- Increased body fat, decreased muscle mass, and lower bone mineral density can be prevented through diet.
- Antioxidants will help fight the increased oxidation that occurs at this stage.
- Self-medication in the consumption of supplements is not recommended, contact your doctor to determine the correct doses.
In the menopause and climacteric stages, women will begin to experience important changes in their bodies, so it is necessary to have an adequate diet to provide your body with all the necessary nutrients for its proper functioning, says Lic. Anayeli Romero Gómez, nutritionist specializing in overweight and obesity at ABC Medical Center.
When you reach the end of your reproductive age, you may experience some changes that, if left unattended, could put your health at risk, such as increased body fat, less muscle mass, and even a decrease in bone mineral density (being able to develop osteoporosis).
“Menopause, the process in which the appearance of menstruation ceases, is caused by the decrease in estrogen.This reduction will also cause changes in bone and cardiovascular health, and in the urinary system, as well as alterations in energy levels, weight gain, and hot flashes -partially caused by the fat increase-. Now more than ever, it is necessary to try to meet nutritional needs and perform regular exercise, since different studies show that here lies the success to overcome the changes caused by menopause.”1
Thus, it is important to prevent this situation through adequate nutrition, which will serve as a tool to reduce the impact of all these changes that you may experience.
Essential nutrients for menopause and climacteric
Particularly in these stages of life, you have to pay special attention to the food you eat to help your body in the changes that may occur.
You will have greater oxidation, which will result in cell aging, so you can eat fruits and vegetables that have antioxidants. Broccoli, blueberries, or lentils are some examples of this type of food; find the ones you like and include them in your daily diet.
The intake of essential fatty acids will help to preserve cardiovascular health and reduce the risks that may arise. You can find these in seeds, avocado, and vegetable oils, as a note, avoid frying them since doing so will decrease their beneficial properties.
The decrease in estrogen at menopause can cause calcium to not be fixed in the bones, and this can lead to possible osteoporosis. If you consume dairy products or derivatives, as well as foods that are added with this micronutrient, you will compensate for the low calcium absorption.
At this stage of life, you can have a decrease in muscle mass, says Lic. Romero. One way to prevent it is with adequate consumption of low-fat protein that can be of animal origin, such as chicken, fish, or meat, among others. In case you are a vegetarian, see your nutritionist to learn more about the alternatives you have as protein sources.
If your digestive health is affected by menopause, it is important to have adequate fiber intake, which you can find in vegetables and fruits. Remember that there are many flavor, texture, and color options, try the different alternatives out there. As an extra recommendation, eat these foods with the peel to have a better fiber intake and avoid, as much as possible, the consumption of juices, regardless of whether they are natural because they have a higher contribution of sugar to the body.
Menopause and supplements
A recurring question that patients have is the consumption of supplements during this stage of life, says Lic. Romero. The most important thing is not to self-prescribe, so see your doctor, who will perform some lab tests and determine the type of supplement and dose that your body needs.
A complete and balanced diet can provide all the necessary nutrients, but in case of detecting a deficiency in calcium, Vitamin D, or other nutrients, supplements will be your support tool.
A healthy lifestyle
At any stage of life, proper nutrition is one of the most important pillars for maintaining good health. But, additionally, it should be complemented by physical activity (40 minutes of exercise a day) and good sleep quality. These three pillars will help you achieve better health and, even during menopause, they can help you reduce some symptoms such as anxiety or depression.
These small actions will help you make this stage of life much more bearable.
At ABC Medical Center’s Nutrition and Obesity Center, we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!
Lic. Anayeli Romero Gómez, nutritionist specializing in overweight and obesity at ABC Medical Center.