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Menopause, and Our Womanly Bodies

When a woman is undergoing menopause, estrogen levels decrease dramatically. When this occurs, weight is redistributed to the stomach, with an increase of cholesterol, risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.

Some experts argue that it is not Menopause specifically that causes woman to put on weight but a combination of things that are likely to occur during this time period in their lives. Naturally, as people age, muscle mass decreases and the metabolism will slow down, the body requiring fewer calories. More than often, the calorie intake remains the same. In addition to this weight gain and muscle loss, the older people get, the less they tend to be active, so not only are they now eating more calories than the body requires, they are burning less. Last but not least is the role of stress. Woman at this age has lived through at least half a lifetime of it. During this time they have endured stress that may have involved children and also the additional stress of menopause itself. Stress leads to weight gain and comfort eating.

Food should include high amounts of calcium through semi skimmed milk and yoghurt. Some people like soya milk but make sure it is organic.
This provides the body with lots of calcium to lower the risk of osteoporosis that woman are at a high risk of in this time of their lives. There are a number of foods a woman should avoid to help deal with hot flushes, a side effect of menopause. This includes coffee and alcohol which are generally foods not recommended as of part of any healthy diet, however we have to be realistic here, life would be boring if you have to cut out some of you favourite things, but you should reduce the quantity. A strong emphasis on fresh fruit and vegetables which again is not surprising. In addition to this lean meat is a component of the main meals with dried fruit and nuts for snacks in between. All these suggested foods contain vitamins and minerals that are of value for menopausal symptoms, as well as being a good base for a healthy diet and weight loss/management.

Keep hydrated drink lots of water throughout the day.

Foods that are strongly encouraged in the menopause diet are:

  • Oily fish – salmon, sardines , fresh tuna, mackerel (Omega 3)
  • Nuts – almonds, brazils, and walnuts (Omega 3, calcium)
  • Seeds – Flax seeds sesame seeds, pumpkin (Omega 3, calcium)
  • Whole grains (Vitamin B)
  • Lead red meat (Vitamin B and iron)
  • Legumes – Soya beans, lentils, chickpeas (Vitamin B, Isoflavones)
  • Low-fat yoghurt (Calcium)
  • Fat reduced cheese (Calcium)
  • Whitefish (Calcium)
  • Vegetables – Dark leafy greens, yams, bean sprouts, peppers,broccoli (Calcium, Vitamin C, Minerals)
  • Fruit (Potassium and anti-oxidants)