5 steps to food and lifestyle during Menopause

Menopause symptoms result from hormonal changes that occur between the ages of 45-55 yr in women. Symptoms can include:

>hot flushes, night sweats

>palpitations

>pain during sex, dryness ,discomfort and itching

>insomnia

>loss of interest in sex

>change in period pattern

>headaches

>anxiety and depression

>urinary tract infections

>Heavy or light irregular periods

>weight gain

>joint pains

>irritability

As well these physical changes, there maybe increase in blood pressure, changes in blood cholesterol levels and osteoporosis weakening of the bone. These symptoms can last from 2-5 years.

Here are 5 simple steps you can take to help control your menopause symptoms with diet and lifestyle:

1. Have a healthy balanced varied diet choosing a variety of food from the four main food groups covered in my previous blogs e. g plenty of fruit & veg 5 serving s/day these are low in calories and high in fibre and rich in vitamins especially antioxidants and flavonoids which appear to protect your heart, low fat dairy food 3 servings/day to provide calcium to prevent Osteoporosis. A serving can be 1 cup of low fat milk 200ml, a matchbox size of low fat cheese and small pot of low fat yoghurt or custard or milk pudding. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium and can be made in the skin during the summer months or found in some foods e. g oily fish, cod liver oil, fortified margarine, cereals, butter, red meat or eggs

2. Try Beneficial foods can be pulses, beans and oils rich in phyto oestrogens. E. g soya beans, chick peas, cereal bran, oats, whole -grains, vegetables, legumes, fruit, linseeds (flaxseed) and their oils. Phytoestrogens are similar to oestrogen. In japan women who consumed phytoestrogens found their menopausal symptoms to be fewer.

3. Reduce your salt consumption. High intakes are associated with raised blood pressure. Avoid high salt foods e. g bacon, crisps, peanuts, processed meat, use less salt at the table, try herbs and spices instead. Check my previous blog on how to reduce your salt intake

4.Eat the right fats for your heart health. Eat less saturated and trans fats from fatty meats and processed meat products and remove skin from chicken, turkey and duck, less lard, ghee, butter, palm and coconut oil instead have unsaturated fats from olive oil ,rapeseed oil and sunflower oils and spreads, choose low fat milks, grill rather than fry food, less processed foods like crisps, pies and biscuits. Instead have oily fish 2 portions per week e. g sardines, pilchards, mackerel, salmon, trout, herring and fresh tuna

5.Lifestyle changes such as reduce your caffeine drinks from tea, coffee, cola instead drink more water or infused water, keep your alcohol intake to sensible limits and introduce regular exercise.

NOTE if you want try HRT or dietary supplements such as vitamin D then speak with your doctor.

>Reference BDA food facts, The Menopause Exchange, The British Menopause Society, NHS choices

>For specialised Diet and Nutrition advice seek the advice of a Professional Dietitian and Nutritionist Tabby kabeer

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