Foods to include through the menopause

When working with my 1:1 weight loss clients I often see some struggle as they are approaching the menopause. Obviously we are all individual and as such have individual food needs but there are some foods you can include to help you.

Support our estrogen levels and hormone balance

High in calcium & magnesium

Calcium

Good food sources of calcium include dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, which are rich sources of easily absorbable calcium. Additionally, leafy greens like kale, collard greens, and spinach, along with fortified foods like tofu and orange juice, are excellent non-dairy sources.

Ensuring an adequate intake of calcium-rich foods is essential for menopausal women to support bone health and potentially help in weight management. 

It’s important to be mindful of calcium intake, especially through supplements, as excessive amounts may lead to adverse effects such as constipation and the formation of kidney stones. 

Furthermore, studies have indicated that in specific groups, particularly those already at risk for cardiovascular issues, calcium supplementation may potentially increase the risk of vascular diseases such as stroke and heart attack. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to prioritise getting calcium from dietary sources rather than relying solely on supplements, and consulting with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation is advisable. 

During menopause women are at an increased risk of osteoporosis due to the loss of estrogen.

Incorporating calcium & magnesium will help to maintain healthy bones and prevent bone loss. 

The daily value (DV) for calcium is 1300mg.  Calcium is an essential mineral required for various bodily functions, particularly crucial during menopause for maintaining bone health. 

foods high in calcium

Magnesium is a vital mineral that plays numerous roles in the body, making it particularly important during menopause and weight loss journeys. It supports over 300 enzymatic reactions, including those involved in energy metabolism, protein synthesis, and muscle function.

Adequate magnesium intake has been associated with improved insulin sensitivity, which can support our regulation of lood sugar levels which is vital for those looking to control their weight. 

Additionally, magnesium plays a crucial role in bone health by helping to regulate calcium and vitamin D metabolism. Women going through menopause often experience mood swings, insomnia, and muscle cramps, all of which magnesium may help alleviate due to its involvement in neurotransmitter regulation and muscle relaxation.

The current daily DV of magnesium is 420mg although individual needs may vary based on factors such as age, gender, and activity level.

Good food sources of magnesium include nuts, seeds, whole grains, leafy greens, legumes, and dark chocolate.

It’s important to note that excessive magnesium intake, particularly from supplements, may lead to gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, so it’s advisable to obtain magnesium primarily from dietary sources and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation. 

Including more phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens are plant-derived compounds that exhibit estrogen-like properties and can play a significant role in menopause, weight control, and aging-related diseases.

During menopause, when estrogen levels decline, phytoestrogens may help alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings by exerting weak estrogenic effects in the body.

Additionally, phytoestrogens have been associated with maintaining bone density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis, which becomes more prevalent with aging and menopause.

When it comes to weight control, phytoestrogens have shown promise in regulating appetite and promoting satiety, potentially aiding in weight management efforts.

Furthermore, research suggests that phytoestrogens may have protective effects against aging-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and cognitive decline.  

Incorporating these foods into the diet can provide a natural source of phytoestrogens and contribute to overall health and well-being during menopause and beyond. 

Phytoestrogens

Some studies have shown that having more phytoestrogens in your diet may help to reduce some of these symptoms. This is important when looking to balance your hormone levels, especially during weight loss.

Low Glycemic Foods

low glycemic foods

It is important to regulate our blood sugar levels when looking to lose weight. Low GI foods are useful to include as they are slowly digested and absorbed, causing slower release and rise in blood sugar levels. This also helps to control our sugar cravings.

What to include:

  • Wholegrains, multigrains, sourdough
  • Non starchy vegetables – eg carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery
  • Legumes – lentils, chickpeas, butter beans, kidney beans

Protein rich foods

Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays numerous critical roles in the body, making it vital for overall health and well-being.

During menopause and for those looking to lose weight having enough protein is very important. Protein is the building block of tissues, muscles, enzymes, hormones, and antibodies, supporting various bodily functions.

Consuming enough protein can help preserve lean muscle mass, which is particularly important during weight loss to ensure that the weight lost comes from fat stores rather than muscle tissue.

Additionally, protein has a higher thermic effect compared to carbohydrates and fats, meaning that the body burns more calories during digestion and metabolism, potentially helping in our weight loss quest

During menopause the natural decline in estrogen levels cause a loss of muscle mass and strength.

Getting enough daily protein will help to prevent muscle loss, balance your blood sugar, and help in your weight loss journey.

  •  Lean meat (chicken, pork, fish) eggs, yoghurt
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Tofu, beans, lentils
  • Protein from vegetables – watercress, sprouts, spinach, cabbage, asparagus

Healthy fats

Recipes for Menopause

I have created some recipes for you that might help. These are all specially formulated to include the key nutrients we have been talking about which will support you as you lose weight whilst going through your menopause journey.

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