Symptoms of menopause mark the end of childbearing age in women. A phase in which nutritional needs also vary according to hormonal changes.
To this end, the experts have established specific recommendations for different age groups, physical activity and physiological conditions and which affect the lifestyle of women, with the aim of maintaining an optimal state of health.
Do you want to know how diet can help you control the symptoms of menopause ? We talk about it in this article.
What is menopause?
Menopause is a natural physiological process in a woman’s life. It leads to the definitive disappearance of menstruation. It typically occurs around the age of 45-50, although hereditary predisposition can affect the onset of a life stage known as a climacteric.
Nutritional advice in menopause
Menopause is a phase that involves various physiological changes for women. They also involve specific nutritional and energy needs. The energy requirement is reduced by about 5% every 10 years, therefore the caloric intake will have to be reduced.
A varied and balanced diet, adapted to individual needs, also contributes to the maintenance of a good state of health, to the prevention of diseases and to the quality of life in general. The caloric distribution of macronutrients in this phase will follow the principles of a balanced diet :
- Carbohydrates should make up 45-60% of total calories.
- Protein should make up 10-15% of total calories.
- Fats should make up 20-35% of total calories.
The diet must include a greater proportion of complex carbohydrates and, therefore, the consumption of simple sugars from sweets, drinks and baked goods must be avoided.
About 50% of the ingested proteins must be of high biological value, in order to guarantee the right quantities of essential amino acids. It is also advisable to supplement them with proteins of vegetable origin (cereals and legumes) in order to obtain quality proteins.
It is an extremely important type of macronutrient in menopause. We recommend the consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (linolenic acid, docosahexanoic and eicosapentaenoic acid) to be preferred to saturated ones.
Vitamins and minerals
The recommended intake of vitamins and minerals is the same as for the rest of the population, except for calcium and vitamin D, as their integration is essential for the prevention of osteoporosis.
Recommended foods to control the symptoms of menopause
Faced with the hormonal changes typical of menopause, the body responds with some symptoms that can be annoying. The following recommendations and foods will help you get through this stage without too much trouble.
1. Control the symptoms of menopause: hot flashes
It is advisable to reduce the consumption of exciting foods such as tea, coffee, alcohol and chocolate, especially in the evening.
These, in fact, can increase or intensify hot flashes by stimulating the nervous system, inhibiting sleep and increasing urinary frequency. Lack of adequate rest can also be a trigger for hot flashes.
2. For the bones
Postmenopausal women are the segment of the population subject to the highest risk of bone problems (four times more than men), as they experience a decrease in estrogen levels and other hormonal deficiencies, which cause calcium malabsorption.
One in two women experience bone fractures, typically in the femur, according to data from the Ostheoporosis: a major public health problem study . The essential foods that offer more nutrients to strengthen bones are those rich in calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus and magnesium.
- Calcium: it is mainly responsible for the formation of bone tissue. Without this mineral, a healthy and structured bone cannot form, therefore not consuming it increases the likelihood of suffering from osteoporosis.
- Vitamin D: This vitamin plays an important role in the absorption of calcium, helping to maintain adequate levels of this mineral in the blood. Due to their vitamin D supply, oily fish, eggs and liver are foods particularly suitable for people with bone problems.
- Phosphorus: a lack of phosphorus, like the deficiency of vitamin D, affects the absorption of calcium, causing demineralization of the bones. The most suitable foods to ensure balanced doses of phosphorus are those rich in proteins, such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. Even dried fruit, whole grains and legumes contain abundant doses.
- The importance of vitamin K: The latest research focused on combating osteoporosis has shown that the loss of bone density is not exclusively due to calcium deficiency. It also depends on the deficiency of a protein called osteocalcin.
The deficiency of this protein increases the risk of bone fractures, as evidenced by the Dilatational band formation in bone study published in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America . Vitamin K deficiency inhibits bone calcification.
3. Monitor the symptoms of menopause on the skin
Over the years it is not uncommon to find the appearance of fearful wrinkles. The decrease in estrogen tends to accelerate this process. To avoid their excessive appearance, it is important to follow a daily beauty routine. You should also include foods that act as antioxidants:
- Vitamin C: found in peppers, kiwis, broccoli, blackberries and citrus fruits.
- Zinc: can be found in shellfish, meat, seeds, lentils and beans.
- Vitamin A: Found in carrots, beets, tomatoes and any other red vegetable.
These foods will help you maintain natural skin elasticity, but you shouldn’t forget to hydrate it anyway. To maintain beautiful and healthy skin during menopause, it is essential to consume 8 glasses of water a day.
4. Better manage hormones
Foods rich in tryptophan
This amino acid is essential for the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences mood changes, sleep and appetite. During menopause, these changes are more frequent. To reduce the symptoms of menopause, it is important to increase the consumption of:
- Turkey meat
- Ricotta cheese
- Sesame and sunflower seeds
Omega 3 to control the symptoms of menopause
Omega is also helpful in reducing hormone-related symptoms of menopause. They work in conjunction with serotonin, reducing the negative effects on cardiovascular health. Try to increase your consumption of:
- Fatty fish
- Chia seeds
- Rapeseed oil
We hope that the suggestions proposed will be useful to you in combating the symptoms of menopause. A healthy lifestyle, which includes a balanced diet and exercise, is the best way to cope with this phase of your life.