Menopause and Diet
Some people say menopause is a natural, positive experience. Fair enough, But the symptoms and side-effects
of menopause can be bewildering both to women patients and their doctors. Fortunately, a healthy diet combined with regular physical exercise really does make a difference. So whether you are in the perimenopause, menopause, or post-menopausal stage, take my advice: eat healthily and get fit.
Before we consider an optimum eating plan for menopause, here are some facts:
What Happens in Menopause
- The supply of eggs in a woman’s ovaries dwindles
- Result? Estrogen & progesterone hormone levels fluctuate, then decline
- Menstrual periods become irregular, then cease
- Due to hormone fluctuation, the body suffers a variety of side-effects
Health Effects of Menopause
The reduction in estrogen hormone supply leads to the following:
- Weight is redistributed to the central abdominal region (stomach)
- Cholesterol levels tend to rise
- There is an increased risk of heart disease
- There is an increased risk of osteoporosis (weak bones)
Does Menopause Cause Weight Gain?
Although experts concede that menopausal women tend to gain weight, they say it is not triggered by menopause. Instead, it is the result of three things:
1. Eating too many calories
Point is, as we get older, our muscle mass declines. Result? Our metabolic rate slows down, so we need fewer calories. Unfortunately, we don’t reduce our calorie intake, so in effect we overeat.
2. Insufficient Exercise
As we lose muscle strength, and get wealthier(!), we tend to take less physical exercise. Result? Our calorie expenditure falls.
3. Physical and Mental Stress
Whether from menopausal symptoms, the effects of mad teenage children or other mid-life problems, the result is the same. We turn to food for comfort.
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