Most women do not get the proper nutrients during the menopause transition and beyond. This life transition demands attention because our risk of disease increases due to aging and hormone changes.
· Osteoporosis affects 1 in 3 women over the age of 50.
· Cardiovascular diseases and stroke cause 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds. Heart disease is the number one killer of women.
Toss in menopausal symptoms and the change of life can become a nightmare.
Many suffer from hot flashes, weight gain, night sweats, sleep disturbances, forgetfulness, itchy skin, and mood changes. Blame it on changing hormones and the natural aging process.
It is important to manage your health during this time since high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance can be an outcome of weight gain and poor lifestyle habits.
Nutrition and menopause:
· A plant-based diet is associated with fewer hot flashes.
· We need protein at each meal to stimulate muscle-protein synthesis as we lose muscle mass. New research has revealed that changes at the cellular level cause menopausal women to store more fat with a diminished ability to burn fat. Excellent plant-based protein food sources are: Quinoa, lentils, tempeh, black beans, hemp seeds, edamame, tofu, and peanut butter. Eggs, chicken, turkey breast, salmon, are non-plant protein choices.
· Risk of osteoporosis increases: One out of two women do not consume enough calcium. Calcium absorption is generally 50% below the adolescent peak rate, usually due to less time in the sun, less consumed in diet, and less uptake in the gut. The recommended daily intake of calcium after menopause varies between 700 and 1,200 mg, depending on the endorsing society. It is always best to get your calcium from foods. Women should take no more than 500-600 mg of calcium per meal since more than that the body doesn’t utilize. Enjoy calcium-rich foods like yogurt, cottage cheese, almond milk, sunflower seeds, green beans, baby carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, almonds, sesame seeds, and edamame.
· You need vitamin D to absorb calcium. Deficiency in Vitamin D can also increase your risk of type 2 Diabetes, cancer, as well as autoimmune conditions, and depression. Vitamin D supplements are one option to ensure you are getting your daily dose, but salmon, canned tuna, shrimp, egg yolks, mushrooms, fortified foods like milks, as well as cereal and oatmeal are excellent food sources.
· Heart health needs attention: managing your cholesterol, triglyceride levels and blood pressure are paramount during menopause. Omega-3s that can reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and also protect the heart by helping prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Atlantic mackerel, salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, tuna, white fish, hemp seeds are all excellent sources of Omega-3s. Good food sources of potassium are: avocado, spinach, sweet potato, salmon, coconut water, and bananas.