Menopause Health and Nutrition
Menopause is a crucial phase in women’s health. The health problems associated with menopause are many. So, it is essential to make right choices in nutrition leading up to menopause and beyond. During menopause, women experience a wide range of hormone changes, leading to various physical and mental symptoms. It is important to handle the menopause problems with good nutrition and appropriate lifestyle changes.
Menopause is a transitional time-period in very women’s life, annunciating the end of the fertile years. This is a normal health condition that every women experience as they age. Menopause term is used to describe the transitional phase when a woman stops menstruating and goes through changes in body hormones. It usually occurs in their mid-40s but can differ, depending on various factors. Menopause occurs due to the reduced production of oestrogen hormones in the ovaries. This reduced oestrogen production leads to changes in energy levels, bone health, memory, urinary system, hormones, and heart health. Maintaining a healthy menopause can be done through eating right foods combined with enough physical activity. It can make a difference to menopause health and make you feel good during and after menopause.
Nutrition for menopause
Apart from good diet, it is also necessary to take supplements. You have to consult with a dietitian or physician to have a balanced level of supplement with essential nutrients. Establishing healthy eating habits will benefit a lot to counteract the decline of oestrogen hormone production. The body requires enough nutrients from the right foods to adapt to the hormone changes. There are several specific nutrients that would keep you healthy during the menopause period and afterwards.
Phytoestrogens are plant-derived compounds or xenoestrogens that wields an estrogen-like action on the body. These compounds are found in a wide variety of food, notably soy. Soy Isoflavones are found in soya beans, soya milk, soya flour, tofu, and soya based products. These have positive effect on health because of two prominent soy isoflavones called genistein and daidzein. During digestion the isoflavones are converted into phytoestrogen composition and help maintain menopause health. Soy proteins support healthy HDL cholesterol, and have a positive influence on heart health. Certain studies show soy isoflavones as antioxidants that help inhibit the free radicals production.
Gamma Linolenic Acid (G.L.A)
GLA is an essential fatty acid primarily found in vegetable oils. GLA regulates hormonal balance and supports menopause health. It is found in hemp seed oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil, and blackcurrant seed oil. GLA is the precursor for the prostaglandin PGE1 production in the body. GLA Synthesis and prostaglandin synthesis are characterized by minerals such as zinc and magnesium as well as vitamins such as vitamin C, B6 and niacin respectively. They synthesize GLA from Linolenic Acid and convert to prostaglandins.
The decline of oestrogen levels in the female body leads to lower bone density problems and osteoporosis (brittle bones). This is why calcium intake is necessary. Add more of dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, cheese, as well as sardines and small fish with bones. Vegetables such as broccoli including nuts and seeds help support healthy bone density. To ensure calcium is absorbed fully, these foods should be combined with phosphorus-rich foods like peanuts, cheese, meat, onions, and garlic as well as vitamin D-rich foods such as oily fish, eggs, lentils, and brown rice.
Avoid drinking carbonated drinks and tea. Also avoid high protein diets that can interfere with calcium absorption.
[Also Read : 10 Calcium-rich Foods]
Hormone imbalance can cause oxidative stress and affect the body system’s ability to detoxify and repair cell damage. Foods rich in Antioxidants help prevent free radical body damage. Some of the foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E are necessary.
Pantothenic acid helps in adrenal glands functioning. Whole-grain cereals, legumes, meat, and eggs contain pantothenic acid. This forms the major sources of oestrogens in the body after the menopause.
B vitamins play a major role in central nervous system and brain functions and thus helps maintain an emotional balance during the menopause period. Foods with vitamin B1 (Thiamin) such as oatmeal, flax seeds, brown rice, pork liver, beef, eggs, asparagus kale, potatoes, cauliflower, and oranges help in maintaining oestradiol action in the body. Vitamin B6 combined with magnesium help maintains a healthy mood. Good sources of Vitamin B6 are meats, vegetables, whole grain products, and nuts. Moreover, vitamin B12, niacin and folate become essential for healthy nervous system.
Apart from these nutrition supplements, keeping you physically fit helps in controlling hormones. Exercise also has a positive effect on emotions and mental health. Yoga helps maintain flexibility and joint movement.
- Maintain a positive lifestyle by avoiding smoking or drinking habits.
- Maintain a healthy lean body mass and body weight.
- Sleep well and relieve from any stress.