Author: Renu Puri
Menopause is a natural thing to happen to a woman as her menstrual cycle comes to an end. Like every other thing that could possibly be misconstrued, Menopause is no exception. Bogus assumptions like ‘Only severe menopause symptoms need treatments’ or ‘Menopause automatically starts by the age of 50’ have been floating around for what seems to feel like forever, starting from our great grandmothers to our grandmothers to our mothers and then finally to us. It is high time we break the vicious cycle of believing in myths and take a stand to educate ourselves on women's health.
In this blog, we aim to educate you on what menopause is, how to deal with its symptoms, how health and deictics are related to menopause, and what to eat to ease them. Read on to find out everything you need to know about a Menopause diet.
The whole experience of menopause may be different for every woman. Some women may encounter hot flashes and night sweats, some may encounter an increased growth of facial hair and muscle loss, and others may encounter bouts of irritability and insomnia throughout the day. There are an array of symptoms that are faced by women going through menopause on a daily basis that they are just conditioned to ‘ignore and avoid’. Joint pain, osteoporosis, vaginal dryness, and many more symptoms make it difficult for a woman going through menopause to live painlessly.
As a woman, I don’t believe living in pain is justified. In fact, with such high levels of medical and nutritional advancements happening as we speak, we should not be in pain or discomfort at all. Our bodies are supposed to heal themselves with the correct diet and optimum movement. This is because the human body is equipped with various biological mechanisms and systems that work together to maintain health and repair damage. For instance, when we get a cut, our body automatically activates a complex process of blood clotting, inflammation, and tissue repair to heal the wound aggressively. In a similar fashion, whenever our bodies get infected or we get sick, our immune system works to fight off the infection and restore our health. Only in times of chronic diseases, certain disorders, and severe injuries are our bodies not able to heal themselves completely. Other times, it is completely curable through dietary and lifestyle changes.
Whenever menopause occurs, a woman’s hormones secretion and production, especially estrogen and progesterone starts to decline. These are the hormones that play a pivotal role in reproduction as well as menstruation. Due to this, you get symptoms like irregular periods, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep problems, mood swings, and weight gain.
Since menopause is a natural process and not any disease that you should be scared of, dietary changes, hormone therapy, or other treatments can be done to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.
A lot of medical experts that you would go to would either prescribe you hormone therapy, certain medications, or the most effective remedy of them all – they would want you to transform your diet. See, in no way are we condoning hormone therapy or medicinal treatments but, in this day, and age where we are already thriving on medicines, there is no need to add additional medications in your routine and complicate things, when an easier solution is available. You can only depend on medicines for a while before your body becomes immune to it. Being natural is the way to go and although hormone therapy can be effective in managing some of the agonizing symptoms that menopause harbingers, it may not be suitable or feasible for everyone.
Dietary changes can be a safe and effective alternative for almost all women, provided they are done under the right guidance. Our best dietitians in Delhi NCR make sure to evaluate your body type, symptoms, family history, busy schedule, and your overall lifestyle to build a personalized wellness program and diet plan that can help reduce, if not eliminate all of your symptoms to help you lead a peaceful life.
You may have heard of the old wife’s tales - certain foods can really help lessen your menopause symptoms by providing certain nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D that usually get depleted when a woman is going through the condition. Due to this deficiency, women are often at a higher risk of getting osteoporosis during and after menopause. That is why it is imperative to consume optimum levels of these nutrients to ensure that you make good bone health your priority.
Another major reason certified nutritionists and medical professionals recommend dietary and lifestyle changes is because weight gain is a consistent symptom of menopause and dietary changes can help with weight management. Many women tend to gain weight during menopause and excess weight can aggravate symptoms like joint pain and fatigue. In fact, we have had many clients come to us post menopause seeking weight loss remedies and plans. We always think to ourselves that if they had come to us during menopause, they would not even have to face the wrath of the excruciating symptoms. The symptoms are easily curable , especially when you have some kind of guidance and motivating factor driving you towards your goal.
We always encourage women going through menopause to consume a diet that is rich in whole, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins that can help control weight and improve overall health.
