The Menopause Diet for Increased Energy
Menopause is generally a major life change for women. This life milestone consists of the time that women stop menstruating and can no longer become pregnant. Occurring in later adulthood, the most common age for menopause is 51 years. Find out how dietary measures can relieve your menopause symptoms and increase your levels of energy.
There are typically around fifty million women in the United States that are going through menopause. This becomes an issue because it is a time of enormous hormonal change. The ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, and with that, the protective effects of these hormones reduce as well. Also, there are generally several associated symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and lack of energy.
Researchers Find that Phytoestrogens Lessen Menopause Symptom Severity
Phytoestrogens show promise for improving hot flashes. Apparently, soy protein also lowers cholesterol, and isoflavones improve arterial compliance. To assess the effects of dietary intake of ground flaxseed, soy flour, and wheat flour on quality of life and symptom severity in menopausal women, researchers Lewis and associates (2006) conducted a double-blind, randomized, controlled intervention trial that involved almost 100 women. They found that hot flashes were less severe for the women who ingested flaxseed compared to a placebo group. Also, they concluded that phytoestrogens aided with managing menopausal symptoms.
Increase Energy with Primary Nutrition Interventions
There are several nutrition interventions that help increase energy during the time of menopause. One primary nutrition intervention, to boost energy throughout the day, involves having several small meals at regular intervals. That means no skipping breakfast and avoidance of long hours without eating. Also, it is important to make healthy choices at your meals. Choosing complex carbohydrates with fiber will help you keep a steady stream of high quality energy throughout the day. Be wary of low-carbohydrate diets that may promise quick weight loss. This is often short lived, and low-carbohydrate intake will leave you with un-sustained energy.
Another primary intervention to manage your diet during menopause is to be sure to choose healthy unsaturated fats over saturated fats. These will help to reduce your risk of heart disease, lower LDL cholesterol, and keep weight down. Protein will attribute large amounts of energy by providing the “building blocks” of cells that regulate the release of power. Additionally, protein aids in the maintenance of a healthy immune system. Finally, make sure to get enough fluid in the day. Dehydration is one of the main sources of fatigue, because when the body does not have adequate hydration, it must exert additional energy to maintain water balance.
Along with eating a balanced diet to increase energy, there has been some additional nutrition related finds that may assist in the diet of a perimenopausal or postmenopausal woman. Soy and flaxseed have both been found to help in the treatment of menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. It is important to ask a doctor about calcium and vitamin D supplementation, because the levels of vitamin D in the body decrease with age and bone density is no longer as active after menopause. Decreased estrogen levels also put women at greater risk for osteoporosis.
Menopause can lead to loss of energy for many women. To ward off the symptoms of menopause, follow our dietary recommendations, maintain a healthy weight, and get regular exercise. All of these things will greatly increase your energy during menopause.
Eden, J.A. Managing the menopause: Phyto-oestrogens or hormone replacement therapy? Annals of Medicine, 33(1): 4 – 6.
Elrich, S. (2011). Menopause. University of Maryland Medical Center.
Lewis, J.E. et al. (2006). A randomized controlled trial of the effect of dietary soy and flaxseed muffins on quality of life and hot flashes during menopause. Menopause, 13(4): 631 – 642.
Zamora, D. of WebMD (2013). Foods to Fight Fatigue.
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