You already know that a well balanced diet is beneficial to your overall health as a woman. But did you know that eating the right foods during menopause could actually help in soothing symptoms?
Keeping your bones strong through menopause will help to prevent possible fractures and osteoporosis as you age. Eating foods high in calcium and vitamin D is the best way to protect your bone health. Try adding things like low-fat yogurt, spinach and broccoli to your diet.
Foods High in Calcium: Cheese, yogurt, milk, sardines and dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips and collard greens.
Foods High in Vitamin D: Seafood’s like canned tuna, oysters and shrimp, as well as egg yolks, mushrooms, oatmeal and fortified orange juice.
Every woman will experience mood swings during menopause. Eating foods that are rich in omega-3s and B vitamins can help fight feelings of depression and anxiety during menopause. You can increase omega-3s in your diet by adding flaxseeds and oily fish like salmon or tuna. Unprocessed foods, such as poultry and lean meats, are full of B vitamins.
Foods High in Omega-3s: Flaxseed oil, chia seeds and walnuts, as well as oily fish like salmon and mackerel.
Foods High in B Vitamins: Shellfish, crab, lean red meats, chicken, eggs and Swiss cheese.
Experiencing hot flashes and night sweats can become a real inconvenience for menopausal women. Increasing fiber in your diet may help stabilize estrogen levels and lessen symptoms. An added benefit to adding fiber can be a slimmer waistline.
Foods High in Fiber: Beans and peas such as lentils, black beans, green peas and lima beans, as well as artichokes, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Bran cereals are great, too, but you’ll want to check the label to avoid cereals high in sugar.
During menopause your bone-building estrogen declines, so the amount of daily calcium you need increases to 1,200 mg. You can achieve this by consuming several servings of calcium-rich foods throughout the day, such as 1 cup low-fat milk, ½ cup low-fat yogurt, 1 cup cooked spinach and 1 ounce part-skim mozzarella cheese.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, keeps your immune system strong and may protect you against breast and colon cancers. Foods rich in vitamin D include mushrooms, salmon, tuna, mackerel and other fatty fish.
Foods to Avoid
Foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean protein foods contain the nutrients you need without adding too many calories. Avoid the following:
- Processed Foods. Potato chips and cookies are usually loaded with salt or sugar and can make you retain water and feel bloated. Try healthier snacks like string cheese, carrots dipped in hummus or a few whole-grain crackers with peanut butter.
- Spicy Foods. Foods that rate high on the heat scale can trigger hot flashes. Skip the jalapenos and use spices that provide flavor without as much heat, such as cumin, curry, turmeric and basil.
- Fast Food. Burgers, fries and other fast foods that are high in fat can increase your risk for heart disease. Instead, have healthy foods on hand by freezing leftovers at home or packing a lunch. When going out, choose healthier items on the menu, such as a grilled-chicken sandwich on a whole-grain bun.
- Caffeine. Women who consume caffeine are more likely to have hot flashes than those who don’t, according to a recent study. If you’re craving a warm drink, try a hot ginger or peppermint tea or a coffee substitute.
- Fatty Meats. Besides being high in saturated fat, foods like brisket and bacon can lower the body’s serotonin levels. Shop for leaner alternatives like chicken, turkey and ground beef that’s 90 percent lean or better.
- Alcohol. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink a day. According to the North American Menopause Society, women who have 2–5 drinks a day have 1.5 times the risk for breast cancer as those who don’t drink at all. Heavy drinking can also increase your risk for heart disease, and some women find that alcohol makes them more susceptible to hot flashes.
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