A menopause diet is a diet recommended for the special nutritional needs of women undergoing menopause and usually includes foods rich in calcium and vitamin D.
There is a consensus among health practitioners that a healthy diet containing a wide variety of foods. Will be good for women’s health and well-being during menopause. It is also considered a time to lower fat and increase fruit and vegetable intake to help maintain weight. And to ensure a daily intake of low-fat dairy products to keep bones strong. Women who suffer from specific menopausal symptoms should consult a physician for personal dietary advice. For most women, a menopause diet is considered healthy if it follows these guidelines:
The way to reduce the loss of calcium from the bones is primarily to increase the intake of calcium from food. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium is 1200mg/day for women over 50. Eating and drinking 2 to 4 servings of dairy products and calcium-rich foods a day will help ensure that a woman is getting enough calcium in the daily diet. Calcium is found in dairy products, clams, sardines, broccoli, and legumes.
Increase iron intake
Eating at least 3 servings of iron-rich foods a day will help ensure that an adequate amount of iron is present in the daily diet. Iron is found in lean red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and enriched grain products.
Obtaining enough fiber
Foods high in fiber include whole-grain bread, cereals, pasta, rice, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
Eating fruits and vegetables
At least 2 to 4 servings of fruits and 3 to 5 servings of vegetables should be included in the daily diet.
Include essential fatty acids (EFAs) in the diet
EFAs are found in nuts, seeds, and oily fish. The best EFAs are those from the omega-3 and omega-6 families. Which are found in pumpkin seeds, oily fish, walnuts, linseeds, dark green vegetables and oils such as sesame, walnut, soy
Drinking plenty of water
At least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day are recommended.
Reducing high-fat foods
According to the National Academy of Sciences, the recommended daily calorie intake is 2,000 for women. Fat should provide 30% or less of this total. Saturated fat should be limited to less than 10% of the total daily calories because it raises blood cholesterol and increases the risk of heart disease. Saturated fat is found in fatty meats, whole milk, ice cream, and cheese.
Moderate use of sugar and salt
Too much sodium in the diet is linked to high blood pressure. Also, smoked, salt-cured and charbroiled foods contain high levels of nitrates, which have been linked to cancer.
Limiting alcohol intake
Alcohol consumption should be limited to one or fewer drinks per day (3 to 5 drinks per week maximum) as alcohol can make hot flushes worse.
Since it has been shown that there is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen after menopause and the development of osteoporosis. It is believed that the onset of osteoporosis can be delayed by taking supplements of calcium and vitamin D. The National Institute of Aging (NIA) recommends taking these two supplements if the diet can not provide them in sufficient amounts. Consultation with a health practitioner is highly recommended as excessive intake may cause adverse effects.
Some sources recommend 1500mg/day for postmenopausal women not taking hormone replacement therapy. Maximum dose to avoid adverse effects (kidney problems) is 2000mg/day.
The RDA for vitamin D is 10mg/day for women aged 51–69 and 15mg for women aged 70+. Vitamin D is present in fortified milk and cereals, salmon, cod liver oil, and other foods. Vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon in the elderly and those with little sun exposure. Maximum recommended is 50mg to avoid vitamin D toxicity.
In some cases, a physician may also recommend Vitamin B12 and folic acid supplements. The RDA for vitamin B12 is 2.4mg/day for women. Vitamin B12 is present in liver, kidney, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk, and in B12-fortified foods. The RDA for folic acid is 180mg/day for women. It is found in juices spinach, asparagus, and green leafy vegetables.
A menopause diet is a nutritious diet designed not only to minimize all the additional medical health risks of menopause and general aging. But also to lower both physical and mental symptoms of menopausal life. These commonly include hot flashes and skin flushing, night sweats, insomnia, and mood swings and irritability.
The benefits of a healthy menopause diet include some relief of unpleasant symptoms and the prevention of heart disease and severe osteoporosis. As for calcium and vitamin D. They have been shown in numerous studies to specifically prevent osteoporosis and help slow its progress. Vitamin D stimulates bone mineralization and the intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphate.
Calcium also has numerous functions and is essential for bone formation and maintenance. Essential fatty acids are considered especially beneficial in the diet if the skin becomes dry or in case of joint pains. They have also been shown to help in the prevention of vaginal dryness and bladder infections, as well as increasing overall energy.
Working together, vitamin B12 and folic acid provide starting materials for the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters associated with the body’s ability to regulate mood. By supporting the body’s capacity to synthesize appropriate levels of these two neurotransmitters, folic acid and vitamin B12 are thought to have mood stabilizing effects.
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Source: Encyclopedia of Diets – A Guide to Health and Nutrition by Group of Authors