Soy products contain a good number of phytoestrogens. For anyone who doesn’t know, phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that mirror the effects of estrogen in the human body. When you’re in menopause, the level of estrogen is slowly depleted and that is the reason you feel so many of those symptoms. That is why it is said that soy and its derivatives can help soothe the prevalence of these symptoms by providing the body with a robust source of phytoestrogens. These phytoestrogens bind themselves to estrogen receptors and have similar effects to estrogen. They can replenish the estrogen decline and help soothe symptoms.
An important thing to note here is that soy is known to stimulate the growth of hormone sensitive cancerous cells. So, if you have any hormone sensitive condition or have had some history of breast cancer, it is pivotal to consult a medical professional or a registered dietitian before consuming it or its derivatives.
Flaxseed is another source of phytoestrogens that helps in replenishing the estrogen decline. They are also very rich in omega-3 fatty acids that have heaps of benefits, including anti-inflammatory properties to help with any type of swelling and tenderness associated with the condition. Seeds are the easiest things to consume. So even if you’re a picky eater, you will be good to go. Sprinkle some on your smoothie, or garnish your oats or porridge with a handful of them. It not only adds flavor and taste to your food but also gives it a healthy kick.
Research says that consuming flax seeds can contribute to reduced hot flashes during menopause. In a study published in the Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology, postmenopausal women who consumed flax seeds daily for six weeks reported a decline in hot flashes as compared to the control group.
Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are known to reduce inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids are also great for your heart health and also can help reduce your risk of contracting certain types of cancer. These fatty acids can also support brain health and cognitive function, which are obviously essential when you are facing menopause. To validate this claim, a study published in the journal Neurology found that women who consumed higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids had a lower risk of developing cognitive impairment due to menopause.
Leafy greens also contain phytoestrogens. Being loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, leafy greens can really help aid bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Since they are low in calories and packed with nutrients, you can consume them to curb menopausal weight gain. You can incorporate green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, and broccoli into your diet.
Nuts are rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. These can help regulate your blood sugar levels and are even shown to improve heart health. They are also a good source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc.
Nuts are also versatile and can be consumed with almost every food that you may like. Don’t like nuts in your food? Have it by itself. Want your boring bland breakfast to get some flavor? Grind nuts into a powder and mix it in your breakfast bowl. Don’t want to take bulky snacks to your office? Put a handful of nuts in your bag and munch on it whenever you like. The great thing about nuts is that they don’t go bad easily. Since they aren’t easily perishable, you can keep them stored for a long time and consume them as and when you like.
As people age, they naturally lose muscle mass. This notion is not just limited to women, men also lose muscle mass as they age but the decrease in estrogen during menopause can further elevate this process. That is why it is essential to consume the right amounts of lean protein to help preserve as well as build muscle mass. Why do people go to the gym and eat proteins, apart from wanting to look a certain way? Take a guess! To improve strength, mobility, and overall health. If you said anything out of these three, you’re right!
Menopause is the time when your body goes through a state of shock and needs enough protein to cope with muscle loss. Instead of regular protein, we encourage you to have lean proteins as they are not high in calories and will not cause any kind of weight gain.
Menopause does not mean that your womanhood is over, it is another chapter of your womanhood that enables you to explore another side of yourself that you did not know you had. However, it is important to not live in pain and manage your symptoms timely to improve your quality of life in the long haul.
We believe anything is possible with the right mindset and good guidance. Only you have the power to take charge of your life. If you are going through menopause and you feel like your world is falling apart, you are not alone. A lot of women through nutritious food and diet modifications have reduced, if not eliminated the torturous symptoms of menopause.
The correct way of physically dealing with menopause begins with the right nutritional guidance. Mentally coping with it, however, requires self-love and acceptance.
Be it nutrition guidance, creating a customized healthy diet plan to reduce or eliminate your symptoms, or even something as simple as keeping you motivated, we do it all. Our registered dietitians in Delhi NCR take into consideration your body type, ailments, and specific goals to curate personalized plans that help you get rid of your menopause symptoms, quickly and efficiently.
Ready to take charge of your life? Join us on our mission to revolutionize women's health!
At niwi.ai, we have helped thousands of women transform their lives by helping them battle their menopause symptoms. If you were somehow directed to this blog, it’s a sign to connect with the best dietitians in Delhi NCR to get yourself a personalized diet plan. :)