Adding the right foods to your diet as you approach menopause can actually reduce or prevent menopausal symptomsand protect you from illnesses, such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. There are some foundation foods that are great for women’s health and the earlier you make sure these foods are part of your menopause diet, the easier menopause and the years beyond may be.
Water:Vaginal dryness and dry skin caused by a decrease in estrogen during menopause are common complaints among women at this time, but drinking eight glasses of water a day can help maintain your skin’s moisture and offset dryness.Drinking water also helps decrease the bloating that occurs with hormonal changes.
Tomatoes juice:A glass of tomato juice a day could help ease menopausal symptoms, according to researchers from Tokyo Medical University.They found that drinking 200ml of the juice twice a day for eight weeks had a significant effect on overall symptoms, as well as cholesterol and anxiety. In the study, 93 women were given tomato juice and had their heart rate and other markers checked.The results which was published in a nutrition journal showed that at the end of the study, menopausal symptoms, including anxiety, hot flushes and irritability, had reduced significantly.
Calcium rich foods: Your calcium needs increases during menopause because the loss of estrogen can speed up bone loss. Aim to get at least 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day. This is because it is difficult for most women to achieve that through diet alone. Consider a combination of calcium-rich foods in your diet, like milk and nonfat yogurt, and calciumsupplements.
Moringa: Due to the irregular blood flow and hormonal changes, women feel tired and at times stressful. Moringa leaf, with 17 times more calcium than that of milk and 10 times more vitamin A than that of carrots, helps to alleviate the symptoms of menopause.The high vitamin C content of moringa is known for its effect on the immune system and it also strengthens the blood vessels. The Bio-flavonoids such as Quercetin, present in moringa Leaf powder, is believed to reduce the hot flushes. The high Vitamin E content, present in moringa, is also helpful for vaginal dryness and one study showed that just 400IU of vitamin E taken per day for between one and four months helped women.
Bitterleaf: Bitter leaf is another nature’s gift that takes care of such symptoms as hot flashes, internal heat. Though bitter leaf does not supply oestrogen, it helps the body to produce the right amount of oestrogen needed for life’s function.
Soy:Some experts recommend soy for the relief of hot flashes. Soy compounds, called isoflavones, mimic estrogen in the body. Soy’s beneficial effects through diet were originally highlighted by studies showing substantial differences between high intake especially among Asian women versus low intake of dietary soy. Studies show that soy proteins may help support healthy high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, having a positive influence on heart health. New research also shows that soy isoflavones also act as antioxidants; helping to inhibit the production of free radicals, which are associated with ageing.
Foods rich in vitamin D:Getting enough vitamin D is also important for protecting your bones during menopause. Vitamin D comes from the sun, but many experts say it’s vital for women’s health to take a vitamin D supplement to ensure you’re getting enough, especially in non-sunny climates. The official recommended daily dose is only 600 international units for most people but its best to talk to your doctor about the right amount for you.
Fruits and vegetables:Generally, target lots of fruits and vegetables because your metabolism slows down as you get older. Also, women in their mid-forties tend to become more sedentary, making you gain weight.By filling up on low-calorie fruits and vegetables, you can help minimize weight gain while getting the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
Flaxseed: Flaxseed is a wonderful plant-based food with omega-3 fatty acids. Though they are not grown in Nigeria, they can be found in some pharmacies. Flaxseeds eases menopausal symptoms.In a small, preliminary study, women reduced their hot flashes by eating two tablespoons of ground flaxseed, twice daily, mixed into their food.In another study which compared flaxseeds to pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy (HRT), researchers from the departments of nursing and pharmacy at Turkey’s Izmir Katip Celebi University,found that flaxseedsreduced menopausal symptoms by half.The flaxseed findings need to be confirmed, so flaxseed isn’t guaranteed to soothe hot flashes.Try sprinkling ground flaxseed on foods, it adds fiber to your diet, keeps your arteries healthy, and has some estrogen-like compounds.
Low-calorie foods in general:The plain truth is that your calorie needs decline with every decade of life. The less weight you gain during menopause, the better your menopause symptoms in general, so it’s worth adopting a diet of low fat, healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, that will help you maintain your weight.
Cut back on the following
Alcohol: Alcohol is thought to raise oestrogen levels temporarily, but the sudden drop once the alcohol is metabolised, can trigger a hot flush. Excess alcohol can also increase breast cancer risk. However, the occasional glass of red wine may be beneficial for the heart. Red wine contains resveratrol, a phytoestrogen that has oestrogen-like effects.
Caffeine: Caffeine is bad for the bone and it can exacerbate bladder problems that often occur with menopause. Studies show any more than three to four caffeinated drinks a day can make hot flushes worse.
Highly fatty foods:Fat should provide 25 per cent to 35 per cent or less of your total daily calories. Also, limit saturated fat to less than 7 per cent of your total daily calories. Saturated fat raises cholesterol and boosts your risk for heart disease. It’s found in fatty meats, whole milk, ice creams and other junk foods. Limit cholesterol to 300 milligrams or less per day.
Use salt in moderation:Too much sodium in the diet is linked to high blood pressure. Even if you don’t develop high blood pressure from eating too much salt, you may still be damaging your blood vessels, heart, kidneys and brain. According to a study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, it showed that high levels of salt consumption have harmful effects on a number of organs and tissues, even in people who are salt-resistant.