Eat a well balanced diet, one that is nutrient dense, including lean proteins. Don’t forget proteins help with muscle mass. Muscle protein synthesis helps repair and maintain skeletal muscle. Protein should be part of every meal according to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; it helps protein synthesis to “be turn on” all day., therefore working constantly. Complex carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables should also be included in your meals, as this will help regulate blood sugar and keep hunger pangs away longer. Limit empty calories such as alcohol and sweets. Unfortunately, menopause is a time when we need to consume fewer calories, and it is more likely a time when we have the time, and money to socialize, vacation and dine out with friends.
Get enough sleep Although, this may be easier said then done, not getting adequate sleep tends to make us eat poorly and snack more often. Sleep problems increase during menopause in part because of the decline in estrogen and progesterone, which leads to hot flashes, which contributes to insomnia. Poor sleep quality disturbs appetite regulation by increasing a hormone called ghrelin, the hormone that tells you your hungry and decreases leptin, the hormone that tells you your full.
Exercise regularly include a resistance training to build and maintain muscle mass and aerobic activity to burn calories. Don’t get overwhelmed by the thought of exercising – start out walking fast, increase your speed and length of time each week. You will be surprised how walking can help with burning calories and increase the “happy” hormones.
Bone Health– Snap, Krackle, Pop … as we get older our joints keep reminding us that we are no longer 25 yrs old. It is during menopause when there is a depletion of bone density. Women can lose up to 20% of their bone density five to seven yrs after menopause. After the age of 50 the Recommended Dietary allowance for calcium is 1,200mg/day. Supplementing vitamin D should be based on your own blood levels. Weight bearing exercises are key to preserving bone density.
Food to eat for menopause Whole foods offer the most benefits. Check out leafy greens such as Swiss chard, Asian greens and the new favorite, kale. Sauté them, use them in salads, mix them into pasta, top a pizza with these greens to add flavor. Distribute protein among your meals; choose lean meats, beans, eggs, low fat or non fat dairy products, and fish. Try to incorporate some of the ancient grains into your diet, such as, amaranth, quinoa and teff. Drink lots of water and stay away from soda, be it regular or diet. Eat avocados to help with brain fog and satiety.
Final thoughts Keep moving, eat smaller portions and go to bed at a regular time. If you have one bad day don’t let it destroy your motivation to moving forward!