The Role of Nutrition in Managing Menopause Symptoms

During menopause, a woman’s body goes through a number of physical and chemical changes. These changes are evident via symptoms such as hot flashes, sleeping problems, changes in mood, and weight gain. Although some symptoms are unavoidable, others may be mitigated or even prevented by dietary changes and good nutrition.

Menopause marks the end (a permanent “pause”) of a woman’s menstrual (“meno-“) cycle. It is diagnosed after 12 months without a menstrual period, and it usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55. The time leading up to menopause is known as perimenopause, which can last for months and even years of intermittent periods and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.

Menopause itself does not require medical treatment, but there are many effective treatments that help to relieve the symptoms. Treatments include lifestyle and dietary changes, hormone therapy, topical vaginal estrogen, antidepressants, medications to mitigate hot flashes, and medications to help improve bone density.

Good nutrition has also been found to help reduce many of the symptoms associated with menopause, and to prevent a number of conditions that can develop during and after its onset.

Nutrition for Maintaining Strong Bones

During and after menopause, we start to lose calcium from our bones. This is because menopause causes a reduction in estrogen levels, which leads to calcium loss, thereby increasing this rate of bone loss. Over time, calcium loss can lead to osteoporosis.

You can help thwart this process by consuming calcium-rich foods such as dairy (milk, cheese, and yogurt), green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, soybeans, and sardines.

Vitamin D is also important for bone health because it facilitates the body’s absorption of calcium. Vitamin D levels can be increased by taking supplements and by eating foods such as oily fish (salmon, sardines), red meat, eggs, and fortified breakfast cereals.

Keeping Your Heart Healthy

The risk of heart disease increases with the onset of menopause and its associated decline in estrogen, which keeps a woman’s body in balance. Eating a high-fat diet, smoking, consuming too much alcohol, and other unhealthy lifestyle habits can all increase your risk of heart disease, so it is in your best interest to start focusing on your heart health by reducing these factors in your lifestyle.

A heart-healthy diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat/high-protein dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts. Switch out those corn chips for almonds as a heart-healthy snack.

Preventing Weight Gain

Muscle mass becomes reduced during menopause, and reduced estrogen levels can lower the metabolism – which can lead to weight gain. Fewer calories are therefore usually required. Limiting portion size, eating well-balanced meals, and exercising regularly can all help to prevent weight gain.

Women’s Health and Wellness in Weatherford, TX

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with menopause and would like help in controlling your symptoms, talk to our board-certified integrative and functional medicine practitioner Dr. Catherine Oseni here at Alpha Care Wellness Center. Dr. Oseni takes a personalized approach to healthcare and uses a combination of practices such as therapeutic interventions, preventive health approaches, and regular monitoring of your overall health and wellness.

We offer a functional nutrition consultation, which includes a review and analysis of your nutrition and diet, lifestyle, and health and wellness goals. We can also match you with the right nutritional supplements and recommendations based on your unique health profile.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact us today by calling (817) 550-6332 or fill out our secure online form. We look forward to helping you achieve a lifetime of health and wellness through all the phases of life!

 

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