Even the mildest phases of menopause are still nothing to sneeze at. Menopause marks a huge shift in a woman’s life. It has both physical and emotional implications. After going through menopause, a woman is no longer fertile, so that chapter of her life is closed. Even if a woman never wanted children, or already had all the children she wanted, she can still be left feeling a little…shocked. So your body just closes up shop? It decides that you’re all done? And you can no longer do one of the most impactful things the female body does? Men never need to think of their ability to reproduce as finite because, they can just keep shooting out their DNA until the very end. So, between all of the emotional and physical ups and downs, you don’t want to make things tougher by eating a diet that heightens symptoms. Here are foods to eat and avoid during menopause.
Flaxseeds contain omegas that can help with brain fogginess during menopause. These little seeds also contain compounds similar to estrogen that can make hormonal changes a bit less drastic.
Avoid: high fat foods
One of the unfortunate side effects of menopause is weight gain. Some women gain up to 15 pounds in just the first two years of this change of life. Cutting back on fatty foods can help fight this frustrating symptom.
Eat: More calcium
Menopausal women are at a higher risk for osteoporosis, which can also increase the risk of injury. Since our bodies tend to absorb calcium poorly as we get older, it’s important to increase your intake of things like low-fat cheese, milk, and yogurt.
Energy fluctuations are already a big problem with menopause, and can leave women feeling totally drained. Sugar causes blood sugar spikes, followed by blood sugar drops, which can make fatigue even worse.
Eat: Low sugar fruit
If you’re craving fruit during menopause, grab low sugar fruit. Items like melon and raspberries also happen to be high in water, and can fight some of the bloat that comes with menopause.
Avoid: Simple carbs
Simple carbohydrates, like pasta and white bread, can make fatigue and mood swings worse. In fact, research has found that a diet full of high-glycemic foods is linked to depression.
Eat: Complex carbs
Managing blood sugar fluctuations, as well as weight gain, will be an important part of the fight against menopause symptoms. Complex carbs such as whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and millet can help with both of those.
Though caffeine may sound like a good idea at first, since it temporarily fights fatigue, you may want to cut down on it during menopause. Menopausal women tend to have a hard time sleeping, and caffeine can make matters worse.
Eat: A heart-healthy diet
This is just adding insult to injury but, post-menopausal women are at a higher risk for heart disease. The higher estrogen levels we have before menopause help fight this terrible illness, so once those levels drop, we need to be extra careful and eat a heart-healthy diet. This means more whole grains, and more fruits and vegetables, and less cholesterol-heavy foods.
A moderate intake of wine can actually improve heart health, so it can be a good thing for menopausal women. But, too much wine can make things like fatigue and moodiness worse. Stick to one glass a night.
Drink: Lots of water
We already touched on this but, it’s important to drink water in order to avoid the painful and annoying bloat that comes with menopause. Staying hydrated is also important for keeping dryness (in all, eh-em, areas) at bay.
Avoid: High-sodium drinks
Sodas and other high-sodium drinks make bloat worse, and deplete you of water, making bloat worse. Many of the favorites, like soda, also have some caffeine, which is also a no-no.
Eat: Vitamin B-heavy foods
Being low in vitamin B can lead to depression even in younger women, and can make depression and mood swings terrible in menopausal women. Add vitamin B-heavy foods like eggs and lean beef to your diet to improve moods.
Avoid: Hot and spicy foods
This may not be the time to order your favorite Thai soup or salsa-smothered nachos. Hot and spicy foods can make hot flashes even worse.
Almonds are a bit of a super food for menopausal women. Not only do their healthy fats help fight dryness, but they’re also a heart-healthy food, and nice lean source of protein for diet snacks.