Menopause – Food That Matters

Midlife transition for women can be easier by making right food choices and being physically active. Menopause is a part of Midlife transition and is a major reality check that your body is changing. Well, this is a time to take care making healthy lifestyle choices or Consult a Gynecologist Now.drarchanabharti

Intro to Menopause

This “change of life” is a part of every woman at the time of her last period. The average age an Indian women reaches menopause is 40.32 to 48.84 yrs. This can happen earlier or later. Menopausal symptoms vary with every woman. Common symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, and weight gain around the middle, sleep disturbances and mood changes. However, some women go through menopause with no real symptoms.

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What causes menopause? Hormones, as women age, your ovaries produce less estrogens and progesterone, two of the main hormones for reproduction. As estrogens level go down, one of the first signs of “menopausal transition” is irregular periods in which bleeding is unusually heavy or light; the time between periods also may become longer.

Weight Increase with Menopause

Many women find it increasingly difficult to counter an increase in weight due to lowering hormone levels and the natural aging process.  They often loose lose muscle and gain fat especially in the belly area in their late 40’s and early 50’s. Lifestyle plays a very critical role, too — menopausal women tend to be less active and eat more calories than they need.

Menopausal Weight Gain and Health Risks Associated

Weight Gain is never a feel good factor. Let’s face it no one likes to be called FAT.  It can be uncomfortable and cause low self esteem. But that’s not all. Weight gain brings in health issues including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin resistance (a condition in which your body cannot use insulin correctly, which can lead to diabetes).

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Avoiding a “Midlife Metabolic Crisis”

Plan for your body’s natural metabolic slowdown!  As with any time in life, there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss. There are, however, ways to avoid a midlife crisis when it comes to a slowing metabolism.

  • Exercise– Adults should do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Exercise doesn’t have to mean a trip to the gym. You can be active doing daily activities. Take the stairs; park further away from your destination and walk; garden; or dance.
  • Eat HealthyFoods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean protein foods contain the nutrients you need without too many calories. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink a day.

Avoid oversized portions. Try using a smaller plate, bowl and glass. Cook more often at home where you are in control of what’s in your food. When eating out, choose lower calorie menu options. Choose dishes that include vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Your Dietary Guide

During menopause, one should have a eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrient. Since women’s diets are often low in iron and calcium, follow these guidelines:

Get enough calcium – Eat and drink two to four servings of dairy products and calcium-rich foods a day. Calcium is found in dairy products, fish with bones (such as sardines and canned salmon), broccoli, and legumes. Aim to get 1,200 milligrams per day.

Pump up your iron – Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods a day. Iron is found in lean red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and enriched grain products. The recommended dietary allowance for iron in older women is 8 milligrams a day.

Get enough fibre – Help yourself to foods high in fiber, such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Most adult women should get about 21 grams of fiber a day.

Eat fruits and vegetables – Have at least 1 1/2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables each day.

Don’t Ignore but Read labels – Use the package label information to help yourself make the best choices for a healthy lifestyle.

Drink plenty of water – As a general rule, drink eight glasses of water every day. That fulfils the daily requirement for most healthy adults.

Maintain a healthy weight – If you’re overweight, cut down on portion sizes and eat fewer foods that are high in fat. Don’t skip meals, though. A registered dietician or your doctor can help you figure out your ideal body weight.

Cut back on high-fat foods – Fat should provide 25% to 35% or less of your total daily calories. Also, limit saturated fat to less than 7% of your total daily calories. Saturated fat raises cholesterol and boosts your risk for heart disease. It’s found in fatty meats, whole milk, ice cream, and cheese. Limit cholesterol to 300 milligrams or less per day. And watch out for trans fats, found in vegetable oils, many baked goods, and some margarine. Trans fat also raises cholesterol and increases your risk for heart disease.

Check the Use of sugar and Salt – Too much sodium in the diet is linked to high blood pressure. Also, go easy on smoked, salt-cured, and charbroiled foods — these foods have high levels of nitrates, which have been linked to cancer.

Limit alcohol – to one or fewer drinks a day.

What Foods to Avoid During Menopause?

If you’re having hot flashes during menopause, you may find it helps to avoid certain “trigger” foods and drinks, like spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol.

Last Thoughts

When a woman reaches menopause, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis can increase; therefore, it is imperative that postmenopausal women discuss these issues as well as preventive and treatment measures with their gynaecologist.

Breast Self-Examination (BSE)

Regular self-exams should be a part of all adult women’s health routine.

Breast cancer is a major health concern for women, it is the most common cancer worldwide and 2nd most common cancer in India. It’s a good thing to look at the importance of a breast self-exam in helping women lower their odds of having breast cancer go undetected. Consult a Gynecologist Now!!!

