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.

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