What About Plant Oestrogens
Plant oestrogens are very similar to human oestrogen. If eaten regularly, and in sufficient quantities, they can start to have mild oestrogen-like effects which is useful as oestrogen levels decline.
For some women these effects could be sufficient to help relieve menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flushes. It is worth knowing that:
- it can take two to three months for benefits of plant oestrogens to be seen
- they seem to work better for some women than others which might be down to differences in gut bacteria
- consuming plant oestrogens several times a day appears to be more effective compared to one larger dose
- foods containing plant oestrogens are also heart friendly so its worth trying to include calcium-enriched soya products like milk, yoghurts, soya and linseed bread or edamame beans two to three times each day before opting for supplements.
Young And Active Women
This category is for those women who are more active than normal. They probably are athletes or go to the gym regularly. Their primary focus is on building muscle and keeping it. Building muscle requires more protein. Just like putting on an addition to your house, more building materials are required. Muscles grow by being worked, repairing and then expanding to get bigger and stronger. You dont have to be a body builder to grow some healthy muscle mass. You will probably want 75 to 90 grams per day if you are in this category. Keep in mind, that if your activity level decreases, you may also want to decrease your protein intake back to around 60 grams or so.
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Load Your Plate With Brain Food
Protect your mind in the later years with foods that fuel brain power! According to Somer, these include fatty fish rich in DHA and EPA , which show promise in improving memory and possibly lowering the risk of dementia. Two compounds in dark green leafy vegetables also show promise in protecting both vision and memory as we age. Finally, blueberries have been nicknamed “brain berries” because of the evidence linking them to improved brain function.
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Does Food Play A Role
Some have suggested that menopause was much easier for Asian women than for Westernersat least while women followed traditional, mostly plant-based diets. Hot flashes have been reported by only about 10 percent of women in China,1 17.6 percent of women in Singapore,2 and 22.1 percent of women in Japan.3 In contrast, it is estimated that hot flashes are experienced by 75 percent of women over the age of 50 in the United States.4 Whether these differences might be partly due to reluctance in reporting symptoms among Asians is not entirely clear. And as Asias diets gradually westernize, these differences are likely to disappear anyway.
But we do know that, throughout their lives, Western women consume much more meat, and about four times as much fat, as women on traditional Asian rice-based diets, and only one-quarter to one-half the fiber. For reasons that have never been completely clear, a high-fat, low-fiber diet causes a rise in estrogen levels. Women on higher-fat diets have measurably more estrogen activity than do those on low-fat diets. At menopause, the ovaries production of estrogen comes to a halt. Those women who have been on high-fat diets then have a dramatic drop in estrogen levels. The drop appears to be less dramatic for Asian women who have lower levels of estrogen both before and after menopause. The resulting symptoms are much milder or even nonexistent.
Go Easy On Alcohol And Cigarettes
Heavy drinking doesnt just cause weight gain, it can make your muscles weaker and prevent muscle growth. Research shows that excessive alcohol intake can cause muscle pain, cramps, and muscle weakness.
Drinking too much can also cause inflammation. Avoid alcohol altogether or drink occasionally.
Cigarettes have also been shown to promote muscle loss. Research shows that older women who smoke have less muscle mass compared to non-smokers. Note that electronic cigarettes arent safe either.
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Why You Need Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates have a purpose. They are the preferred source of energy for the body and the brain. Without carbohydrates you will likely feel sluggish and suffer from brain fog. You will also be missing out on many essential nutrients. Carbohydrates are also necessary for hormone balance. The key is eating the right kind of carbohydrates.
Why Protein Requirements Change As You Age
Thereâs some evidence that older adults are not as responsive to protein as they age, meaning they need more of it to function optimally compared to younger adults. And the need increases further if you are a woman thanks to menopause.
âWhile technically increased recommendations by protein researchers consider those age 65 and older, menopause is a key time in a women’s life where due to hormonal shifts, body composition can change drastically in a short period of time,â says Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN. These changes include increased body fat and , the latter of which can impact longevity. Considering that the average age of menopause is 51, women might want to start upping their protein intake sooner than 65.
