Part 2: Menopause Diet – 8 Ways To Support Your Transition Nutritionally
Now that we’ve got through all of the nutritional factors that can go wrong and make menopause more uncomfortable in part 1 , let’s talk about 8 ways you can support your body with nutrition and make it through the transition with ease.
1. Stabilize Your Blood Sugar
To avoid insulin resistance and the accompanying complications, it’s important to stabilize your blood sugar. We’ve already shared some great strategies in this article.
Some, but not all, menopausal women experience success with the ketogenic diet, characterized by very low carbohydrates and high-fat content. Some research shows success with the keto diet in lowering glucose levels.
A literature review explored the relationship between ketosis and health factors such as insulin resistance. The findings positively linked ketosis with better insulin sensitivity and stable blood sugar levels.
The brain of menopausal women may also prefer ketones to sugar.
2. Eat An Organic And Nutrient-Dense Diet
You should fill your menopause diet with the most nutrient-dense foods such as organic organ meats and vegetables. Eating organic foods instantly reduces your toxic load and the toxic metabolites, leaving you with symptoms of estrogen dominance.
A meta-analysis of 35 studies explored the relationship between an organic diet and human health. Switching to an organic diet:
- Reduced pesticide levels in urine
- Decreased inflammatory markers
- Reduced the risk of metabolic syndrome
Organic foods also contain higher levels of nutrients which can help prevent the nutrient deficiencies associated with menopause.
Be sure to incorporate organ meats into your diet to benefit from their exceptionally high nutrient density compared to the normally consumed muscle meats. They’re also less expensive than muscle meats and are exceptionally high in:
- B vitamins
- Vitamins A
- Vitamin D
Increasing the amount of nutrient-dense foods in your diet makes it easier to avoid deficiencies that exacerbate menopause symptoms.
3. Cut Back On Sugary Junk Food And Alcohol
Sugary junk food, alcohol, and menopause don’t mix well.
Sugar And Junk Food
When you eat sugary junk food, you’re making multiple mistakes. The more sugar you eat, the higher your blood glucose levels rise. This requires your body to pump more insulin to maintain blood sugar levels. During menopause, you are already more likely to become insulin resistant, and a sugary diet could tip the scale in the wrong direction.
Avoiding hot flashes and night sweats is another great reason to reduce sugar intake. In an 8-year study of 3,075 women, researchers examined the link between insulin resistance, glucose levels, and hot flashes. Women who experienced hot flashes and night sweats more frequently had higher blood glucose levels and increased insulin resistance.
Junk food is high in calories and low in nutrients. With the potential for nutrient deficiencies and the associated risks, you must focus on filling your diet with nutrient foods like fruits, vegetables and healthy proteins.
When you drink alcohol during menopause, you risk making your symptoms worse.
Alcohol increases your risk of sleep disturbances. While it might help you fall asleep faster, your sleep quality decreases.
In a study of 293 women, ages 45 to 55, researchers surveyed women to determine what factors may contribute to hot flashes and night sweats. Those who consumed alcohol daily were more likely to report hot flashes and night sweats than those who did not.
Chronic alcohol consumption increases your risk of osteoporosis and lower bone density, which is already higher in menopause. Because of how alcohol affects your coordination, drinking also increases your fall risk and, therefore, bone fracture risk.
Optimize Your Sleep
Your health depends on getting quality sleep. Night sweats and mood changes make this difficult to achieve.
In a seven-year study of 3,045 women, researchers followed women throughout menopause. From perimenopause to postmenopause, they had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, increasing throughout the years. Additionally, women with more severe hot flashes are more likely to suffer from chronic insomnia.
Great sleep requires multiple factors, including both lifestyle and nutrition. If you’re magnesium deficient, you’re already behind the curve on supporting your sleep. The good news is that a magnesium supplement might be just what you need.
In a study of 46 older adults, subjects were given 500mg of magnesium and surveyed for insomnia symptoms. Those who took magnesium:
- Slept longer
- Fell asleep faster
- Had higher melatonin levels
Learn more about the best way to take magnesium for optimal sleep here.
More tips on optimizing your sleep can be found in this post.
