Women dread the sound of this word and men fear to be at the receiving end during the phase. Wonder what is it? Menopause! A faster heart beat, sleepless nights, hot flushes, weight gain and anxiety- they are all characteristic of menopause- the end to a woman’s fertility.
Everything about it sounds scary, but it can be made bearable. How? By avoiding certain foods and eating others! In her book, Tell Me What to Eat As I Approach Menopause, Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, has talked about food strategies that can help your years around menopause a little more comfortable.
Let’s learn how to eat to ease menopause symptoms.
Veggies are best friends with menopause, so include a lot of them in your diet. During menopause, our ovaries stop producing oestrogen and progesterone hormone; phytoestrogens are plant chemicals that are similar to oestrogen structure and can potentially diminishing some of the discomforts caused by lower estrogen levels during menopause.
Eat lots of plums, prunes, strawberries, apples, tomatoes, oranges, grapes, asparagus, beets, bell peppers, cabbage, lettuce, and cucumbers in order to relieve hot flushes.
High-fat foods are the last thing a woman going through her menopause needs. Since one can’t eliminate all fats from their diet, it is important to choose the right fats- fats that may protect against heart disease and cancer.
According to researchers, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, olive oil and canola oil are the right fats to be consumed. The wrong fats are saturated fats and trans fatty acids found in foods like packaged cookies, chips, and crackers.
Ditch your vegetable oil for olive or canola oil; replace animal fat with fish and leaner meats. Eat fresh food and limit buying packaged products (they contain hydrogenated omega-6 oils).
Without a second thought, avoid alcohol. You may find it a good option to calm your nerves but that isn’t true. Alcohol intensifies the mood swings and causes fatigue. Chuck caffeine as well. Caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages such as soft drinks lower the amount of calcium your body takes in from food, and increase the amount of calcium your body loses through the kidneys.
Go for fresh juices instead- orange, carrot, and purple grapes. They contain vitamin C, folic acid, are nutritious, and contain antioxidants. Drink these to your content.
Preventing weight-gain is important at this point of life. Women need to minimize extra calories especially from high-fat, high-sugar foods that don't offer a bounty of nutrients. Eating sugars in excess can cause your blood sugar to spike. This stimulates pancreas to release more insulin. The surplus insulin accelerates the process of converting calories into fats in the blood.
Avoid soft drinks, sweets, syrups, jellies, jam, popsicles, and table sugar. Go for artificial sweetener instead.
A fiery bowl of curry is our favourite dish as Indians. But, spices intensify your hot flashes and make you more uncomfortable. You can eat hot food that is cooked with red chillies, green chillies or their powders. But, spicy food, usually loaded with garam masala, turmeric, sambhar masala etc is usually unsettling for one and all. One should restrict their consumption regardless of menopause.
Menopause is a phase that comes in every woman’s life and they get through it by hook or by crook. Don’t worry, you will too. A healthy diet accompanied with exercise can make menopause more endurable. Don’t let the condition overpower your happiness and health, Stay strong!
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