A woman’s life is generally marked by phases or cycles that always involve her body: the onset of menstruation, a possible pregnancy, menopause. Today we want to talk about this delicate phase for the female universe, which corresponds to the end of the menstrual cycle and the fertile age.
WATCH VIDEO: Importance of diet during menopause
Often the symptoms of this physiological event can create some problems, especially initially, so it may be useful to know, not only tips and remedies but also what is the best diet in menopause, to counteract the “side effects”, helping to live this moment with greater serenity.
To put it into context, it may be useful to remember that natural menopause occurs between the ages of 48 and 52 and is characterized by a significant lowering of the levels of estrogen, a female hormone, due to the depletion of the follicles. This new hormonal balance can cause manifestations that vary from woman to woman, even in intensity, however it is possible to identify some frequent symptoms that accompany this phase of female life:
- hot flashes
- sleep disorders
- slowing of the thyroid gland
- weight gain
- loss of calcium in the bones (osteoporosis)
- vaginal dryness
- decreased sexual desire
- problems with the cardiovascular system
- irritability and melancholy.
In particular, the decrease in estrogen leads to loss of calcium in the bones, so the bone is reduced by 20% in the first 30 months after menopause, putting the vertebrae at risk, for which calcium and vitamin D are needed. The weight gain, on the other hand, typical of menopause, is due to the slowing of the thyroid gland (hypothyroidism increases), for which the diet in menopause requires low-calorie foods. Not only that, as the interviewee recalls, in this period there is a deficit of magnesium and vitamins. It is immediately obvious, therefore, how nutrition is fundamental, in particular, to keep one of the most annoying symptoms that accompany it at bay, namely hot flashes.
Best Diet in Menopause- Antioxidants and Strategic Nutrients
In general, the nutritionist specifies that the menopausal diet should include calcium every day, oily fish three times a week, fiber, vitamins, bioflavonoids and antioxidants, a little salt, vegetables, and fruit four times a day, without forgetting to drink a lot of water. But let’s see specifically what are the useful foods to counteract the most common symptoms:
- soy (in moderation)
- walnuts, almonds, oilseeds
- extra virgin olive oil
- first pressing linseed oil
- bluefish and salmon
- White meat
- seasonal fruit and vegetables
- Red fruits
- Whole grains
- 1 square of extra-dark chocolate (for a good mood and metabolic balance).
Regarding the use of soy, it is good to specify that the scientific opinions are conflicting, so it is advisable to refer to your doctor and, in any case, to prefer tofu and natural products. On the contrary, white meats and fish are useful for fighting sweating, polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6) protect against cardiovascular diseases, without forgetting the role of phytoestrogens. Let’s see what it’s about.
THE ROLE OF PHYTOESTROGENS
Phytoestrogens are natural estrogens, which due to their chemical composition bind to estrogen receptors, protecting against many diseases: they have an antioxidant and anti-free radical action, they are useful in preventing breast and endometrial tumors, they help the memory and reduce dizziness, hot flashes, and palpitations. So where to find these allies in the menopausal diet? With the help of the expert, we discover that they are in inedible plants and in some foods such as:
- rye seeds
- flax seed
- sunflower seeds
- Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables
- blue raspberry
In addition to these foods useful in the menopausal diet, you can also benefit from the use of some herbs. Let’s find out together.
PHYTOTHERAPY IN MENOPAUSE
The use of herbs in menopause can improve mood, contribute to the hydration of the skin and mucous membranes, slow down bone decalcification, and reduce hot flashes and palpitations. These are herbs that contain phytoestrogens, phytohormones, such as ginseng, peppermint, and passionflower, but also remineralizing plants, such as fenugreek or painkillers, to counter arthritis and rheumatism, due to hormonal decline, as happens with the powerful Devil’s Claw. which can be used in the ointment. In particular, to reduce the symptoms of menopause and under medical indication, it may be useful to use:
- Hypericum – antidepressant, against hot flashes, sweating, redness. (May interfere with blood thinners and other medications)
- Angelica Sinensis – against hot flashes
- Red clover – against flushing, bone depletion, and vaginal dryness.
- Black Cohosh – to reduce anxiety (in the absence of liver disease).
FOODS TO AVOID
To conclude this discussion with the doctor, we just have to remember which foods to limit in the diet in menopause, as indeed, it also occurs in other health diets, for example, that for high cholesterol :
- dairy products and cheeses
- refined grains
- hydrogenated (trans) fats
- refined sweets and sugars
- Red meat
- sweetened and carbonated drinks
- tea (except green tea, rich in polyphenols) and coffee, which appear to increase hot flashes.
DIET IN MENOPAUSE AND SPORT
If we talk about diet in menopause, the nutritionist specifies the importance of accompanying it to adequate physical activity: doing sport regularly helps to reduce hot flashes quickly, keeping the whole body healthy. Some suitable activities could be, for example, running, cycling, tennis, skiing, and golf, but it is good to orient yourself according to your preferences and the degree of training, consulting your doctor first.