Contending with the symptoms of menopause, including weight gain and mood changes, can be anything but pleasant. And while regular appointments with your gynecologist can ensure that you're being proactive about your health, it's also important to look at your diet as you enter this phase of your life. Making a handful of simple changes to how you eat can not only help you manage your menopausal symptoms, but can also improve your overall health as you age. Here are four areas of focus.
Calcium Is Key
It's no secret that dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are a healthy source of calcium, but it's possible to get this vitally important, bone-strengthening substance through a multitude of other products. Calcium is prevalent in nuts and seeds such as almonds and sesame seeds, and you can also find it in soft-boned fish such as salmon and sardines. Seek out green vegetables such as kale and broccoli to add to your calcium intake.
Skip The Processed Foods
Sure, it's tempting to grab some fast food on occasion, but the convenience of this type of food is offset by its dietary risks. In addition to the high levels of fat and sugar, the sodium content of many processed foods can promote bloating. Given that many menopausal women experience some form of bloating, an excessive consumption of processed foods can make the symptoms even worse. Limit your intake of restaurant food and avoid highly processed, sodium-heavy items at the grocery store such as canned soups and processed meats.
Focus On Iron
Many women experience an iron deficiency during menopause, but you can easily boost your iron intake by including several iron-rich foods in your diet. Iron is prevalent in everyday diet staples such as eggs, red meat and poultry, as well as other readily available foods such as salmon, oysters and dried legumes. Liver provides a heavy dose of iron, too, but even if you're not a fan of the taste, you can turn to other foods that please your palate.
Say No To Spice
It's often possible to reduce the frequency of uncomfortable hot flashes by reducing the amount of spicy food in your diet. This isn't to say that you can't season your food, but it's best to avoid spices that are excessively hot, such as cayenne, chili and some curries. Hot sauces and spicy condiments such as hot peppers are also best to skip.
Talk to a gynecologist like Darin L Weyhrich for more information on how diet can affect your menopause symptoms.