Menopause in women is the stage where the menstruation cycle gradually reaches its end and they stop having their periods entirely after some time. It is a gradual phase which occurs during the early 50’s when a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs and there is less secretion of the two main female hormones, estrogen and progesterone.
Although, the average age of a woman to go through menopause is 51 years; but it differs from woman to woman and might start anywhere between 45-55 years. It is a natural process, however surgical removal of ovaries also triggers menopause. The flow of menstrual discharge will become decreasingly lesser over the time and ultimately will stop occurring altogether.
There are two stages of menopause, the one before it starts is called pre-menopause and the one after it is completed is called post-menopause. We have all heard about the irritating syndromes and annoying symptoms one has to endure during this phase. The symptoms differ from woman to woman and might range from mild to acute.
These symptoms generally occur because of the change in the hormonal secretions and include hot flashes, profuse sweating during the first couple of years and also night sweats, irregular periods, mood swings, insomnia, joint and muscle pain, sexual changes, headaches, weight gain, water retention, vaginal problems like dryness and vaginal pain during sex, palpitations etc.
The Risk Of Osteoporosis
also increases during menopause. Even though menopause is known to be an extremely irksome phase, it does not necessarily mean that you have to suffer through it. Taking some precautions and making some changes in your diet will definitely help you to get rid of the menopause blues, once and for all.Read on to find the foods which can help you to sail through this painful phase.
Food to keep the hot flashes and night sweats at bay:
To be constantly feeling hot under the collar or waking up in the night in a pool of sweat is not a desirable to anyone. But unfortunately it seems to be a part of the menopausal phase.
However, there are some foods which will definitely help to lessen the effects of the hot flashes. The drop in estrogen levels is partly responsible for the sweating and flashes and so the foods which give an estrogen boost to the body are very helpful.
Some of these natural food sources are soya and soya products, tofu, flax seed and flax seed oil. Other good sources are fruits and vegetables like apples, carrot, dates etc and also dairy products and grains like barley. Some food items trigger or worsen the effects of hot flushes and night sweats and should be avoided or lessened. These include chocolate, caffeine and caffeine products, alcohol, aerated beverages etc.
For The Mood Swings:
Estrogen hormone acts as a mood elevator in our body and the decrease in secretion of this hormone naturally triggers signs of mood swings and depressions. Although, it is an unavoidable side effect of menopause, however, including foods which are give a boost to the estrogen levels as well as a nerve chemical called serotonin will ease the problems to a great extent.
Including foods which are rich in complex-carbohydrates like whole-grains, fresh vegetables and fruits will boost the serotonin levels and dairy products will help in boosting the estrogen levels in the body. Ensuring that you include these in your daily meals will help keep the blues away. Another side effect of the decrease in serotonin levels is to increase your craving for sweets and savories which will again affect your waistline.
This is another irksome side effect of menopause which also leads to an impression of bloating and heaviness in the body. To mar the effects of water retention, potassium rich foods are found to be helpful as potassium helps in balancing the sodium and water levels in the body.
All citrus fruits are rich in potassium as are melons, dates, apricots, bananas etc. Dry fruits are also extremely good source of potassium. Vegetables like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, celery, carrots etc should also provide good dosage of potassium.
Risk of osteoporosis increases significantly during menopause because of a decrease in the calcium levels. Women, who have not consumed sufficient amount of calcium in their growing age are at more risk and should immediately increase their calcium intake after consulting a doctor. Milk, tofu, dairy products are rich sources of calcium and should be included in the daily diet.
Green leafy vegetables and fish are also good sources. Consuming an infusion of a tablespoon cider vinegar and honey in a glass of lukewarm water is helpful to increase the absorption of calcium in the body. Also alkaline rich foods like almonds and yogurt helps in retaining the calcium inside the body.
Also aerated beverages should be avoided to prevent the absorption of phosphates which will deter the body from absorbing calcium and magnesium. Eating foods which are rich in zinc and Vitamins C and D also helps in absorption of calcium in the body.
Vaginal dryness is often found to be a symptom of menopause which is caused by the decrease in the production of estrogen hormone. Estrogen helps to keep the vaginal lining lubricated and healthy. Vitamin E and magnesium are important nutrients to maintain a good vaginal health.
Also more water and fluids should be consumed to combat the dryness. A certain amount of fat is also necessary to maintain vaginal lubrication so some fat should be consumes in your daily diet. Red clover and cohosh are known to be helpful in getting rid of vaginal dryness and also prevent hot flashes.
In addition to the above, certain foods should be avoided to combat tiredness and headaches which are also normal during menopause. Sweets and chocolate should be avoided to prevent the sudden elevation in your blood sugar because the downward spiral is equally fast and has negative effect on the metabolism.
Eating a healthy breakfast rich in multi-grains, flax seeds and dry fruits is an excellent way to combat the ill-effects of menopause. Once you start following all the above with dedication, menopause blues will seem like a thing of the past.