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For women transitioning into menopause, it can be a challenging and confusing time. They will experience a number of symptoms such as weight gain, mood swings, hot flushes and irregular periods among others.
When it comes to losing weight, changing a person’s diet and getting more exercise are usually the go-to methods for many.
But for menopausal women, what they eat might impact the severity of their symptoms.
While it may help one issue, it could trigger and aggravate another and they can feel overwhelmed on knowing where to start with so much unregulated advice available.
Nutrition therapist at vitamin company Solgar, Ian Marber, revealed there are certain elements of a woman’s diet they can change in order to help soothe symptoms of menopause.
He said: “There are a multitude of issues that typify menopause, including disrupted sleep, weight gain and lack of clarity.
“Just as we are all unique, the array of symptoms can be too, but some tweaks to the diet may make issues easier to manage.”
He continued: “It may not seem like cutting-edge nutrition to advise eating plenty of fruits and vegetables but doing so may result in a reduction in the severity and incidence of symptoms such as hot flushes and weight gain.
“It’s not just the five plus a day but variety too, so eat as wide an array of produce as possible!”
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Omega-3 fatty acids have various potential health benefits, one of which is aiding weight loss.
According to Healthline, fish oil omega-3s especially can help people lose inches and shed body fat.
This is “important” for menopausal women as it could help them tackle their belly fat, which is brought on by the midlife change.
Not only that, but Ian also noted they could play a role in reducing the severity of other symptoms.
“Although the research into the link between these beneficial fats and night sweats was inconclusive, some women found that omega-3 fats were beneficial.
“But there are many other reasons to enjoy oily fish, walnuts, chia seeds, tofu and avocado as their omega-3 content contributes to maintaining normal vision, blood pressure and triglycerides in the blood.”
Ian explained: “As oestrogen levels drop, so can muscle mass and bone density.
“Eating adequate levels of protein is especially important at this stage to counteract this.”
For people looking to lose weight, current guidelines state they should aim for a daily protein intake between 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Professor Stuart Phillips at a University in Ontario, Canada, explained this is because as people grow older muscle mass decreases, bones become weaker and it becomes harder to lose weight and keep it off.
And this is especially the case during menopause due to the many hormonal changes.
Ian suggested: “Whilst most women do eat enough, it may be sensible to increase it.”
This would workout on average to about 25g per meal throughout the day.
Avoid highly processed foods
This may seem like common sense for women wanting to rid themselves of unwanted pounds but Ian revealed even one binge can raise levels of blood glucose which can then worsen the severity of hot flushes.
“Minimising foods that are broken down rapidly in the digestive system can be helpful,” he said.
“These include foods that contain added sugars, as well as those that have been highly processed.
“An easy way to influence a favourable level of blood glucose and avoid the highs that are linked with hot flushes is to combine protein with complex carbohydrates every time you eat.
“It results in a more even creation of glucose from food. This may also help reduce cravings for sweeter food in between meals,” he added, explaining this is “key” for weight loss.
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