Menopause: ‘Important’ foods that ‘make a real difference’ – ‘avoid sugar’

GP talks about the impact of the menopause on weight gain

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Hitting the menopause is dreaded by many women but experts reveal it doesn’t have to be as uncomfortable as we may think. Wellbeing expert and entrepreneur Liz Earle, suggested that by tweaking certain elements of a person’s diet, it can have a “powerful impact” in helping to restore balance.

“Food has such tremendous power to help and heal our changing bodies, and what we choose to eat is one of the most important wellbeing factors we can control in life,” Liz said.

“Eating the right balance of nutritious and healthy foods can make a real difference to how we look and feel – especially during the perimenopause, which is the stage that then leads into the menopause.”

She believes some foods may trigger discomfort without us realising.

But by sticking to four tips on what a person should eat and avoid, they could help manage uncomfortable symptoms better.

READ MORE: Jennie McAlpine weight loss: TV star’s easy method for slimmer figure

1. Avoid sugar

Eating too much sugar can make our blood sugar levels sky-rocket, as it is easily digested and quickly enters the bloodstream.

This could worsen menopause discomforts as it will suddenly drop.

Liz noted in her book The Good Menopause Guide, that fluctuating sugar levels lead the body to convert excess energy into fat, which in the long term will raise the risk of type 2 diabetes and CVD.

She suggested: “A better option is to choose nuts, seeds or fresh fruit as snacks to restore flagging energy in a more balanced and sustained way.”

2. Phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that mimic estrogen in the body.

“[They] can help ease many menopausal symptoms, but they’re also tasty and nutritious in their own right,” the wellness expert explained.

“Soya milk and soya flour, linseeds, tofu, Japanese tempeh and miso, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, celery, rhubarb and green beans all contain phytoestrogens.”

3. Healthy fats

Good fats are especially important during the menopause as we actually make our hormones from cholesterol. Avocados, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, nuts (and their respective nut butters) and seeds such as chia and flax seed (linseed) are all good sources of high-quality good fats. I also recommend taking a daily Omega-3 fish oil supplement to help boost brain, body and skin, especially from mid-life onwards.

4. Calcium and Vitamin D

As we grow older, especially after 50, the body’s bone density begins to decline, as bone breakdown outpaces bone formation.

This usually accelerates at the time of menopause, but a 2017 study found that high intakes of dietary vitamin D and calcium, could be associated with a lower risk of early menopause.

“It’s important to eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D throughout the perimenopause and menopause,” Liz said.

“Good sources of vitamin D are oily fish, organic eggs, red meat and foods fortified with vitamin D by the manufacturer, such as some breakfast cereals.

“Dairy products, kale, spinach, cabbage and sesame seeds are all excellent sources of calcium.”

She added: “Vegetarians (and especially vegans) need to vigilantly monitor their daily nutrition to ensure they don’t become deficient and weaken their bones.”

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