Menopause: What Are The Diet Foods Women Should Eat?

by Ms. Edwina Raj

1. What is the effect of diet on menopause symptoms?

Diet, nutrition and lifestyle collectively influence and intensifies the menopausal symptoms due to drop in oestrogen hormone that can be challenging in most women for years together like sudden weight gain, high blood pressure, risk of developing heart disease, deficiencies of nutrients, loss of muscle mass, hot flushes, night sweats, irritability, vaginal dryness, lack of sleep, irritability, poor concentration, frequent headaches, and joint pain.

This is commonly observed since most women pay less attention to their diet due to their busy schedules. High consumption of caffeine, alcohol, smoking, lack of exercise, nutritional deficiencies such as zinc and B6 are a major culprit for early menopause and implications of dietary factors such as eating processed, refined foods such as maida/white bread/baked goods, sugar, junk, white rice that impacts one’s body fat percentage, metabolism, increases the risk of insulin resistance which could interfere with hormone production.

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2. What foods women should avoid during this phase?

Menopausal symptoms can be extremely distressing and painful that can be tackled in most women through a lifestyle modification. Therefore it is necessary to restrict intake of caffeine such as tea, coffee, aerated drinks, chocolates, reduce alcohol intake and unhealthy trans fat sources such as packed foods, baked goods, sugar, ready to eat, and limit saturated fat such as red meat, rich desserts, and outside food.

To watch out the intake of Vitamin A in supplements used routinely and high intake of salt increases the risk of calcium deficiency. Hence it is necessary to watch out for hidden sources of sodium in our diet and to consult Nutritionist before you supplement yourself.

3. What foods women should eat?

Foods which are promising to help women during menopause are

  • Mindful and healthy eating with the right balance in nutrients will not only delay but ease the symptoms of menopause and prevent you from nutritional deficiencies. Get personalized diet advice today!

  • According to research data consumption of foods containing antioxidants, zinc and vitamin B6 is beneficial such as consumption of fruits, vegetables, leafy, nuts, oilseeds & fish.

  • Phytoestrogens which have a similar oestrogen-like activity such as isoflavones present in soyabean/ soya paneer, legumes, beans and dhals. sprouts. Include lignans from flaxseed, cereals, fruit and vegetables.

  • Vitamin E rich foods such as sunflower seeds, vegetable oils, leafy vegetables, nuts or supplements will help to relieve from perimenopausal symptoms.

  • Choose healthy fats rich in omega 3 such as fish, nuts, oilseeds etc and avoid unhealthy saturated fats.

  • Focus on Vitamin D sources like a mushroom, fatty fish and from fortified foods like milk, cereals, oil etc. This helps your body to utilize the intake of calcium.

  • Other herbs which are commonly used to treat menopause lack adequate data to prove it’s efficacy but most of them can be toxic to your liver, therefore, do not supplement yourself without consulting your Gynecologist or Qualified Dietitian.

4. Why protein is important for women during menopause?

Muscle and bone health are greatly impacted during and after menopause due to a decline in estrogen hormone which completely alters the body composition in women. There is a significant reduction in lean muscle and increase in body fat, hence regular monitoring of body fat percentage, muscle mass and checking handgrip strength at a Nutrition clinic is necessary to assess and adjust your daily protein requirement through your diet.

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