Will it help me?

Over 80% of most breast problems are found through self-examination. A breast self-exam can’t detect the smallest lumps that a mammogram or other screening test can. Unlike other exams, a self-exam is:

  • Easily done in the home
  • Is free
  • Enables a woman to understand what is normal for her breast and catch something that doesn’t feel or look right before a clinical breast exam or mammogram

Breast Self-exam Guidelines

All adult women should perform a self-exam at least once a month. Remember to perform breast self-exams once a month.

Remember, if you menstruate, do it two or three days after the end of your period, when your breasts are least likely to be tender or swollen. If you are not menstruating, due to menopause, surgical menopause, amenorrhea, or another cause, choose a day such as the first of the month, and perform breast self-examination each month on that day.

A typical exam has several steps (you can see illustrations and more detailed instructions here):

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  1. Stand before the mirror. Inspect both breasts for anything unusual, such as discharge from the nipples, rash or puckering, dimpling, or scaling of the skin.
  1. Watch closely in the mirror; raise both arms over your head, stretching them up high. Examine both breasts and the underarm area.
  1. Next press hands firmly on the hips and bow slightly toward the mirror as you pull your shoulders and elbows forward.
  1. Raise your left arm. Use three or four fingers of your right hand to explore your left breast firmly, carefully and thoroughly feeling for any unusual lump or mass under the skin. Beginning at the outer edge, press the flat part of your fingers in small circles, moving the circles slowly around the breast. Pay attention to the tail of the breast (the area between the breast and armpit) and the armpit. Repeat this for the right breast using your left hand.
  1. Gently squeeze the nipple of your left breast and look for a discharge. Repeat this for your right breast. You should see your health care practitioner if you have any discharge during the month.
  1. Repeat steps 4 and 5 lying flat on your back with your arm over your head and a pillow or folded towel under the shoulder of the breast that you are examining. This position flattens the breast tissue making it easier to examine. Use the same circular motion described above in step 4. Do this for left and right breast.

If you find anything suspicious, or have any questions, report it to your gynecologist immediately.

Healthy Food Healthy Babies!

Most mothers are at a stage where they either choose not to breast-feed or have to stop breast-feeding before one year. They are disillusioned on how to meet their baby’s nutritional needs with iron-fortified formula. With breast or bottle, babies do best when feeding times are filled with cuddling and love. Sit in a quiet, comfortable place and relax. Hold your baby in a semi-upright position and talk softly while feeding.

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Every baby has a different feeding rhythm and it takes some babies a while to settle into a regular routine. Offer your baby a bottle every two to three hours or when he or she seems hungry. Allow your baby to decide when to stop eating. Toward the end of a feeding, your baby may fall into a light sleep or naturally turn away from the bottle. Never try to force a baby to finish a bottle.

Gently burp your baby midway and at the end of feeding. Burping removes uncomfortable air from your baby’s tummy; you can burp your baby over your shoulder or knee. Spitting up small amounts of formula is normal during feeding or burping.

Choosing the Right Formula

There are different types and forms of infant formula; your baby’s doctor or clinic can help you choose the right one. The most common formulas are made from specially treated cow’s milk and fortified with iron. Regular cow’s milk should never be given to children younger than 1 year. Babies cannot digest milk protein properly and it doesn’t contain the right amounts of iron or vitamin C for growing infants.

Your health-care provider may recommend a soy formula or other specialized formulas such as those for premature babies. Discuss any feeding changes with your doctor or a registered dietician nutritionist. Formulas come in ready-to-use, concentrate and powder forms. Powder is the least expensive. Read the label and follow all mixing instructions carefully.

Baby Bottle Safety

Keep babies safe while bottle feeding! Here are the best ways to keep your baby from getting sick, reduce the risk of injuries and promote good dental health:

  • Keep Formula Clean. Wash your hands before mixing formula or feeding. Clean bottles in the dishwasher or follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Use refrigerated formula within 48 hours of mixing and discard anything left in the bottle after a feeding.
  • Warm Formula Carefully. Never heat bottles in the microwave or on top of the stove. Warm bottles under running water or in a pan of hot water. Test the temperature of the formula by shaking a few drops onto your inner arm and use immediately.
  • Use Only Formula in Bottles. Never put anything in a baby’s bottle except formula or pumped breast milk: no honey, no cereal, no other food and no sweetened drinks like soda or powered drinks. By the time your child is ready to drink juice at about nine months, or cow’s milk after one year, he or she is also ready to use a cup.

So all you mothers out there, make sure you are aware of what to feed the baby. Please consult your doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask question. Ask queries and Stay Informed for a healthy baby.