For some women, menopausal symptoms occur because of the hormonal imbalances that occur as a normal part of this natural life stage. These are the plain facts. If you are entering menopause and are beginning to experience uncomfortable or disturbing symptoms associated with menopause, it could be in part because of the foods that you are eating. Many women who prefer natural remedies for the symptoms of menopause report that simple changes in their diets have made a tremendous impact in reducing the frequency and intensity of their symptoms.
The importance of a woman’s diet during menopause
The body is undergoing some serious changes during peri-menopause. Hormonal ups and downs can take their toll. At this stage of life it is vitally important to ensure that the body is getting all of the nutrients that it needs to function at its best.
Foods that are important for a balanced diet during menopause
By eating foods rich in calcium such as dairy products, canned fish and broccoli, the bones are better protected from loss of mass and the potential of osteoporosis.
Whole grain products help to supply the body with fiber which is important in digestive processes. Lean proteins help to increase muscle mass and serve as useful energy sources and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are recommended. Finally, get plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.
While it is important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, it is also important to know which foods should be avoided. Because of lowering estrogen levels during menopause, there is a tendency for women to experience a decrease in HDL (good cholesterol) and an increase in LDL (bad cholesterol). This increases the risk for developing cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
Foods to avoid during menopause
Avoid foods that are high in saturated fat. Culprits for this include fatty meats, whole milk dairy products and cheeses. Trans fats that are rampant in some margarine, vegetable oil and a variety of baked goods also raise your cholesterol levels. By lessening or eliminating these things from your diet you are decreasing your chances of developing cardiac issues due to high cholesterol.
Sugar and salt are other food that avoid during menopause. High levels of sodium can lead to high blood pressure. Foods that contain high amounts of nitrates are linked to cancer. It can pay to read labels before you make your food purchases.
Foods that may increase hot flashes
Alcohol raises the body’s temperature and is commonly linked with increasing the intensity and frequency of hot flashes. The same is true for spicy foods or hot foods or beverages. Anything that raises the body temperature or induces perspiration can serve as a trigger for hot flashes in women who are susceptible.
Foods that help to ease the symptoms of menopause
Any foods that contain compounds known as phytoestrogens or isoflavones have the potential to ease the symptoms of menopause naturally and without long term health risks. These substances act like estrogen in the body and so they serve as a natural form of hormone replacement therapy, but without the side effects.
Foods that can help to restore hormonal balance in the body
Foods that contain phytoestrogens and isoflavones include soy beans and soy products, wild yam, flaxseed, chaste berry, dong quai, black cohosh, certain nuts and some cereals. Although the amounts that are actually absorbed into the body are low, they have provided relief for many women. For increased strength, extracts of these foods are available in concentrated supplement form.
There are some foods that can increase the risks of developing certain illnesses including heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers during menopause. Because of the stress that menopause places on the body, it is vital at this stage to ensure that the proper nutrients are ingested. Just as important, certain foods should be avoided. Saturated and trans fats and the foods that contain them increase the risk of developing high cholesterol and associated cardio vascular issues. Sugar, salt and alcohol are also leading risk factors. In addition to this, some foods can also increase the intensity of symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. By avoiding them, you are taking the right steps to protect yourself from unnecessary discomfort.
Akot Doris Mburu is a graduate who enjoys writing on different topics. Being a mother and wife-she drives so much strength and inspiration from the desire to have a healthy family. Her health writings are done with the same passion-to ensure healthy family members. www.consumerhealthdigest.com/author/doris-mburu