As we get older, the digestive tract becomes less efficient and digestion takes longer.
Our body finds it more difficult to handle foods that are high in calories but low in nutrition. However, we still need the same amount of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals – sometimes more.
Diet Nutrition is Crucial
For optimum health and feelgood during menopause, focus on good diet nutrition. A healthy nutritious diet not only minimizes all the additional medical health risks of menopause and general ageing, it also reduces both physical and mental symptoms of menopausal life. Choose as many ‘natural’ foods as possible.
Healthy Menopause Diet – 15 Suggestions
- Boost your daily intake of fruits. Choose melons, bananas and citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, which are high in potassium. Potassium rich foods help balance sodium and water retention. Also include some dried fruit like apricots and figs.
- Boost your daily intake of vegetables (inc. salad) Choose in particular, yam, dark leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, spinach, pak choi, broccoli and cabbage, as well as peppers, tomatoes and a variety of others.
- Introduce soy foods (eg. soybeans, calcium-fortified soy milk, soy yogurt and tofu.) into your daily eating.
- Eat regular amounts of fiber, especially soluble fiber.
- Junk the fried foods, instead broil or bake.
- Junk the white bread/flour, eat wholegrain bread, oats, rye, wheatgerm.
- Junk the white rice (except basmati), switch to long grain brown rice.
- Eat fewer regular potatoes, eat more sweet potatoes and pasta.
- Add regular helpings of beans and lentils to your meals.
- Junk the processed cooking oils, switch to unprocessed oils. Choose extra virgin olive oil, canola, wheatgerm and flaxseed oil.
- Make oily fish (salmon, mackerel) a regular feature of your diet
Oily fish is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids which provides a huge range of health benefits.
- Snack on nuts (Brazils, walnuts), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, linseeds), dried fruit (apricots, figs).
- Try adding seaweed to your diet; ask at your local health food store. Choose Nori, Wakame, Kombu, Arame, which contain natural hormones and plant chemicals which help during menopause.
- Drink more mineral/bottled water, less caffeine and modest amounts of alcohol.
- Enjoy high-calorie junk foods as an occasional treat only
Healthy Eating Doesn’t Mean Being Perfect
You don’t have to follow all 15 of the above dietary suggestions. As long as your menopause eating habits don’t stray too far from my guidelines, you’ll do fine. That said, my eating advice should help to alleviate the symptoms of menopause, including: hot flashes, bloating, water retention, tiredness and depression. In addition, if you combine the eating advice with regular exercise, you will reduce weight and find it much easier to maintain a healthy weight as you get older.