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Foods To Avoid During Menopause

This article is authored by Dr. Shweta U. Shah. A practicing homeopath, she follows a patient-centred perspective, emphasizing the benefits of natural remedies and herbs, homeopathy and whole food nutrition.

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On an average, menopause hits you in your 4th or 5th decade; that’s when the ovaries stop discharging eggs, and the menstrual cycle comes to a standstill. When you go without a menstrual period for 6 to 12 months, that is what is classified as menopause. A majority of women wrestle with the dreadful symptoms as this happens. This change is attributed to a drop in the manufacturing of the hormone estrogen. As the ovaries cease to produce estrogen, symptoms commence. Most women are terrified of the term menopause and its ramifications. Common manifestations include – intense sweating, hot flushes, mood swings, anxiety, exhaustion and insomnia. Long term implications include – cardiac disorders, osteoporosis, depression and dementia - massively damaging women’s health.

As you move in to menopause, it is very crucial that you watch your diet carefully and make the necessary lifestyle modifications that’ll ensure a smooth transition. Eating less-than-healthy foods can aggravate your menopause symptoms significantly. Knowing what foods to stay away from can make this changeover more manageable and less painful.

Clinical trials and studies have shown that women who ate a diet packed with nutrient dense foods and fresh fruits and vegetables were less prone to the awful menopausal symptoms, compared to women whose diet comprised of greasy foods and sweets. Reducing your intake of certain specific foods can help ease a lot of distress that has been associated with menopause, and menopause symptoms. Steering clear of these foods can also help you stay healthy in the years to come.

3 Foods that aggravate the symptoms of menopause

Processed Foods
Biscuits, cakes, donuts, cookies, wafers and crisps all taste simply wonderful, but they’re loaded with excessive sodium, sugar, and trans fats. They cause water retention, bloating, make you put on unsightly kilos, trigger mood swings and set off fluctuations in your blood sugar as well as blood pressure levels. Fatty foods and high sodium foods significantly increase your risk for cardiac diseases – and since you are already at a risk for heart-related ailments post-menopause, given that the protective hormones have dwindled, you definitely need to avoid them. These foods greatly exacerbate all the menopausal symptoms. Sugary foods prompt a sudden rise in the blood sugar profile, followed by a sharp downwards spiral – this causes mood swings and exhaustion. Watch the amount of fat you consume and drastically cut back on sugar. Make sure your menu is a lesson in women’s health - chockfull of complex carbs and beans; they steady your blood sugar level and keep you feeling fuller for longer. When hunger pangs strike, try healthy alternatives, like – a whole wheat sandwiches, dhokla, idli chutney, hummus, puffed rice, etc. the list is endless! They are the perfect nibbles and do not pump you full of the symptom-triggering villains!

Excessive Caffeine
Studies show that coffee most definitely worsens your menopause symptoms; especially the hot flashes, mood swings and fatigue. Menopausal women who consume caffeinated drinks are more susceptible to the agonizing symptoms, compared to women who don’t. So, in case you are used to jump-starting your day with a mug of coffee, you should consider making a switch. Swap your morning coffee for ginger tea, basil tea or white tea. In order to battle the mid-afternoon slump, try a yogurt smoothie or a fresh fruit instead of depending on caffeine for a kick!

Spicy Foods
Radish Foods listed high up on the heat scale set off profuse sweating and hot flashes, subjecting you to unimaginable suffering. Steer clear of these altogether. If you’re wondering what your meals would taste like without spices and are worried about having to eat bland - stop panicking! To jazz up a bland dish, sprinkle oodles of other spices – select from turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, basil, and cardamom. These provide loads of flavour without as much heat and also proffer health benefits to deal with peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms. Spices hold a whole horde of health benefits for our body. Include Tata Sampann spices in your food as they contain natural oils. These natural oils are responsible for each spice’s benefits, color and flavour – and will help your #SpiceUpYourHealth.

Remember, the chief dietary recommendation to allay your menopausal symptoms and to assure yourself a smooth transition is to eat a lot of plant foods. Step up your consumption of phyto-estrogens – these are plant compounds that have the ability to bind to the estrogen receptors and can possibly restore some of the effect of the hormone estrogen that is now not being manufactured. Along with a healthy dietary pattern, make sure you get plenty of exercise and manage your stress well. All these will assist in the pursuit of an all-round healthy lifestyle and help make the mid-life changeover smooth.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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Diet, exercise and sunlight: Three factors women shouldn’t ignore for good bone health

Dr. Dharini Krishnan

Dr. Dharini Krishnan
11 January 2021

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

Barring a significant injury or fracture, we rarely tend to think about bone health. Yet, for women, particularly those who are middle-aged or older, this is a vital concern because of the risk of osteoporosis.

In 2013, it was estimated that there were 50 million Indians who were osteoporotic or having low bone mass. Some studies have found that the prevalence of osteoporosis could be as high as 42.5% in women over the age of 50.

Osteoporosis and health complications

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Osteoporosis comes from the Latin for “porous bone”, and is a condition where bone tissue loses its density, and becomes weaker and more fragile. Such bones are easily susceptible to breaks, resulting in pain, disability and loss of functionality in everyday life.

Bones, which form the primary supporting framework of the body, grow from birth till our early twenties, which is the period of peak bone mass. Bone is an active tissue that undergoes regular replacement in conditions of health.

In osteoporosis, however, bone formation is outpaced by bone loss, leading to porosity or thinness of bone tissue and brittle bones. Such bones could easily be fractured even in the absence of significant trauma. Such fractures tend to reduce mobility and lead to increased hospitalization and dependence on others.

Why osteoporosis affects women more

Women are particular at risk for osteoporosis because they have lesser bone mass to start with. The geometry and structure of bone have also been increasingly recognized as important risk factors for fracture.

The risk of osteoporosis significantly rises during menopause because of the hormonal changes women undergo at the time. This is because estrogen plays a significant role in maintaining bone health, and the secretion of this hormone falls drastically during menopause.

The importance of protein and calcium in the diet

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For some time now, awareness of the importance of calcium for bone health has been growing. Hence, women are advised to consume sufficient amounts of dairy, green leafy vegetables, soya products and nuts.

What many don’t realise is that sufficient levels of protein are just as important for strong bones. After all, protein makes up roughly 50% of bone volume and about one-third of its mass. Daily intake of protein is also necessary to provide the raw materials for bone formation. Unfortunately, research shows that the levels of dietary protein consumed by Indians are actually reducing.

For non-vegetarians chicken, fish and eggs are good sources of protein. For vegetarians, pulses are one of the primary sources of protein, along with dairy products. Daily intake of protein in at least two major meals of the day, particularly in healthy forms such as sambhar or dal is, therefore, vital.

The role of exercise and sunlight

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Bone health also requires good muscle health. This makes it necessary to undertake moderate exercise as often as possible. A 45-minute walk six days a week as well as resistance training using the body weight, such as surya namaskaras, can go a long way to building muscles. Importantly, the body also requires Vitamin D to mobilize calcium for bone health. Hence, exposure to peak sunlight between 11am and 3 pm at least twice a week is also vital for bone health.

Osteoporosis can be a serious health problem that disrupts life and limits mobility, particularly for women. However, a healthy diet, rich in calcium and protein, together with exercise, can go a long way in maintaining bone health.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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