Menopause is a hormonal change that all women go through. It marks the end of her reproductive years. Refer to our previous article titled “Menopause” for more details on the subject.
There are many diseases that women become prone to during and after menopause sets in. With the help of a nutritious diet, she may be able to mitigate the risks of developing certain diseases and stay healthy.
Let’s first look at what kinds of food should be avoided:
- Cut back on sugar and salt: Too much consumption of sodium can lead to high blood pressure and heart-related diseases. Sugar promotes weight gain. Sugary foods like cool drinks and bakery items just contribute empty calories without adding much nutritional value to your body. Reduce salt intake but using herbs to add flavor to your food. Instead of sugar you may consider other sweetening agents that can also be nutritious. For example molasses, jaggery and honey when used in moderation are healthier than sugar.
- Stay away from high-fat foods: Women are at a greater risk of heart diseases post –menopause. Saturated fats and trans fats increase the risk of developing heart diseases as it can raise cholesterol levels in your blood. Watch your iodine intake as it helps in regulating the body’s fat metabolism. It is also good for a healthy heart.
- Keep away from certain foods like
- Caffeinated drinks
- Spicy and hot food
These can aggravate hot flashes and urinary incontinence. It may also affect your mood and increase bone loss.
You need to ensure that you get an adequate supply of:
- Iron– Your need for iron goes down after menopause. However, iron rich food should be consumed on a daily basis. Good sources are: lean red meat, eggs, fish, poultry, leafy green vegetables and nuts.
- Calcium– The decline in estrogen after menopause causes bone loss at an accelerated rate. Therefore, calcium is essential to protect your bones. Good sources are: Dairy products, fish with bones, broccoli, nuts and seeds.
- Fiber– Apart from combating constipation, consumption of the right amount of fiber has numerous benefits like- reducing blood sugar levels, reducing cholesterol, helps maintain a healthy weight. Good sources are: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds
- Water– Vaginal dryness and dry skin is a common complaint of women during menopause. Drinking 8-10 glasses a day can solve these problems. It also helps avoid health problems like UTI and constipation.
- Vitamins- Vitamin D plays a very important role in helping the bones absorb calcium. Calcium rich food should be coupled with foods rich in vitamin D. Magnesium and phosphorus are also important for calcium absorption. Good sources are: Fish, egg yolk, beef liver and foods fortified with vitamin D like certain dairy products and soy milk.
It is of utmost importance to lower calorie intake as metabolism slows down as we age. The lesser weight you gain during menopause, the better. Include in your diet lean protein, fruits and vegetables.
Remember not to skip any meals in order to reduce weight. At One Life we have a dedicated team of dietitians who can customize a diet plan on the basis of your nutritional requirements and help you manage weight.