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What To Eat 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.

Menopause is a huge eye-opener that your body is undergoing dramatic changes. It’s time to take great care of yourself by making prudent healthy lifestyle choices. Lifestyle modifications, eating right and staying physically active help work through menopause.

Understanding menopause - Symptoms of menopause

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Women tend to get considerably alarmed as menopause approaches. Common manifestations of this midlife transition include - hot flushes, anxiety, mood swings, sweating, exhaustion, depression and poor memory. Long term ramifications are – drop in libido, cardiac disorders, osteoporosis, and dementia.

While most of us lament about what we can't alter and how menopause hits us hard, there are in fact a whole host of things that you can do to age healthfully and gracefully and make a smooth changeover.

The symptoms of menopause are brought on by an alteration in your hormone profile. With age, the ovaries manufacture reduced quantities of estrogen and progesterone. A dip in these hormones is typically seen as irregular periods. In the fourth or fifth decade, a woman’s ovaries no longer release eggs and the menstrual cycle abates. Consequently, all the clinical manifestations commence.

Dietary suggestions during menopause

Maintaining a wholesome diet is the foremost step to caring for your health during menopause. The symptoms of menopause and diet go hand-in-hand and it has been substantiated that eating right and steering clear of certain specific foods can help make menopause a lot more endurable. A profusion of symptoms come on as menopause gets down to business and being aware of the symptoms allows you to assert control over your feminine health. We’ve rounded up an inventory of foods to help make the unavoidable a little bit less nerve-wracking!

5 Powerful menopause-friendly foods

During menopause, women face considerable health issues; here’s a detailed explanation for healthy diet and food for women who are in their peri-menopausal and menopausal years.

1. Load up on calcium: Radish At menopause, you are at a huge risk for developing osteoporosis. Statistics reveal that 1 out of 2 post menopausal women consume half the RDA for calcium. By consuming adequate amounts of calcium before, during, and after menopause, you can most definitely decelerate the loss of bone as well as the development of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Step up your daily intake of dairy, dark leafy greens, almonds, broccoli, and sesame seeds. You could also talk to your OB/GYN and start a calcium supplement.

2. Amp up on the sunshine vitamin! You must ensure that you consume sufficient amounts of foods rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D is required to absorb calcium and to prevent bone loss. Foods that are chockfull of vitamin D are - fatty fish and foods that have been fortified with the vitamin. You may also consider embarking upon supplementation; confer with your health care provider.

3. Fibre to thwart heart diseases: Estrogen shields women from the ravages of cardiac diseases; accordingly, when the level of estrogen drops, the risk of developing heart diseases shoots rapidly, making cardiac disorders the primary cause of death after menopause. Fortunately, you can cut back on this risk significantly by consuming the right diet and exercising regularly. A high fibre diet is your best friend – eat lots of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and beans and legumes. These are packed with heart-friendly fibre which keep your lipid profile normal, ensure the cholesterol levels don’t skyrocket and keep your blood pressure within the standard range.

4. Complex carbs to reduce depression: When the hormones start decreasing, the brain chemistry gets altered too, especially levels of the nerve chemical – serotonin. Menopausal women often grapple with depression and are seen to have lower levels of serotonin. When serotonin levels drop, you feel grumpy and grouchy and crave sweets; conversely, good levels of serotonin switch off cravings and reinstate a pleasant mood. You can deal with depression and mood swings by having a carbohydrate-rich snack every evening. Opt for rava idli, whole wheat toast or popcorn. Including complex carbs is can help greatly help enhance serotonin levels and to boost your mood. Also, make sure that you begin your day with a wholesome breakfast and do not miss any meal through the day; this makes sure that your blood sugar levels stay steady. Oscillating blood sugar levels also cause irritability, gloom and mood swings.

5. Chomp on almonds! Experts have stated that you should eat almonds every single day for good nutritional support during menopause. Almonds are brimming over with healthy fat, which effectively counters the drying effects of dipping estrogen levels. Almonds are also jam-packed with vitamin E, magnesium, and riboflavin. They make a smart addition to your diet.

As is with any phase in life, there aren’t any quick fix solutions when it comes to successfully managing menopause. Incorporate the right diet in to your regime and stay physically active. Yoga, Tai Chi, low-impact aerobics, and walking are fantastic options to stay active in your menopausal and post menopausal years. You should also integrate relaxation techniques and mediation in to your routine to lessen anxiety and apprehension. Understanding menopause and ensuring an early intervention helps you embrace menopause in a smooth manner.



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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