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Nutritional Needs After Menopause

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The secret to staying active and youthful after menopause is healthy nutrition and regular physical exercise. Nutritional habits are essential among the various aspects of health promotion and lifestyle adaptation to the postmenopausal period. Because they concern all women, they may be modified and impact longevity and quality of life. 

Menopause is the ceasing of menstruation, but a broader definition is the permanent cessation of menstrual cycles following the loss of ovarian follicular activity. Although menopause is a conspicuous event, the menopausal transition may span several years. The health impact of postmenopausal hypoestrogenism may extend for decades, even when symptoms are no longer present.  

Health problems after menopause

In post-menopause, symptoms of menopause may ease or be stopped entirely. However, some women continue to have symptoms for longer. However, the change in your body’s hormones indicates to keep looking after your health and well-being and be mindful of listening to your body. 

There is an increased risk of some health conditions post menopause, like cardiovascular (heart) disease, osteoporosis (weak bones) and urinary tract infections (UTIs). So it is vital to have a healthy diet and lifestyle and to follow your regular cancer screenings like cervical (smear test) and breast. 

What happens during menopause?

Menopause occurs around the age of 51 but may happen earlier and is characterised by a significant reduction in estrogen production by the ovaries and a cessation of menstruation for an entire year. It also contributes to physical and emotional changes, which range from hot flashes and mood irregularity to sleeping issues and vaginal dryness, among other things. 

As women approach menopause, their estrogen levels begin to decline, causing hormonal imbalances that may lead to many symptoms, such as hot flashes and difficulty sleeping. Feel free to buy Elleste Solo to ease the symptoms. However, this drop in estrogen may negatively affect the body’s metabolism, leading to weight gain. It can also reduce bone density, increasing the risk of fractures.  

Eating specific foods and avoiding others may help counteract the adverse effects of these hormonal changes.  

What to eat

Evidence shows that certain foods can help strengthen your bones, improve hot flashes, and reduce your risk of other health conditions, like heart disease. 

Calcium-rich food

After 50 years of age, calcium and vitamin D become increasingly crucial for women’s health, especially for the role that both play in maintaining strong bones. Calcium requirements for a menopausal woman increase from 1,000mg to 1,200mg daily. Calcium and other vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin K, are essential for healthy bones. 

Drinking milk is the best way to optimise bone health. However, some studies link milk consumption to an increased risk of bone fracture. In addition, milk and other dairy products may induce inflammation associated with bone loss. 

Rather than relying on dairy products for calcium, eat plenty of leafy green vegetables and legumes loaded with calcium and other nutrients the body can readily absorb. Broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, and beans are excellent sources of calcium and magnesium. Some foods that provide calcium include leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, dairy products and dairy alternatives such as soy milk and tofu. The bones of canned fish, like salmon and sardines, are also high in calcium.

Vitamin D

The body also requires vitamin D to absorb calcium. Unfortunately, as much as 75 % of adults and teens in the UK are deficient in vitamin D. People of colour, the elderly, obese individuals, and smokers are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency. 

The body produces vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. If it is not possible to get enough vitamin D from sun exposure, consider taking a supplement. Vitamin D is also significant for calcium absorption and bone formation. Vitamin D can significantly cut your risk of spinal fractures. But, too much calcium or vitamin D may cause kidney stones, constipation, or abdominal pain, particularly if you have kidney problems.

Healthy fats

Fat is an essential nutrient that is often misunderstood. However, healthy fat sources are needed to help your body absorb nutrients, keep your organs functioning optimally, and protect your heart health. Healthy fats may also improve symptoms related to menopause, such as hot flashes and high cholesterol. 

Ideally, every meal should include a source of healthy fat, such as olives or olive oil, avocado, flax seeds, chia seeds, nuts, or fish. In addition, consider taking an omega-3 supplement. 

Soy and plant-based foods

In addition to providing dietary calcium, soy-based foods like soybeans, edamame, tofu, tempeh, and soy milk contain meaningful amounts of unique compounds known as isoflavones. These compounds are very weak mimics of the estrogen hormone which drops during menopause. Because of this added benefit, there has been some interest in the strategic use of soy-based foods to help resolve some of the bothersome symptoms that accompany menopause

Fruits and vegetables

Regardless of your stage of life, fruits and vegetables are essential for good health. This is because fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage and other essential nutrients. 

In one study, those who ate more fruit, vegetables, fibre, and soy experienced a 19% reduction in hot flashes. In addition, they were more likely to lose weight than participants in a control group. 

Aim to include nonstarchy fruits and vegetables in every meal. For example, dark berries and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, may be especially beneficial to women experiencing menopause. 

Quality protein

Protein is essential for building muscle and tissue. Lower estrogen levels during menopause are linked to decreased muscle mass, so women experiencing menopause may benefit from increasing their protein intake. Strength training, such as weight-lifting exercises, can also help strengthen bones and muscles. 

Foods high in protein include eggs, fish, meat, and legumes. Aim for quality sources, such as grass-fed beef, high in omega-3 fatty acids. You can also add protein powder or collagen peptides to smoothies. 

Takeaway

Menopause is a natural transition that occurs when a woman’s menstrual periods end. Menopause typically occurs around the ages of 45–50. Still, the symptoms and changes that occur can last for years. 

In addition to uncomfortable symptoms, menopause can increase the risk of certain diseases, like heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.


David Radar did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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