Eating Right in Menopause

Starting in perimenopause, around age 40, your ovaries begin to produce less estrogen. This can lead to weight gain, lower metabolism, and increased bone loss, putting you at risk for physical and emotional difficulties. Healthy eating and regular exercise are essential during this time to decrease the negative effects of menopause.

Here are some tips for eating right to keep your body and mind healthy and happy throughout your menopause journey and beyond!

  1. Eat calcium and vitamin D-containing foods: Decreased estrogen production increases your risk of osteoporosis. Calcium and Vitamin D are essential for building and maintaining strong bones. Low-fat dairy products, dark leafy greens like collard and spinach, canned fish with bones, and fortified juices are good sources of calcium. Keep vitamin D levels up with 10 minutes of sun exposure per day as well as fortified orange juices and dairy products and canned or fresh fish.

  1. Limit alcohol and caffeine: Excess alcohol intake (more than 2 drinks per day) increases your fracture risk and contributes to overall poor health. Caffeine and alcohol can also trigger hot flashes so consider avoiding them in public settings!

  1. Avoid spicy foods: If you are troubled by hot flashes, avoid spicy foods which can trigger or worsen them.

  1. Decrease calories: Changes to your metabolism due to menopause and aging mean you may need about 200 fewer calories a day. Pay attention to what you eat, choosing more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and avoiding added sugars and fats.

  1. Drink more water: As we age, our bodies conserve water less effectively, which can lead to dehydration. Staying well hydrated can help prevent or lessen mood swings, joint pain, hot flashes, night sweats, bladder problems, headaches, constipation and bloating, and heart palpitations. Adequate water intake will also help with maintaining skin elasticity and healthy weight. Aim for 1.5-2L of water per day, or approximately 4 full water bottles.

  1. Use nutritional supplements as recommended: Talk to your medical practitioner about Calcium and Vitamin D supplements for bone loss and Vitamin B complex and Vitamin E to prevent hot flashes.

Forming these healthy eating habits early on will help you avoid many of the common pitfalls and navigate your menopause journey with ease.

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