A healthy diet eases menopause
LIFESTYLE - There are various symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes, tiredness, weight gain, dry skin, depression and anxiety.
Other symptoms include increased blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, decreased concentration and joint pain.
Menopause also increases the risk of osteoporosis.
Nutrition management of menopause:
1. Eat a healthy balanced diet.
2. Include a variety of plant-based foods including vegetables, fruit and legumes. Lentils, chickpeas and beans are excellent sources of protein and fibre. Eat a variety of types and colours of fruit and vegetables because they contain different nutrients. They are also antioxidant-rich, which protects your heart.
3. Avoid saturated fats such as fatty cuts of meat, processed meats, butter and lard. Rather choose unsaturated fats such as avocado pears, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
4. Reduce salt intake to help control your blood pressure. Avoid premixes, ready-made or convenience meals because these are often high in salt and fat, which elevate your blood pressure and increase cholesterol.
5. Choose oily fish such as tuna, sardines, mackerel, salmon and trout, twice a week, as your protein source. These are high in omega 3 and 6, which are good for your heart.
6. Choose high-fibre starches which will keep you full for longer. Soluble fibre is found in oats, lentils, beans and citrus, and can help lower cholesterol. Insoluble fibre helps keep you regular and includes the peels and pips of fruit and vegetables, as well as nuts, seeds and grains.
7. Soya, linseed and edamame beans can have an oestrogen-like effect when consumed regularly. Make these a part of your balanced diet.
8. Low oestrogen during menopause can cause calcium loss from the bones, so it is important to consume sufficient calcium. Aim for two to three portions of low-fat milk or yoghurt or amasi. Avoid fizzy drinks, which can increase calcium loss from the bone.
9. Muscle mass decreases during menopause which can lead to increased fat storage. It is, therefore, important to monitor your weight and control your calorie intake.
10. Caffeine and alcohol can worsen hot flushes. Consume no more than two units of alcohol and limit caffeine from tea and coffee. Rather choose decaffeinated beverages.