Menopause occurs when a woman stops menstruating. At this stage, periods usually become infrequent, occurring once over a few months or even years, before they stop altogether. It usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but it can also develop before or after this age group. Symptoms of menopause include night sweats, hot flashes, poor concentration, anxiety, vaginal dryness, and mood swings.
Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise can not only help women feel better but also help boost their overall health in the long-term. There are certain short-term and long-term health issues associated with menopause that women should be aware of. Fortunately, most of these can be addressed with proper medical care. Here are some symptoms that menopausal women should look out for:
- Avoiding spicy foods, smoking, drinking, high-calorie foods and fizzy drinks may help with the menopausal symptoms.
- Consumption of soy products can help menopausal symptoms as soya contains a compound named Isoflavones that mimics the action of oestrogen.
- In the long-term, recurring symptoms of menopause can cause osteoporosis and cardiovascular issues.
- Getting plenty of rest with good sleeping habits is essential.
- Workouts like Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which helps in preventing or reducing urinary/bowel incontinence.
- Menopause can lead to anxiety. Meditation and breathing exercises can help relax the body and mind.
- The fall in estrogen during menopause can lead to bone loss as the hormone is critical in protecting bones in women. To compensate for the loss, a menopausal woman should follow a diet that strengthens bones and prevent osteoporosis. She should eat meals rich in calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium
Foods to add to one’s diet:
Berries: Berries are natural anti-inflammatory powerhouses. Berries support brain health, reduce blood pressure, and maybe good for the heart. With the cardioprotective benefits of estrogen lost during menopause, the benefits of berries in fortifying heart health are very important. Berries are also high in antioxidants that help in dealing with stress, which can help address insomnia, a common ailment among menopausal women.
Salmon: A great source of vitamin D, omega-3, and other fatty acids, salmon helps to decrease blood pressure, and support heart health. Research has shown the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in addressing anxiety, depression, and in potentially helping in improving the mental health of midlife women. Vegetarian women can opt for omega-3 supplements as an alternative.
Legumes: Legumes like chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans help in reducing blood sugar, and in increasing insulin sensitivity. In addition to providing calcium and vitamin D, legumes can also help in reducing the loss of bone density.
Whole grains: Whole grains must be part of a healthy diet for menopausal women. Whole grains like buckwheat and quinoa contain protein, fibre, vitamin B, and magnesium. These grains are also gluten-free that have a higher nutrition value than most traditional grains. Their fibre and protein content can help the satiety factor. In other words, it helps one stay full for longer.
Improving Heart health
Cut down on saturated fats. Replace these with unsaturated fats. For instance, use olive oil in place of butter when cooking.
Whenever possible, opt for high fibre and wholegrain foods, such as wholewheat pasta, wholegrain breakfast cereals, and pulses (e.g. lentils and beans). Opt for fruit and vegetables as they are high in fibre content.
Reduce alcohol intake and quit smoking
About the author: Rohit Shelatkar is the VP at Vitabiotics Ltd and a fitness and nutrition expert
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