Not all women experience menopause in the same way, but there are two very common complaints for most women. That would be weight gain, night sweats, hot flashes and loss of energy. Can changing your diet help? Good news ladies...there is a menopause diet that can help many menopausal symptoms. Many women over 40 blame irritability, depression, sleep issues, weight gain, lack of energy on hormones that are out of control. This is correct to a certain degree: low hormone levels play a large part of the problem. As you begin the menopausal transition your progesterone usually decreases, and progesterone is the calming hormone, or the hormone that makes you feel good. When progesterone decreases, you can't sleep as well and when you don't sleep you tend to crave junk food and carbohydrates according to registered dietitian and exercise physiologist Susan Dopart, author of "A Recipe For Life." Dopart says when progesterone decrease, women become estrogen-dominant, producing P.M.S. like symptoms to include bloating, breast tenderness, sadness and moodiness. Then they later women start to can weight around the middle, they feel like they're out of control and they don't really know what to do. Many look to alcohol, caffeine, and sweet and salty foods to make them feel better. These foods might soothe cravings, they're the exact foods that can exacerbate all those pesky symptoms.
The trick is managing your food choices on a daily basis. Women in their 20s and 30s can run on fake energy and adrenaline, but once you get into your mid-40s to 50s, you must have real energy to function properly. And guess what real energy comes from real food. Here's a few suggestions to help keep that extra weight away and to find the energy you need to function well during and after menopause. - Eat protein at every meal and snack. It could be an egg or yogurt for breakfast, or cottage cheese and almonds for a snack. - When you eat carbohydrates, whether it's pasta, bread or pancakes, keep portions moderate and make sure they're always whole-grain. - Pick produce like dark-green leafy vegetables. Think broccoli and kale. They're actually hormone helpers. Try roasted kale...it is crunchy and delicious. Toss kale in olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees until it is light brown and crispy....enjoy! - Choose good fat. Look for nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado and hummus. Watch the alcohol intake.
Two glasses of wine may sound OK, but that alone is about 300 calories, and your body will send the excess carbs to your liver, which can increase cholesterol. There's quite a few studies now that show that women that take in even an extra 30 to 50 calories a day during menopause can gain weight. So take steps to watch your diet and enjoy real food to boost your energy. Of course it is OK to cheat occasionally, but if you can follow the above steps 95% of the time, you'll feel better, sleep better and keep your weight in check.