Making It Through Menopause Begins with a Healthy Diet

By on November 21, 2017

By Maggie Hammond—

Menopause is not fun. Few women can actually say they made it through menopause without suffering some sort of health-related issues that are just plain hard to deal with. Symptoms such as bloating and weight gain or hot flashes and bone loss can often be avoided with a proper diet. 

This is according to a quote from Lisa V. Bunce, a registered dietician who owns Back to Basics Nutrition Counseling. She contends that there is a core group of what she calls ‘foundation foods’ that help women manage many of the symptoms and complaints of menopause. In other words, making it through menopause begins with a healthy diet.

Suggested Foods to Ease Menopause Symptoms

Although a healthy diet consists of foods low in fat, sugar and sodium, that doesn’t give you enough information on what you ‘should’ be eating. It isn’t always enough to know what you should avoid, sometimes it is a matter of choosing the right foods with nutrients your body needs to ward off such things as:

  • Dry skin
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Bone loss – osteoporosis
  • Lack of energy
  • Hot flashes
  • Urinary incontinence

And, to make matters worse, those are just some of the health-related issues you may experience just prior to, during and after menopause.

Let’s Talk About Vegetables

While no one is suggesting that you become a vegetarian or vegan, the importance of a diet rich in vegetables can help alleviate much of the suffering you may experience. Granted, some women breeze through menopause with few symptoms, but they are few and far between. If you were to carefully look at their diets, you’d probably see that they eat copious amounts of dark, leafy veggies and foods high in fiber. So let’s look at vegetables for just a moment.

According to Bunce, all fruits and vegetables are, for the most part, high in fiber and rich in antioxidants. As we age, our energy levels seem to decrease and weight gain isn’t necessarily the result of eating too much, but eating too few of the foods that raise our metabolic rates. Antioxidants help to cleanse the body of free radicals floating around in our bloodstreams, consequently, premature wrinkling and sagging skin can be delayed.

Menopause is often equated with mood swings and depression. Why wouldn’t it be? After all, no one likes to face the fact that they are aging. By offsetting some of the physical signs of aging, mood swings and depression can be eased to some degree.

Getting the Right Veggies

One problem with getting the right veggies is the fact that few farms are GMO-free anymore. Organic fruits and veggies are hard to come by at prices we can afford. Some women have begun growing their own crops in the summer in a backyard greenhouse so as to reduce, or remove altogether, the chance of having vegies tainted by neighboring farms’ GMO crops. Genetically modified organisms are a constant frustration to farmers everywhere but there is a ray of sunlight at the end of the tunnel.

You can buy easy-to-assemble greenhouse kits that are the next best thing to a hermetically sealed environment. It doesn’t matter how far you are from farmers using GMO seeds, wind can carry pollen for miles. If you are set on organic produce free from genetically altered organisms, a backyard greenhouse is the solution. Bear in mind that the cost of constructing a greenhouse kit is absorbed after the first harvest or two. The savings you realize are amazing and the best part is that you can grow 12 months out of the year with the right setup!

The Benefits of Whole Grains in Menopause

When it comes to lacking energy at this stage in life, whole grains could be the miracle cure you are seeking. Not only are most very, very high in energy-producing B vitamins, but they also help to keep your digestive tract clear. In recent years, research has proven that your body just isn’t able to assimilate nutrients from foods if the walls of your intestines are clogged with undigested foods.

That sluggish feeling you experience is often the result of improperly digested foods, and whole grains are so high in fiber that they carry everything along with them as they pass through your body. Grains like oats, brown rice, barley and quinoa are perfect for this purpose.

There is no getting away from the fact that 21st century women just aren’t eating the right foods, or enough of those which can help them through this difficult time in their lives. Feeling better begins with a healthy diet so this is where your focus should be. If “you are what you eat,” then by all means eat healthy foods to rid yourself of many of the unwanted consequences of menopause. Want to feel better? Eat better. That’s as good a place to start as any!

 

Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organisations.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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Making It Through Menopause Begins with a Healthy Diet