Women, the backbone of a family succumb to unstoppable physical and mental hardships anywhere between 45 and 55 years when menopause strikes them like a lightening. Ironically, many families still lack when it comes to showing concern and understanding during this time of life. It’s the right time and opportunity which needs to be maximum utilized to pay attention to our lovely ladies to keep the family’s backbone intact! Being accommodative, showering affection and understanding their emotional imbalance is absolutely necessary. The other important thing is to ensure that the woman gets to eat healthy and nutritious foods to stay active and healthy thereafter. That’s because menopause brings about a biological transition that changes hormones, nutritional needs and health concerns as well. So, failing to decrease your number of takeout meals every week, munching on something rather than eating wholesome foods or skipping meals make it difficult for the women to fulfill their nutrient needs as they grow older.
Muscle mass decreases during menopause which means that women need to consume fewer calories than previously. Eating a healthy diet consisting of five portions of fruits and vegetables, 2-3 portions of calcium-rich foods, more of fiber-rich products, vitamin D-containing foods and reducing intake of trans fat and saturated fats is commonly advised for staying healthy during menopause. Now, let’s look into the common symptoms present during menopause and the remedies that are sought-after in terms of foods for these symptoms.
Easing the Symptoms
Hot flushes are the-most distressing symptom for which many women rely on herbal remedies such as licorice but there are no studies showing decisive results. Comparatively, soy has been proposed to be a better remedy but only in the case of certain women. Research shows that Asian women experience fewer hot flushes compared to American women. While looking into this issue researchers analyzed that Asian women included soy foods containing isoflavones regularly which might be the reason for reduced hot flushes. Isoflavones are plant-based compounds that have the ability to behave like estrogen.
Upping Bone Health
The stark decrease in estrogen levels has a disastrous effect on the bones increasing the risk of osteoporosis and bone loss. This accounts for broken bones in almost every alternate woman breaking her bone above the age of 50. Bone loss continues in some women for over 5 years leaving her with loss of 20% bone density. The main solution for this is to check vitamin D levels and use supplements when there is a shortage. Other solutions include:
Estrogen is the culprit behind many of the health conditions after menopause and cardiovascular disease is one of them. Menopause after the age of 55 increases the risk of breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers. A recent Harvard University study found that eating a Mediterranean-styled diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke by as much as 25%. Another research showed that women who were fed a low-fat diet had more chances of survival after being diagnosed with breast cancer while a high-quality diet increased survival rate after diagnosis. Eat a diet rich in proteins including those that come from plants such as soy, lentils and beans, plenty of vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats such as nuts, avocados, olive oil and low-fat yogurt, milk and dairy.
Meeting Metabolic Requirements
Muscle loss slows down metabolism which exists as a crucial factor for controlling body weight. Drop in estrogen levels too increase fatty deposits, especially around the abdomen even when the woman had carried body fat around her hips and thighs. Being mindful of what you eat and hearing to your body cues for signs of hunger and fullness rather than relying on calorie-restricted diets is the best way to stay in shape and be healthy.
Beyond weight gain there are other issues such as digestive problems, fatigue and depression experienced by women during menopause. So, apart from eating healthy foods one needs to take care of sleep habits and stress levels too. Excess stress has the capability to increase fat around the waist and decrease muscle mass too. Hence, your lifestyle determines your health at any stage. Get in touch with experienced dietitians and nutritionists specialized in fulfilling nutrient needs during menopause at www.firsteatright.com.
Remember, you are not alone and every woman born goes through this phase of life. How you handle it and what type of lifestyle changes you take to improve health and wellness has a key role in determining your health during and after menopause.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.