As our bodies age, we go through many different changes. From menstruation to menopause, one stage ends, and another begins. Navigating menopause for the first time may be confusing, with new symptoms and questions on how to care for your body during this time. But monitoring your diet can help you through menopause and all its effects on your body.
What is menopause?
Menopause marks the natural end of the menstrual cycle, and usually happens between 45 and 55 years of age. During this time, your body will gradually slow down your monthly cycle and eventually stop your periods altogether. This occurs because your body stops producing hormones that contribute to menstruation.
How to tell if you’ve started menopause?
Symptoms of menopause vary widely depending on the individual. While some people don’t experience any symptoms and may feel relieved about their periods coming to an end, others may experience many. Some common symptoms include hot flashes and night sweats, trouble sleeping, mood swings and irritability, vaginal dryness, weight gain, and anxiety and depression.
Menopause, diet & nutrition
Hormonal changes during menopause often facilitate changes in our sleep, energy, and metabolism, as well as increase our risk for reduced bone density and developing heart disease.
What you eat always has an impact on your body, but during menopause, our diet becomes especially important. What we eat can help or hinder our symptoms!
Let’s discuss what foods to stay away from and which nutrients to focus on for the best possible preventative takeaways during these hormonal changes.
Foods to avoid
Alcohol and caffeine have been shown to trigger hot flashes and increase their severity as well. And since these foods are known to disrupt sleep, they may be good to avoid during menopause if you’re already having trouble sleeping.
Spicy foods may also increase hot flashes and worsen your menopausal symptoms.
Salty foods may be something you want to cut down on. This is because, with a decline in estrogen during menopause, you’re at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. Lowering your intake of sodium-rich foods can help lower your risk.
Foods to eat
Anti-inflammatory foods such as collard greens, kale, berries, turmeric, and ginger are excellent choices. These foods help reduce inflammation in the body, improve your energy levels, and promote overall health. Many of these foods also have flavonoids that help fight off free radicals that cause oxidative stress in your body.
Bone-building nutrients like milk and dairy products, sesame seeds, tofu, broccoli, and bok choy are rich in calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K. These are three essential nutrients that help prevent bone loss and risk of osteoporosis, especially important during menopause.
Fibre-dense foods, like lentils, beans, spinach, oats, and bananas can help you in many ways during menopause. From regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, and improving heart health, to promoting regular bowel movements, supporting weight loss, and regulating hormone levels, fibre does it all.
Healthy fats such as salmon, sardines, avocados, eggs, and nuts and seeds are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These have many benefits to counter symptoms of menopause, including improving brain function, reducing joint pain, keeping your skin moisturized, and building essential hormones.
In addition to eating a healthy and nutritious diet, taking dietary supplements can also help support you during menopause. CanPrev’s Meno-Prev + Mood & Memory is an herbal formula that provides relief from hot flashes, promotes healthy mood balance, enhances memory, and supports sexual health.
It’s also a good idea to start taking a daily multivitamin to make sure you’re covering all your nutritional bases. CanPrev Multi-Mix Multivitamin Passion Punch is a complete one-a-day formula with 25 essential vitamins and minerals, optimized for effective absorption. It’s designed to maintain healthy bones and cartilage while supporting healthy hair, skin, and nail growth, all of which are important during menopause.
Whether you’re just transitioning into menopause, or have been experiencing symptoms for a while, you can support your body by feeding it the right nutrients. Eating a diet rich in fibre, nutrient-packed fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and supplements where needed, will help you enjoy this next phase of life!
CanPrev is an all-Canadian company that develops premium natural health products to healthcare professionals and select health food retailers.