Hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, irritability and weight gain are the main symptoms that menopausal women may experience during this stage of life as a result of a progressive decline in levels of estrogen in organism.
To relieve these bothersome symptoms, and to prevent the development of certain diseases in the future, during menopause (which usually starts around 45 or 50 years and concludes at 55) women should adopt a lifestyle as healthy as possible, which fall into three basic premises: exercise, herbal remedies and dietary changes.
In this sense, I detail some special dietary guidelines that will help you in this delicate, but especial moment in your life:
1. Control your weight and, if it is needed, start a slimming diet, because having a healthy weight helps improving and reducing hot flashes in most of cases.
2. Sage infusions (1 to 1.5 liters per day). This plant achieves a notable reduction of hot flashes and a significant diuretic effect. Also you can find in tablets or capsules. It is important to stay well hydrated.
3. Add to your diet whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables in abundance, as well as soybeans and soy products (tofu, soy beverages, soy nuts,…). They will provide all the minerals, vitamins, fiber, phytoestrogens and bioflavonoids you need. Soy isoflavones may help you reducing hot flashes, fatigue, night sweats and mood changes, and increase your bones density.
4. One or two tablespoons of flaxseed a day, they are the best source of lignans, ie, a type of phytoestrogen that reduces the uncomfortable flushing. You can grind and add to yogurt.
5. Take foods rich in calcium and vitamin D (necessary for calcium absorption succeed), such as milk and other dairy products. Opt for low-fat and, if desired, enriched products. Thus, you will be helping to prevent the development of osteoporosis. Other good sources of calcium include sardines, raw almonds, broccoli and spinach. We can generate vitamin D by exposure to sunlight, but also we can be found it in fortified milk and margarine, eggs and fish oils.
6. Another important mineral at this stage of women life is magnesium which, together with calcium, helps maintaining a proper bone density. That is why I recommend you again a regular intake of whole grains, low fat milk and dairy, tofu, nuts, seeds and legumes.
7. Limit consumption of exciting foods such as coffee, tea, chocolate, cola drinks, alcohol and spicy foods as they may exacerbate hot flashes, insomnia and mood swings.
8. In order to maintain a proper weight or to lose those extra pounds is essential that your diet is as varied and balanced as possible. Don’t get bogged down if you notice that during this stage of your life you gain weight more easily. It usually happens to the vast majority of women! And of course, what you should NEVER do is to reduce food intake or follow overly restrictive eating patterns that could endanger your health.
9. It is important to make a generous breakfast, so start your day with the best of your smiles and energy to spare. I offer a few options:
- A glass of skimmed milk (rich in calcium and vitamin D), 30 grams of whole grains with no added sugar (wheat, spelt, oats,…) and a natural fruit juice (orange, apple, grapefruit, kiwi,…).
- A skimmed and naturally sweetened yogurt, a handful of almonds, other of dried fruit (dates, prunes and raisins, dried figs, dried apricots,…), about 100 grams of red fruits (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries) and infusion sweetened with honey.
- Brown bread with extra virgin olive oil, 2 slices of turkey breast, fresh fruit juice and a cup of decaffeinated coffee with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk.
10. Regarding lunch and dinner, I offer some combinations:
- Rocket salad, cherry tomatoes, carrots, nuts, white low-fat cheese and black olives + White fish stewed + Skimmed yogurt with flaxseeds.
- Brown rice with grilled vegetables + Grilled chicken + Peach and hazelnuts.
- Scrambled eggs with mushrooms and vegetables + Grilled sardines + Pear compote with no added sugar.
- Lentils and vegetables stew + 30 grams of ham or sliced chicken breast + Yogurt with pineapple.
- Zucchini puree with low-fat cheeses + Grilled sole with roasted tomatoes + Skimmed natural yogurt with flaxseeds and cashews.
- Sautéed spinach with pine nuts and raisins + Consommé with chicken and whole noodles + Cottage cheese and honey.
- Steamed mussels + Roasted peppers and tuna + Baked apple with no added sugar.
- Salad with avocado, onion and corn + Crab sticks + Skimmed yogurt with flaxseeds and dried prunes.
The arriving of menopause to your life should be a reason for internal reflection and acceptance of a new step in your evolution as a woman. Therefore, it is important to take it with optimism. All your physical changes and psychological disorders are the result of hormonal adjustment that will determine a new stage in your life, it is the step that will push to a new level. Besides being positive, you should pamper yourself more than ever. How can you do it? Accepting the laws of mother Nature and offering all of you to feel your best. Exercise your body to free your mind of negative thoughts, have fun, follow a balanced and varied diet, and above all, feel proud to have reached to this new stage because the simple fact of get here represents a success for yourself. So, encouragement and positive energy!
And enjoy every bite of your life!