Menopause can cause a number of symptoms, including hot flashes, mood swings and weight gain. Eating a well balanced menopause diet can help you avoid weight gain and stay healthy during your menopausal years. Here are some diet tips to help you stay healthy during menopause.
1. Use Omega-3s to Prevent Heart Disease
Menopausal women are at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol and heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids help lower blood cholesterol levels and keep your heart healthy. Many menopausal women benefit from daily omega-3 fish oil supplements made from mercury free fish. Oily fish like salmon contain omega-3s, which also support cognitive function.
2. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are high in the vitamins and minerals that keep us healthy at any stage of life. Fruit and vegetables are also high in dietary fiber, which can prevent weight gain. Fiber also supports colon health and can prevent colon cancer.
Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, which can prevent help to cancer and slow the signs of aging. Many fruits and vegetables contain phytoestrogen, a plant estrogen than can help to replace estrogen in your body and relieve menopause symptoms. These foods include:
3. Eat Whole Grains
Whole grain breads, pastas and pastries are more nutritious than their refined white counterparts, which are often stripped of vitamins and minerals during processing. Whole grains are also higher in protein and complex carbs to give you plenty of energy and support muscle tissue; they’re high in fiber to keep your digestive tract healthy.
4. Eat Lots of Dairy
Menopausal women need between 1200 and 1500 mg of calcium per day, so add more dairy to your diet. Good sources of calcium include:
- Low fat yogurt
- Soy milk
You may choose to add a calcium supplement to prevent osteoporosis.
5. Change Your Fat Intake
Because women are more vulnerable to heart disease after menopause, you should reduce the number of saturated fats in your diet. Avoid or minimize consumption of whole fat dairy products like butter and whole milk. Boil, grill or bake foods instead of frying them.
Eat lean meats and low fat dairy products. Increase your intake of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good for your heart, by eating healthy oils like canola oil or olive oil. Decrease your intake of commercially prepared salad dressings in favor of dressings made from oil and vinegar.
6. Eat Whole Foods
Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, legumes and dairy products that you buy and prepare yourself at home are preferable to processed foods, no matter your stage of life. Choose the freshest food possible, and make your meals from scratch in your own kitchen rather than going for take out food or instant food.
7. Avoid Junk Food
Junk food is unhealthy at any age, and during menopause it can contribute to weight gain and the range of diseases associated with obesity, such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Cut junk food out of your diet entirely, if possible, or reserve it for special occasions.