Dietary Tweaks to Consider as You Enter Menopause
Menopause can bring on irritating hot flashes but it can also affect your health in other ways – dry skin, bone loss and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, to name a few.
Making changes to your diet can help alleviate some of the most bothersome symptoms and elevated risks of entering this stage of life.
Here’s what to add to your shopping cart:
- More fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, growing older means a slower metabolism. Filling up on low-calorie, high-fiber fruits and vegetables will not only help you keep your weight in check, it will fill you up with the nutrients to boost your overall health.
- Calcium and vitamin D. Decreasing estrogen levels put your bones at risk for loss. Upping your calcium and vitamin D intake can help you fight back against osteoporosis and other skeletal issues. Add calcium-rich staples such as milk, yogurt and leafy greens, but also consider talking to your doctor about supplementation to meet your individual needs.
- Whole grains. Brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa contain energy-boosting B vitamins, plus folic acid and fiber, which are good for your heart.
- B vitamins. Besides boosting energy, B vitamins help manage stress and keep the digestive system functioning. Think of ways to add dark leafy greens, lentils, nuts, wheat germ, and lean protein sources.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are known to help with mood. Salmon, mackerel, chia seeds, walnuts, and spinach are all good sources.
- Protein. Lean cuts of meat, eggs and beans provide protein, B vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and B6), vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium.Proteins function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Consider cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, replacing both with water or herbal tea to improve hydration. Decrease added salt in your diet by using low-sodium versions of your favorite foods and avoiding processed salty snacks – too much sodium can cause you to retain fluids and raise blood pressure. If you’re bothered by hot flashes and night sweats, try to cut back on spicy foods, especially right before bed. Baked goods and processed sweet treats should also be enjoyed in moderation, in an effort to maintain a stable weight.
You might not love everything about menopause, but make sure to love yourself enough to make positive changes to help you live your best life, at every age.
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Photo credit: NatalieMaynor