There are obvious physiological changes such as hot flashes, irritability, vaginal and urological alterations, which may need specific treatment, but there are others that can be prevented with adequate diet and physical activity throughout life. Hence the importance of the diet for menopause.
- Diet for menopause as a prevention tool
- Nutritional measures in the diet for menopause
Diet for menopause as a prevention tool
Paying attention to the saying “prevention is better than cure”, we must anticipate and adopt certain habits before the cessation of the functional capacity of the ovary. And more knowing that the age of presentation of menopause is around 50 years, and that there are signs that warn us as the irregularity of the menstrual cycle.
The increase in weight , together with the change in the body shape, due to the tendency to accumulate fat in the abdominal area and loss of waist, often worries the woman in menopause. But there are other effects, not so obvious to the naked eye, that will also require nutritional measures. Among them, the increased risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as the loss of bone mass. For good bone health at this stage of life it is especially important to ensure the supply of calcium through the diet from an earlier age. The nutritional and dietary recommendations will be aimed at obtaining a good quality of life.
Nutritional measures in the diet for menopause
Menopause makes women have special nutritional needs. They are the following:
- Calories When there are no weight problems and / or associated diseases, the diet in the menopause period must be balanced and adapted to the age, height, and level of physical activity. But when there is a predisposition to gain weight, it is advisable to follow a diet more adjusted in calories. On the other hand, there is usually a decrease in muscle mass, hence the importance of having a routine of physical exercise, which promotes both the maintenance of muscle mass and the control of fat and body weight. On the other hand, practicing sports periodically increases the levels of serotonin , a neurotransmitter that helps improve mood. Some dietary measures to take into account:
- Breakfast. Dairy products (yogurt, milk ) and cereals (bread, breakfast cereals or biscuits) are the best alternatives. Better to choose non-sugary options. In the case of bread or biscuits, they can be accompanied by lean meats (turkey or ham), fresh cheese, tuna, or even a little jam.
- Snacks mid morning and snack. It is a good time to include the fruit and the occasional yogurt (without sugar). Avoid industrial pastries, snacks , soft drinks and sweets. If you need to eat something else, you can include some nuts (30 g), 1-2 biscuits or sticks.
- Food and dinner. Lunch and dinner must be varied and complete. Both must contain: vegetables (raw or cooked, both at meals and at dinners); protein foods (meat, fish or eggs) and farinaceous (legume, pasta, rice , quinoa or potato), whose amount will vary depending on whether it is included in food or dinner. The dessert can be a natural yogurt or a fruit, although if there is no custom it is not necessary to include them, as long as the daily dairy rations are covered with the other intakes. Avoid cooking and fat sauces; better opt for steamed recipes, boiled, griddle, oven, papillote or sautéed little oily.
- Fats The hormonal changes of menopause can change to a certain degree the blood lipid profile in the menopausal woman, causing an increase in the level of cholesterol. Hence, the incidence of cardiovascular diseases is equal to that of men at this stage. It is essential to take into account certain dietary aspects, such as:
- Avoid excess saturated fats (fatty meats, sausages, whole milk products, precooked products and industrial bakery).
- Ensure the inclusion in the diet of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, present in blue fish, nuts, olive oil and avocado. Considering amounts adequate to the energetic needs for a good control the corporal weight.
- Limit the intake of sugar and sugary products.
- Calcium. It is a fundamental mineral in the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis. The fastest increase in bone mass occurs during adolescence, and the subsequent consolidation of mineralization up to 30 years. Hence the importance of prevention, to reach the stage with good bones. Although there is no unanimity about the recommended amounts, 1,200 mg / day is usually advised, although the tendency is to increase the amount to 1,500 mg / day. Sources of calcium are:
- Dairy (milk, cheese yogurt). They are the main source of calcium.
- Nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, etc …) and legumes such as soy are also good sources of calcium.
- Other sources: sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, fish whose spine is also eaten (small or canned species, such as sardines, anchovies …) because this mineral accumulates there.
Vitamin D. It is recommended to consume foods rich in vitamin D, since it helps to fix calcium in the bones. It is a fat-soluble vitamin and is found in the fats part of foods such as blue fish and eggs. Although we can also obtain it through enriched cereals. Vitamin D is also synthesized by the body through the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
- Match. It is essential for bone mineralization, but if the diet is much richer in phosphorus than calcium, bone density decreases. Phosphorus is present in fish, cereals, nuts, and very prominently in carbonated beverages.
- It is another important mineral in bone formation, because it regulates the absorption and assimilation of calcium and promotes the activity of vitamin D. Sources of magnesium are nuts, cereals, vegetables.
- They are part of the fiber of vegetables and cereals. When whole-grain products are abused, and the presence of fiber in the diet is even excessive, the absorption of minerals in the intestine, including calcium, is reduced.
- In the stage of menopause, blood pressure can also be affected. Taking into account that in general we consume more sodium than would be convenient, it is necessary that in this period its consumption be reduced to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Salt is the main source of sodium and, considering that many of the foods we eat already contribute a good amount of this mineral to the daily diet, it is a good time to change the habit and cook without salt. On the other hand, sodium increases the excretion of calcium in the urine, and limits its optimal use.