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Crucial diet tips during menopause

SUNDAY MAGAZINE
By Rose Kwamboka | July 14th 2019

Menopause is a natural condition that women experience as they age, usually between the ages of 45 and 55, marking the end of their reproductive age. With age, ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone, the two main reproduction hormones. Because of this, a woman’s period becomes irregular, heavier or lighter than usual and the duration between periods becomes longer before disappearing altogether.

Menopause is characterised by many unpleasant symptoms which vary from woman to woman, including mood swings, insomnia, low libido, headaches, hot flashes, fatigue, decreased bone density, thin dry hair and dry wrinkled sin. A healthy diet coupled with physical activity can help alleviate these symptoms and ease the transition.

Calcium rich foods
Declining estrogen levels increase the risk of bone tissue and bone mass loss making them not only brittle and fragile but increase the risk of osteoporosis. Increasing consumption of calcium rich foods helps maintain bone health. Calcium rich food include dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese; bony fish like omena, salmon and sandiness and vegetables like brocolli ; nuts and legumes. Calcium supplements can be used with a doctor’s or nutritionist prescription.

Have some diet estrogen
Photo estrogen, also known as plant or diet estrogen, imitates body estrogen. Even though not as effective as body estrogen, plant estrogen can help up estrogen levels in the body and alleviate symptoms of virginal dryness and irritation which lowers libido. Foods rich in estrogen include soy and soy products like tofu, seeds like flax, sunflower, sesame, almonds and walnuts. Apples, berries, pomegranates, yams and oats are also a good source of diet estrogen.

Low carbohydrate diet
As a woman ages, she loses muscle mass, stores more fat especially around the waist and become less active. All these factors increase the risk of gaining excess weight, developing central obesity and type II diabetes. A diet low in carbohydrate but high in vegetables and fruits can help control excess weight gain and reduce risk of weight related conditions in menopause.

Increase intake of healthy fats
Excess intake of saturated and trans-fat usually found in fatty meats, whole dairy products, baked goods and processed foods raises levels of cholesterol and increases risk of heart diseases. On the other hand, healthier fats including unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats like omega 6 found in vegetable oil, seeds, fish and avocado can help lower the saturated fats and bad cholesterol in the body lowering risk of heart diseases. Studies also show that women who have been on a high fat diet usually experience a dramatic drop in estrogen levels and may have severe symptoms compared to those who follow a low fat diet. A diet high in poly-unsaturated fats like omega 3 fatty acids can decrease the frequency of hot flashes.

Increase your water intake
A woman’s skin and vagina undergoes changes during menopause as a result of changes in hormone production. Declining level of estrogen decreases water holding ability and elasticity of the skin which can cause a dry, itchy and wrinkled skin. The hormonal changes also affects the body’s ability to produce fluids to lubricate the vagina. Drinking at least 2 litres of water per day helps keep the body well hydrated, protects the skin and improves vaginal lubrication.

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