General Practice 2022

Menopause diet: what to eat and what to avoid (with cardápio)

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Menopause diet: what to eat and what to avoid (with cardápio)
Menopause diet: what to eat and what to avoid (with cardápio)

Menopause is a stage in a woman's life when there are sudden hormonal changes, resulting in the appearance of some symptoms such as hot flashes, dry skin, increased risk of osteoporosis, decreased metabolism and increased risk of having excess weight, as well as other metabolic and cardiovascular diseases.

For this reason, having a good diet, under the guidance of a nutritionist, during this phase is important to ensure physical and emotional well-being, and it is important that it is accompanied by regular physical activity, such as dancing, weight training or hiking, for example.

What the diet should include

During menopause, it is recommended that women include in their diet some important nutrients to prevent the onset of he alth problems related to this period, such as:

1. Phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens can be found in some foods such as soy, nuts, oilseeds and cereals, and their composition is very similar to women's estrogens and, therefore, the consumption of this type of food could help relieve menopause symptoms such as night sweats, irritability and hot flashes, as they regulate estrogen levels in the body.

Where to find: flaxseeds, soybeans, sesame seeds, hummus, garlic, alfalfa, pistachios, sunflower seeds, plums and almonds. Check out a complete list and other benefits of foods with phytoestrogens.

2. Vitamin C

Consumption of vitamin C helps to strengthen the immune system, in addition to having benefits for the skin, as this vitamin facilitates healing and allows the absorption of collagen in the body, which is a protein that guarantees structure, firmness and skin elasticity.

Where to find it: kiwi, strawberry, orange, pepper, papaya, guava, melon, tangerine.

3. Vitamin E

Vitamin E helps to improve the he alth of the skin, preventing premature aging and the appearance of wrinkles and also maintaining the integrity of the hair fibers, favoring its hydration.

In addition, due to its antioxidant action, it helps to increase the body's defenses, as well as take care of heart he alth and prevent the onset of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's.

Where to find: sunflower seeds, peanuts, Brazil nuts, walnuts, mango, seafood, avocado and olive oil.

4. Omega 3

Foods rich in omega 3 have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, being excellent for fighting diseases such as arthritis, for example. In addition, it also favors heart he alth, as it helps to decrease "bad" cholesterol, LDL, and increase "good", HDL, in addition to regulating blood clotting and improving blood pressure.

Where to find: tuna, salmon, linseed oil and seeds, sardines and walnuts.

Check out other benefits of omega 3 in the following video:

5. Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium and vitamin D are essential nutrients for he althy teeth and bones, preventing the development of osteopenia or osteoporosis, which are common diseases that occur during and after menopause due to a decrease in estrogens.

Where to find: skim milk, plain yogurt, white or low-fat cheese, almonds, basil, watercress, flaxseeds and broccoli. In the case of vitamin D, some foods are salmon, yogurts, sardines and oysters.

6. Fibers

Fibers are important not only to regulate intestinal transit and avoid problems such as constipation, but also to prevent cholesterol build-up, control blood sugar levels and promote the feeling of satiety, favoring loss of weight.

Where to find it: fruits, vegetables, pumpkin, oatmeal, wheat bran, beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, rice, pasta and whole-grain bread.

It is important to mention that oats, in addition to containing fiber, contain phytomelatonin, which promotes a good night's sleep, being a food mainly indicated for those who suffer from insomnia.

7. Tryptophan

In menopause it is normal to have mood swings, sadness or anxiety, so foods rich in tryptophan are also an excellent option for when you have these symptoms.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is not synthesized by the body and that participates in the production of serotonin, melatonin and niacin, helping to improve mood and increasing the feeling of well being.

Where to find: bananas, broccoli, walnuts, chestnuts, almonds.

See the video below for other options for foods rich in tryptophan to improve your mood:

Foods to avoid

Knowing which foods should not be consumed during menopause is also important to avoid your symptoms and prevent the accumulation of fat in the abdomen, which is common during this period.

For this reason, during menopause it is recommended to reduce the consumption of dishes with many spices, red meat in excess, alcoholic beverages, sausages, fried foods, canned goods, ready-made sauces, fast foods and processed foods in general, as they are high in sugars and saturated fat.

In addition, dairy products and dairy products must be skimmed and it is recommended to reduce the consumption of coffee or drinks with excessive caffeine, such as hot chocolate or black tea, as they interfere with calcium absorption and have a stimulating action, which can make it difficult for women with insomnia to sleep.

Menopause Diet

The following table provides a 3-day menu option that can help alleviate menopause-related symptoms:

Main Meals Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Breakfast 1 glass of soy milk with 1 slice of wholemeal bread toasted with extra virgin olive oil and rosemary leaves + 1 tangerine 1 cup of oatmeal prepared with soy milk + 1 tablespoon of chia and 1/2 banana, cut into slices 1 glass of orange juice + 1 medium pancake made with almond flour and peanut butter
Morning snack 1 kiwi + 6 nuts 1 strawberry smoothie made with soy milk 1 tablespoon rolled oats 1 banana with cinnamon
Lunch/Dinner 1 medium grilled salmon fillet with 3 tablespoons of brown rice + 1 cup of cooked carrots and broccoli + 1 tablespoon of olive oil + 1 apple 1 chicken breast fillet with 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato and lettuce, onion and tomato salad with a handful of pumpkin seeds + 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 orange Zucchini noodles with tuna and natural tomato sauce with grated cheese, accompanied by a salad of arugula, avocado and walnuts + 1 teaspoon of olive oil
Afternoon Snack 1 plain yogurt with 1/2 tablespoon rolled oats 2 wholemeal toast with hummus and carrot sticks 1 cup of sugar-free gelatin
Evening Snack 1 cup unsweetened chamomile tea 1 cup unsweetened linden tea 1 cup of unsweetened lavender tea

The amounts included in the menu may vary according to age, gender, physical activity and whether or not you have any associated disease, so it is best to look for a nutritionist so that a complete evaluation is carried out and can be a nutritional plan adapted to the needs.

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