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While you don’t have to change your entire diet around during menopause, you do need to recognize that some changes may help. A proper diet can decrease some menopausal symptoms and can prevent the weight gain associated with menopause.
Guidelines for a Menopause Diet
During menopause and the perimenopausal years, there are some dietary changes you can make that will help improve your quality of life. Some foods can actually decrease your me
Let’s take a look at a few good foods to eat during menopause:
- Eat Plenty of Calcium. This means consuming 2-4 servings of foods high in calcium every day. You can find calcium in fish that contain bones (that are high in calcium), dairy products, legumes, and broccoli. During menopause, it is recommended that you take in about 1,200 milligrams per day.
- Increase iron intake. Try to eat at least 3 servings of food that is high in iron. You can find iron in any type of red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, leafy green vegetables, enriched grains, and nuts. Try to take in about 8 mg per day.
- Get plenty of fruits and vegetables. Take in 1 ½ cup of fruits and 2 cups of vegetables per day.
- Eat lots of fiber. Whole grain breads, fresh whole fruits, vegetables, brown rice, pasta, and whole grain cereals are high in fiber and will improve bowel function.
- Drink a lot of water. Try to get in at least 8 glasses of water per day.
- Eat healthy fats. Stay away from trans fats, fast food (especially fried) and most importantly vegetable oils like canola and safflower. These oils affect us negatively at an epigenetic level and are particularly bad. Olive oil, avocado oil, and avocados are great sources of healthy fat.
- Decrease sugar intake. Too much sugar is a risk for diabetes mellitus.
- Decrease foods that are charbroiled, cured in salt, or smoked. This involves foods that are high in nitrates, which creates a cancer risk.
- Keep your alcohol intake to one drink or less per day. Alcohol can contribute to a number of diseases that you don’t want to have in menopause and can make menopausal symptoms worse.
Read food labels to know what’s in the food you are eating, especially if you eat processed foods that have labels. Look for low sodium, low sugar foods that are high in vitamins and iron.
Because many women gain weight during menopause, try to maintain a healthy weight. It may mean watching the calories you eat and eating foods that are low in sugar and fat. Try not to skip meals, as this will often lead you to poor food choices when you are famished.
Foods to Help Symptoms of Menopause
Foods that help menopause are those that are high in plant estrogens, also called isoflavones. They mimic estrogen in the body so the menopausal symptoms are less.
Some phytoestrogens will lower levels of cholesterol in the body and may decrease the incidence of night sweats and hot flashes. Soy products, like soymilk, and tofu contain phytoestrogens.
Foods to avoid in Menopause
There are some foods that may make hot flashes worse. These include those things that contain alcohol, caffeinated foods, and spicy foods.
What have you found as the best foods for menopause?