Menopause refers to the time in a woman’s life that marks the end of menstrual cycles. As women age, their ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone, two of the main hormones needed for reproduction. As estrogen levels go down, one of the first signs of the menopausal transition is irregular periods, in which bleeding is unusually heavy or light. The time between periods may also become longer. 

(Read more: Early menopause)

On average, women reach menopause between the age of 45 and 50 but it can happen earlier or later as well. Menopausal symptoms can vary from one woman to the other but some common ones include hot flashes, night sweats, constipation, obesity (especially central obesity), wrinkles, sleep disturbances and mood swings. However, some women go through menopause with no real symptoms as well.

  1. How to control weight gain with menopause
  2. How to manage hot flashes
  3. How to control cholesterol level in menopause
  4. Fiber-rich diet to control menopause symptoms
  5. Watch your sodium intake during menopause
  6. Drink plenty of water during menopause
  7. Vitamin D and calcium during menopause
  8. Doctors for Menopause diet

Due to hormonal changes, weight gain is very common during and after menopause. Often women lose muscle and gain fat, mainly in the belly area. Lifestyle factors also come into play as menopausal women tend to be less active and eat more calories than they need. Weight gain is associated with many health issues including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance (a condition in which your body cannot use insulin correctly, leading to diabetes) and even mental health problems. 

(Read more: How to reduce belly fat)

In this situation, try to improve your protein intake to maintain your muscle mass and control your food cravings. Add foods such as pulses, legumes, milk, curd, yoghurt, cottage cheese, egg and chicken to each of your meals.

(Read more: Female hormones)

If you suffer from hot flashes, try cutting back on caffeine and spicy foods, as they can trigger hot flashes in some people. You can replace your tea and coffee with non-caffeine green tea and herbal tea. Watch your sodium intake and aim to cook most of your meals at home rather than eating out. A vegetarian diet that includes plant estrogens is also said to help reduce the occurrence of hot flashes. 

(Read more: Hormone replacement therapy for menopause)

Due to hormonal changes, you can see elevated cholesterol levels after menopause which you can control through your diet and lifestyle changes. A number of research studies have shown that raw garlic favourably affects important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Consumption of garlic has been shown to decrease total, LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels. An intake of half to one clove of it per day can lower cholesterol levels by approximately 10%.  

Along with this, you should try to limit your overall fat intake while also ensuring you consume only healthier types of fat in your regular diet such as olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, mustard oil, almond, walnuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. These will fulfil all the fat-related nutritional requirements of your body such as PUFA, MUFA and omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

A fiber-rich diet helps you lose excess weight as well as reduce belly fat, which is very common after menopause. It also helps control your lipid levels and deal with constipation. Always try to add seasonal and fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. Millets should be an essential part of your diet too. You can have finger millet, pearl millet, sorghum instead of plain wheat flour. To help your bowel movement, you can have one teaspoon of psyllium husk with a glass of warm milk at your bedtime. 

Due to weight gain and hormonal changes, you may note some changes in blood pressure. In such cases, you should try to cut extra sodium sources in your diet such as table salt, pickle, papad, packed snacks, ready to eat food items, Chinese food, sauces, jam, jelly etc. As mentioned above, this can help with preventing hot flashes as well.

Water is essential for everyone, no matter which stage of life you’re in. Water helps move fiber through your system, keeps your body hydrated and may even mitigate hot flashes that come with menopause. Remember that many fruits and vegetables are loaded with water and health-boosting nutrients too.

(Read more: How drinking water helps with weight loss)

Once a woman reaches menopause, osteopenia and osteoporosis become very common. It’s important to meet your calcium and vitamin D needs during this time as this helps maintain healthy bones and prevent bone loss that can happen after menopause. Good food sources of calcium include dairy products (milk, yoghurt and cheese), fortified soybean and juices and fish with the bones. Good food sources of vitamin D include milk, egg, fortified soy products, breakfast cereal, fortified juices and fatty fish. Sunlight is also a good source of vitamin D, so try to sit in the sunlight for 15-20 minutes daily. If you do not eat any of the mentioned foods, discuss the use of daily dietary supplements with your doctor.

(Read more: Post menopausal osteoporosis)

Dt. Rajni Sharma

Dt. Rajni Sharma

Dietician
6 Years of Experience

Dt. Ayushi Shah

Dt. Ayushi Shah

Dietician
2 Years of Experience

Dr. Yogita Johar

Dr. Yogita Johar

Dietician
1 Years of Experience

Dt. Miksha Arora

Dt. Miksha Arora

Dietician
2 Years of Experience

और पढ़ें ...

References

  1. Brończyk-Puzoń Anna et al. Guidelines for dietary management of menopausal women with simple obesity. Prz Menopauzalny. 2015 Mar; 14(1): 48–52. PMID: 26327888.
  2. Soleymani Mahshid et al. Dietary patterns and their association with menopausal symptoms: a cross-sectional study. Menopause. 2019 Apr;26(4):365-372. PMID: 30363011.
  3. Gold Ellen B. et al. Phytoestrogen and Fiber Intakes in Relation to Incident Vasomotor Symptoms: Results From the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation. Menopause. 2013 Mar; 20(3): 305–314. PMID: 23435028.
  4. Lethaby A E et al. Phytoestrogens for vasomotor menopausal symptoms. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Oct 17;(4):CD001395. PMID: 17943751.
  5. Fan Tao, Nocea Gonzalo, Modi Ankita, Stokes Leah, Sen Shuvayu S. Calcium and vitamin D intake by postmenopausal women with osteoporosis in Spain: an observational calcium and vitamin D intake (CaVIT) study. Clin Interv Aging. 2013; 8: 689–696. PMID: 23818767.
  6. Davidson Michael H, Maki Kevin C, Karp Sherry Katz, Ingram Kate A. Management of hypercholesterolaemia in postmenopausal women. Drugs Aging. 2002;19(3):169-78. PMID: 12027776.
ऐप पर पढ़ें
Ask your health query now and get connected with a doctor within 10 minutes!