Question: For peri menopausal women, why diet? The answer: To keep off the fat, of course!
But unbeknownst to the one who answered, the perimenopause diet may be the solution to the signs and symptoms of perimenopause. A lot of factors affect weight gain. It could be that you are using birth control pills or HRT (hormone replacement therapy), you do not exercise much, genetics (sure, sure, blame it on your 250-lb grandma), and stress. But chances are, you become what you eat.
Here, the onslaught of chronic dieting.
Since you are in perimenopause, you should know by now that if that worked for you then, age and due to hormonal imbalance, it may be impossible for that to work on you now. Studies show that chronic diet may prolong the duration of perimenopause symptoms. If you are currently on a low-fat, but high-carbohydrate diet, then this would definitely play a role in mid-life weight gain.
So why do we need to have a healthy diet as well as reducing weight gain? You will be able to manage and treat most of the perimenopause symptoms based on your food intake. Also, the risk of post menopause diseases such as breast and colon cancers, osteoporosis, diabetes and even heart disease will be greatly reduced.
- Have whole grains in your diet. Brown rice, corn, pasta, crackers and other whole grain foods contain antioxidants, B vitamins, calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, phytochemicals and lignan (a type of phytoestrogen). Beware of wheat as some women experience worsened PMS symptoms and endometriosis (commonly found in women with infertility problems.)
- Phytoestrogens have the ability to mimic real estrogen. Also known as the weak estrogen, these can be found in various fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes and seeds. They reduce episodes of hot flashes, breast cancer risk, and heart disease and are known to be helpful to bone density.
- Widely believed to be helpful, soy / isoflavone supplements actually stimulate the growth of normal breast cells. But in the absence of progesterone, it could be a risk for developing breast cancer. Before taking more that 100 to 160 mg of any type of isoflavone (as recommended), consult an expert for further information. A half cup serving of soy milk, tempeh and tofu gives out about 35 to 50 mg of soy isoflavones. Processed soy foods are poor sources of these.
- Flaxseed lengthens the menstrual cycle. In doing so, it increases the estrogen-progesterone ratio and alleviates hot flashes. This is also rich in antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, phytoestrogens, and stabilizes cholesterol levels.
- Cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts contain the phytochemical indole which can stimulate progesterone production.
- Omega 3 fatty acids help in bone density loss, heart disease and aids in treatment of depression and short-term memory loss.
- Green tea has antioxidants and phytochemicals. 3 to 6 cups of green tea daily has reportedly contributed to weight loss.
The best part about having a healthy diet is not just obvious physical weight loss. The focus should be on your total well-being, and everything will just follow naturally. Improve your diet, improve your health, live a longer, stress-free life.