You can also support optimal sleep by incorporating Sleep Breakthrough and (coming soon) Dream Optimizer into your daily supplement routine. Sleep Breakthrough helps you:
- Fall asleep faster
- Sleep deeply through the night
- Fall right back asleep if you wake up in the middle of the night
- Wake up refreshed and ready for the next day
Changes in estrogen and progesterone during menopause also interfere with your body’s water balance, making it easier for you to become dehydrated. Our bodies depend on water for optimal health, and dehydration can make all of your menopausal symptoms worse.
Proper hydration is important for healthy aging. Learn more details on how much you should drink and when in this post.
Correct Nutritional Deficiencies
We’ve already discussed the numerous problems with being nutrient deficient and menopause. Start with your health practitioner to test your nutrient levels, then adjust your diet and supplement routine from there.
In addition to balancing your nutrients, adding collagen can slow down skin and tissue aging and promote healthy, strong, and resilient bones. Collagen production declines rapidly during menopause leaving you more at risk for:
- Thinner skin and hair
- Brittle nails
- Weaker bones
- Increased skin wrinkles and sagging
With so many nutrients to consider, balancing them during menopause may seem overwhelming. Working with your health practitioner and eating a nutrient-dense diet will make it easier to maintain your levels and feel your best.
Feed Your Gut Flora
As menopause reduces the diversity of your gut flora, fight back by taking probiotics and adding fermented foods to your diet.
In a controlled study of 66 women, ages 45 – 55, women either added probiotics to their diet with yogurt daily or ate yogurt without probiotics. Those that took probiotics were calmer and experienced better quality of life.
Supporting your gut with the addition of probiotics can also support healthy weight during menopause. In a placebo-controlled study of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, subjects took a multi-strain probiotic. Those who took the probiotic experienced an increase in follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which can help balance your hormones during menopause and lead to better metabolic health.
Taking a multi-strain probiotic helps build gut diversity. Some particular probiotic strains to look out for include:
- Lactobacillus fermentum: strengthens your immune system, lowers cholesterol, and decreases the risk of UTI
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus: supports bone and vaginal health
- Lactobacillus plantarum: supports a healthy immune response and sharpens your memory (find a great source of L. plantarum in P3-OM)
- Bifidobacterium longum, found in Cognibiotics supports your mood
All of these also help with mood, sleep quality, and cognitive health.
Eating fermented foods is a delicious way to add probiotics to your daily routine. Some of the most well-known varieties include:
In a study on the effects of fermented food consumption, 18 subjects either ate a diet rich in fermented foods or fiber. After 17 weeks of the diet, those who ate the fermented foods had more diverse gut microbiota than those who ate a high-fiber diet. Therefore, adding fermented foods to your diet can combat the gut diversity loss that occurs naturally with menopause.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often used to relieve symptoms by replacing hormones that are commonly low during menopause. It can be a combination of estrogen and progesterone, traditionally with synthetic hormones.
A meta-analysis of HRT explored the risk factors and potential benefits of HRT. Some of the major findings include:
- HRT is safer when started within 10 years of menopause
- Lower doses of hormones for shorter durations are safer
- Hormonal patches, low-dose oral pills, and vaginal creams and inserts may be lower-risk options
- HRT is not recommended for anyone with or at high risk of cardiovascular disease
Whether or not you choose to undergo HRT is a personal decision to make with your doctor. He or she can help you weigh the severity of your symptoms with any risk factors you have and make the best decision for your body.
Menopause is a natural part of life for every woman. It can also be uncomfortable and come with other health complications. The good news is that you can naturally take control and support your body to help you get through this transition easily, with maximum healthspan. Make sure to:
- Check with your health practitioner to learn about and address any nutrient deficiencies
- Address gut health and gut flora by taking probiotics like P3-OM and eating more fermented foods
- Eat an organic and nutrient-dense diet while cutting back on sugary junk food and alcohol
- Get quality sleep with support from Sleep Breakthrough
- Do weight-bearing exercises and remain active
- Stabilize your blood sugar levels
- Talk to your doctor and consider if HRT is a good option for you
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