For all women, the report of the International Menopause Society stresses the need to consider; lifestyle measures (healthy diet and physical activity) prevention of weight gain being involved in mentally stimulating activities
The report emphasises that, in consultation with their clinician, women should undergo regular health checks for chronic conditions including cancer and heart disease. The report also considers which pharmaceuticals can benefit women going through the menopause. Heart disease kills more women than any other condition. Starting the use of estrogen and certain types of MHT (Menopausal Hormone Therapy, also known as Hormone Replacement Therapy) within 10 years of the menopause, or under the age of 60, has been shown to reduce the incidence of heart disease and all-cause mortality.
what to eat at the time of menopause
The following dietary tips will help you on your way.
ENJOY FOODS CONTAINING PHYTOESTROGENS which have the potential to reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and vaginal dryness. Here are three phytoestrogen rich foods to add to your diet.
The humble soy bean has been shown to have a modest effect on symptoms such as hot flushes and vaginal dryness. It has been shown that phytoestrogens from soy foods are far more bioavailable then those in soy supplements. Try adding 100g of tofu to your daily diet. One idea is to marinate firm tofu in a mixture of tamari Japanese soy sauce, ginger and garlic and then add to vegie stir fries. Silken (soft) tofu can be added to a smoothie. Eating a handful of soy nuts is another option.
Linseeds (also known as Flaxseeds) are rich in lignans, which also act as phytoestrogens. You can buy and grind your own flaxseeds, or you can purchase them pre-ground. Either way, remember to store them in the fridge as they are prone to rancidity when exposed to heat. Aim to have 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds a day; they mix nicely in yogurt, can be added to a smoothie or even sprinkled in a salad.
Alfalfa sprouts not only contain high quantities of the phytoestrogen coumestrol, but they are also a rich source of vitamins A,C,E and K. Alfalfa sprouts are great to add to salads and sandwiches.
EAT LOTS OF PLANT BASED FOOD – studies of both vegetarians and those eating a plant rich Mediterranean diet show they have a lower body weight and improved blood sugar levels. The message – eat a wholefood diet that includes whole grains, seeds and nuts, legumes, vegetables, fruit and good fats such as olive oil. This diet will naturally be minimally processed, with healthy levels of meat and dairy products.
USE HERBS AND SPICES – liven up your cooking by adding culinary herbs and spices such as ginger, cumin, chilli, cardamom, coriander, garlic, fennel seeds, bay leaf, allspice, anise and turmeric. These have been shown to reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome which is increasingly prevalent in menopause.
EAT CALCIUM CONTAINING FOODS – eating enough calcium containing foods is important to maintain bone mass at midlife and beyond. Foods rich in calcium include yogurt (choose those naturally sweetened with fruit or a little honey), tofu, Chinese cabbage, rhubarb, spinach, white beans, bok choy, kale, broccoli and beans (especially pinto and red beans). Also, matching your calcium intake with adequate magnesium is also important and you will find this mineral in whole grains (such as oats and rice) and vegetables.
EAT ADEQUATE PROTEIN – protein gives us energy and is needed for many body functions including growth and repair, it helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, immune function, hormone production and fluid balance. Protein is found in meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, soy products, nuts, seeds and legumes. Aim to have some protein at each meal and also in your snacks.
- Alaknanda singh