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Menopause and Your Diet

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After many years of enduring the hormonal imbalances caused by something as normal and expected as your menstrual cycle, it’s time to face an entirely different opponent: menopause. While our bodies may be forgiving for nutritional imbalances while we are young, our older selves simply won’t stand for it any longer! In fact, many people only begin eating right when menopause forces them to. Indeed, one of the only ways to keep menopause at bay is by switching to a healthy, balanced diet.

Dietary Changes: Most of the changes to your diet during menopause are specifically needed to avoid the detrimental effects your growing body may cause.

Increasing your water intake to ensure you never become dehydrated is absolutely essential. Keeping hydrated will not only help you feel healthy, but it will keep your skin moist and youthful too. Drinking plenty of water is known to reduce the occurrence and intensity of ‘hot flashes’ as well. Foods high in phytoestrogens, such as beans, potatoes and soy, are also known to have this effect.

To combat the brittle bones that many older women are plagued with, increase your calcium intake early on. While some women add a glass of milk, yogurt or a cereal to their diet every day, others choose to take their calcium in the form of dietary supplements.

Keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy with the use of fiber and other easy-to-digest foods. Fiber, along with a large amount of water, will help everything move along smoothly. Avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks (such as soda). Also stay away from spicy foods, as these can irritate your digestive system as well.

Cut down on red meats and increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, and ‘good’ fat. This will pump you full of essential vitamins, lower your cholesterol and help you maintain a healthy weight. Eating these foods in particular will also stabilize your blood sugar, which is good for you even if you are not at risk of becoming diabetic. Making sure that your blood sugar level is stable may help relieve depression caused by menopause. Foods high in carbohydrates (such as bread, pasta, and cereal) are particularly good at managing your blood glucose level.

Supplements: Many women choose to take these to ensure that they are consuming an effective amount of vitamins each day. While these are a great idea to help your already-healthy diet, that is exactly what they are good for – supplemental help. Do not rely strictly on mega-vitamins as a cure-all for menopause. With that said, they are a great way to fill in the gaps. Many pharmaceutical companies will formulate specific vitamin combinations for women who have reached menopause. If you are unsure of what you should be taking, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Physical Exercise: Just as adding some exercise to your life will help relieve the negative effects of menstruation, so will adding some exercise to help you deal with menopause. Keeping yourself active will not only help the food you are consuming do its job, but it is also a great way to keep your body fit as you grow older.

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