Taking stock of your eating and drinking habits now will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. This does not mean giving up food and drink you enjoy, rather modifying some of your intake, and introducing some different dietary perspectives.
It’s a question of balance
Your body needs nutrients to maintain its physical, mental and emotional well-being. Food is made up of three elements :
Complex carbohydrates such as the following give us a slow release of energy :
- Grains - wheat, rye, oats, rice, barley and maize
- Beans - lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas etc
- Fibre in grains, beans and vegetables
Avoid simple carbohydrates such as honey, white and brown sugar, and glucose in high energy drinks. They will make your blood sugar curve rise steeply as a lot of sugar is pumped quickly into your system.
Why should this matter when I am menopausal?
Maintaining a steady blood sugar level can make a huge difference to how you feel emotionally and physically before, during and after the menopause. Sweet treats such as biscuits, cakes, chocolate and Danish pastries are best avoided. Limit your intake of alcohol and coffee, both of which tend to encourage hot flushes.
DID YOU KNOW?
Protein is found in meat, fish, poultry, eggs and cheese, vegetables, nuts, seeds and high-protein legumes such as beans.
Fat is seen as the villain of our eating habits. But unsaturated fat is a vital component of every human cell and our bodies needs it to insulate our nerve cells, keep our skin and arteries supple, balance our hormones and keep us warm.
Your intake of essential unsaturated fat can be improved by inclusion of the following :
- Cold-pressed unrefined vegetable oils such as sesame and sunflower oil for salad dressing.
- Extra-virgin olive oil for cooking.
- Oily fish such as mackerel and sardines
- Nuts (almonds, pecans, brazils etc) and seeds (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower etc)
- Tahini (creamed sesame seeds) for sauces and dressings
- Butter in moderation for spreading or cooking.
Try to buy good quality food and eat :
- Fruits and vegetables - abundantly
- Wholegrains and cereals - moderately
- Beans, peas and lentils - often
- Fats and concentrates (i.e foods that are high in protein, fat or sugar) - sparingly
Would it help if I took supplements?
Supplements are regularly dismissed by nutritionists as being unnecessary, but they are the answer if you have neither the time nor inclination to prepare nutritious foods, or you are reassured by taking a tablet which contains a specified daily requirement. There is growing evidence that they can have a beneficial effect on menopausal symptoms, especially the following :
- Lambert’s Gynovite Plus. Multivitamins and minerals for women during and after the menopause
- BioCare Isoflavone Complex (fermented soy and Vitamins B6 and E)
- BioCare Phytosterol Complex (natural source of plant sterols)
- Solgar Earth Source (suitable for vegetarians and has kosher certification)