apricots dates, raisins and figs.
Boost your immune system by eating foods containing Zinc such are corned beef, shellfish, liver, nuts, cheese and whole grains. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which include shellfish, salmon, trout, and many other types of fish. In addition, your body needs a broad range of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, D, E and B complex. Most of these can be absorbed through the foods you consume (and a dose of sunlight for vitamin D), but you may want to consider a healthy natural supplemental vitamin and mineral blend.
Supplemental foods that ease menopause symptoms
Foods that contain hormone balancing compounds are ideal for managing any symptoms of menopause that may occur. Because a lack of estrogen is the culprit, substitution the natural way is the safest and healthiest way to bring relief. Phytoestrogens and isoflavones work like estrogen in the body. You can get weak doses by eating foods that contain these compounds. They include Soy beans and soy products, black cohosh (tea), dong quai, wild yam, flaxseed, bran and a host of cereals and nuts.
Menopause supplements that contain concentrated higher doses of these compounds are available online and through health food stores. If menopause symptoms become severe, these are useful alternatives for combination with a healthy and balanced diet.
How your diet can reduce future health risks?
When combined with regular exercise, a healthy and balanced diet can boost your immune system and provide protection from bone disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes which are heightened risks during menopause.
What foods should be limited or avoided?
Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol, fats, sugars, caffeine and large amounts of salt in your diet. These offer little nutritional value and can actually contribute to your risk factors for developing serious health conditions, including weight gain during menopause.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet during menopause can help lessen your risk for developing serious illnesses in the future. In addition to this, by giving your body a daily dose of the things that it needs to run properly, combined with exercise and avoiding the foods that are unhealthy, you will notice that your health will improve and you’ll feel more energized throughout the day.