Dr Potter shares advice for ‘menopause belly’
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Menopause causes many hormonal changes within a woman’s body that might lead to excessive weight gain around their mid-sections. But there are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to a diet that Dr Clare Spencer from My Menopause Centre told Express.co.uk women must take into account.
She revealed there are certain foods that help manage the long-term health consequences of menopause that can also have a big impact on weight loss.
What food women should be eating
It’s no secret that eating more protein is good for weight loss, as it can help reduce cravings for unhealthy foods and “bad” carbohydrates.
“Swings in blood sugar can trigger hot flushes and changes in mood such as anxiety,” Dr Spencer revealed.
“Eating food with a low glycaemic index such as wholegrain-containing food like porridge, lentils, green vegetables, sweet potatoes, most fruit, can help avoid this.”
She continued to explain eating a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, as the diet is rich in fruit and vegetables, oily fish, such as sardines, and wholegrain cereals, with modest amounts of meat and low-fat dairy.
And to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, women need a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, plus B vitamins, vitamins C, E and K and a number of minerals.
Dr Spencer added: “These vitamins and minerals are all found in food that make up a healthy balanced diet.”
But she made clear that food rich in calcium doesn’t just mean dairy. Other calcium-rich foods include green leafy vegetables, almonds, dried fruit, pulses, sardines and fortified foods such as cereal, where extra calcium has been added.
“Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and vitamin D-rich foods include oily fish, eggs and fortified bread and cereal,” she said.
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The medical professional suggested eating foods that contain phytoestrogens, which are weak plant-based oestrogens and are found in soya-based foods, such as:
Soya yogurt (stay away from high-sugar ones)
Red clover tea.
She explained: “Evidence for the benefits of adding them to your diet is lacking, but there’s some evidence to suggest that women in countries where diets are traditionally rich in phytoestrogens experience fewer menopausal symptoms and have a lower rate of heart disease and osteoporosis.”
Food menopausal women should avoid
Dr Spencer advised women to avoid sugar and foods with high glycaemic index, which can cause swings in blood sugar and high blood levels of sugar.
This can make it “more likely” for anything extra to be stored as fat, therefore it’s best to avoid or limit foods such as biscuits, cakes, crisps, white bread and bagels.
Caffeine and alcohol can also alter blood sugar levels, with the latter known to cause unhealthy food cravings.
“It goes without saying that avoiding or reducing alcohol can have a positive effect on how you feel,” she said.
“Avoid foods with poor nutritional value, make sure that, if you need fewer calories, those calories contain as much nutritional content as possible.
“Working with a dietician or nutritionist can help you work this out!”
Dr Spencer also warned that while tasty, spicy food can trigger hot flushes and sweats.
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