Whether you’re in the throes of peri-menopause or you’ve been experiencing menopause for quite some time, chances are you’re struggling with water retention, bloating and possible weight gain. Yep, we know- menopause can cause weight gain thanks to fluctuating hormones and a drop in oestrogen.
Nutritional therapist, Angelique Panagos says, “This time of hormonal change has the potential to cause weight gain, sluggish digestion, and reduced energy and glow,” But the good news is, there’s plenty you can do to avoid this – with a menopause-friendly diet, you can start now.
Want to follow a menopause-friendly diet?
Ensure each of your snacks and meals include…
Good-quality proteins – Such as lean meats, fresh seafood, beans and other pulses.
Essential fatty acids – oily fish, avocados, whole olives, nuts, and seeds.
A rainbow of vegetables – the more colourful the better. These foods bolster tissue growth and repair, reduce sugar cravings, keep you feeling full, and support your skin health with a cocktail of anti-ageing nutrients.
Processed foods – Junk food such as burgers, pizzas, cakes and fried foods are often loaded with trans fats, added salt and sugar which zap our hormonal vitality, says Angelique. For optimal health, it’s best to steer clear of these foods.
Fresh fruit – “While full of vitamins and fibre, an excess can still offset your blood-sugar balance, so stick to a maximum of two portions daily, and avoid processed fruit juices.”
If you do one thing…
Angelique advises cutting right back on processed sugar and refined carbs. “Your sweet (or dessert, biscuit, cake, chocolate, soft drink) habit will send your hormones haywire, causing insulin spikes, which can feed weight gain and, thanks to glycation, make you look a whole lot older in the process!” she says.
Add more bone-boosting, calcium-rich foods to your diet – almonds, leafy green veg, fish, and sesame seeds.
Reduce your intake of tannins, which decrease calcium absorption, by switching some of your regular cups of tea and coffee with herbal options to further minimise your risk of osteoporosis.
Add a superfood extra
“Maca helps balance your hormones, particularly during menopause,” says herbalist Tipper Lewis. “It also helps to boost vitality and energy, contains calcium, and has aphrodisiac properties!” Use 1tbsp a day in smoothies or drinks. Try Superfoods Organic Maca Root Powder, R135 for 200g, Faithful to Nature.
Add phytoestrogens to your daily diet
To alleviate menopausal symptoms, you should aim to eat 100mg of isoflavones each day. These foods are generally healthy too and good for the waistline. The best way to get enough is to consume phytoestrogen-rich foods little and often throughout the day, as isoflavones appear to leave the body quite quickly. Foods rich in phytoestrogens, such as soya yoghurts and milk, are available.
Here are our suggestions of what to eat daily:
- A sandwich made with two slices of low-GI soya linseed bread
- 1/4 cup roasted soy nuts
- 100g portion of soya yoghurt
- 250ml glass of soya milk
- 100g tofu