Due to the uncomfortable symptoms that can develop during menopause, and potentially harmful changes to the body such as decreases in bone mass, what a woman chooses as a part of her diet can play a pivotal role in her future health and well being. There are certain foods that should be consumed regularly as a part of the diet to help lessen the impact of troublesome physical and emotional conditions which may arise, but knowing why they should be eaten is important as well. Having the understanding of the changes taking place, and nutrients that help the body safely and more comfortably adapt to the changes aids in making better dietary choices.
Physiological changes in the body
The decrease in estrogen production during menopause causes a chemical imbalance within the body and can stimulate a range of symptoms of varying intensity such as hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, mood swings, depression, weight gain, as well as vaginal dryness and the loss of bone mass. Every woman is an individual and may experience some, most or all of them, to varying degrees. In order to lessen the impacts of the symptoms and avoid illness and injury due to bone loss, making changes to the diet can help to alleviate symptoms, and strengthen bones.
Boosts for replenishing Calcium and Iron
Often during menopause, women tend to become low in iron and calcium. Consuming two to four servings of calcium rich foods daily is recommended. These may include low fat homogenized dairy products, broccoli, legumes and fish with bones, e.g. sardines. Eat a minimum of three servings of food containing iron. Good choices for iron are lean red meats, leafy green vegetables, nuts, eggs, poultry, fish, and enriched grain products. Sticking to a regime that includes these foods in moderation will help you to keep your bones from becoming fragile, and help to battle fatigue by keeping up your iron levels.
Combat depression, insomnia and mood swings
Decreasing the amount of sugars, alcohol,fats and caffeine in your diet are ways that you can lessen the impacts of hormonal imbalances. Excessive sugar and caffeine consumption can cause intensification of hormone based symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia, fatigue and weight gain. While caffeine gives an immediate lift for those suffering from fatigue, it can also cause sleepless nights, resulting in a deprivation of quality rest, creating a cycle of insomnia.
Use nature's estrogen replacement to ease symptoms
Phytoestrogens are compounds that are remarkably similar to estrogen,and can trick the body into thinking that it is once again producing the hormone. Eating a balanced diet that is chock full of phytoestrogens eases the transition phase that your body is going through during menopause. Soybeans are high in this natural compound, and soy based products can easily be added to your diet through supplements, powders, soy energy bars, and other products with soy as the first ingredient listed on the label.
Boost your mental and emotional well being
Brain chemistry is enhanced by the addition of foods rich in Omega 3s. Salmon, tuna, sardines, flaxseed, and nuts are foods which are high in Omega 3. This addition will help you to have a sunnier outlook on life by lessening depression, mood swings and irritability.
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is important for all people at every age. The special health concerns which accompany menopause cause changes in the body chemistry and in turn, dietary needs change. Understanding these changes, and learning which foods contain the essential nutrients that your body needs at this stage of life is a must. Including the foods that will improve the quality of your life is a simple way to address the challenges of menopause, and keep you on track for a healthier and happier life.
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