âThe decline in muscle mass and function, known as sarcopenia, is due to a variety of factors,â says Jones, including decreased activity levels, poor nutrition, chronic disease, and neurological decline. For older women, though, one of the biggest drivers is menopause-related hormonal changes. During perimenopause and menopause itself, declining fertility causes estrogen levels start to plummet, which has a trickle-down effect on the rest of the body. Research shows that the loss in estrogen, which is important in maintaining muscle and bone mass, can contribute to sarcopenia.
Speaking of protein, these are the best vegetarian and vegan sources of protein that an RD loves:
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Eat Fruits And Vegetables First
Fruits and vegetables are among the healthiest foods we can eat. These powerhouse foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, fruits and antioxidants and should take up at least half of your plate at mealtimes.
Research has linked many benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables specific to menopausal women, including:
- Reduced hot flashes
- Improved weight loss
- Lower blood pressure
A study in 2000 even found that broccoli helped decrease levels of estrogen associated with breast cancer, and increased estrogen levels that help protect against breast cancer.
Tip: Snack on whole fruits and vegetables throughout the day or eat fruits and veggies first at mealtimes.
Protein: Is More Better
For a relatively active adult, a daily protein intake to meet the RDA would supply as little as 10% of his or her total daily calories. In comparison, the average American consumes around 16% of his or her daily calories in the form of protein, from both plant and animal sources.
The Protein Summit reports in AJCN argue that 16% is anything but excessive. In fact, the reports suggest that Americans may eat too little protein, not too much. The potential benefits of higher daily protein intake, these researchers argue, include preserving muscle strength despite aging and maintaining a lean, fat-burning physique. Some studies described in the summit reports suggest that protein is more effective if you space it out over the days meals and snacks, rather than loading up at dinner like many Americans do.
Based on the totality of the research presented at the summit, Rodriguez estimates that taking in up to twice the RDA of protein “is a safe and good range to aim for.” This equates roughly to 15% to 25% of total daily calories, although it could be above or below this range depending on your age, sex, and activity level.
However, over the last several years, the public health message has shifted away from desired percentages of protein, fats and carbohydrates. For example, the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasize the importance of eating healthier protein rich foods rather than concentrating on specific amounts of daily protein.
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Why Do Some Women Put On Weight During Menopause
The dieticians say there’s far too little research about menopause and weight gain: ‘Midlife womens lives are complicated and often in transition on many fronts, and research to date has struggled to tease out the differences between weight gain related to age and that specifically attributed to shifting hormones. We do know that metabolism changes, especially once a woman is in her 40s, and it plays a major role in midlife weight gain.’
‘We do know that metabolism changes, especially once a woman is in her 40s’
That said, there’s one common reason middle-age can impact on our waistlines: ‘Unless youre genetically blessed, once you get into your 40s , you cant eat the way you used to without gaining weight. For the most part, a loss of muscle mass combined with less physical activity is to blame. Muscle mass peaks around age 30 and then begins a slow decline that will drag your metabolism down with it unless you get serious about adding some strengthening activity to your life.’
Go Easy On The Cardio
Cardio is good for your heart but it isnt very effective at building muscle. Additionally, overdoing cardio after menopause can cause overuse injuries. These types of injuries are caused by doing the same exercises repeatedly. Theyre common among cyclists and runners.
High-intensity cardio isnt safe either because it puts pressure on the joints. The best training approach is to combine strength training with minimal low-intensity cardio.
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How Much Protein Do We Need During Menopause
To combat sarcopenia and accommodate for other hormonal and physical changes, the bodys protein needs increase during menopause. Healthy older adults should consume 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight dailymore than the recommended intake of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for younger adults. Based on the higher recommendation, a 150 lb female should aim for a protein intake of 68 to 82 grams per day .
Look For Foods High In Omega
Shapiro recommends oily fish like salmon, which she says may help battle the mood swings many women experience during menopause. This is thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids they contain. Mackerel, sardines, and cod are also good options. Omega-3 fats are also very helpful to provide energy and healthy fats for the menopausal woman and they help reduce LDL and lower the risk of heart disease. Goldberg recommends that women at greater risk of heart disease after menopause discuss taking a fish oil or omega-3 supplement with their physicians. One study, she says, found that taking EPA reduced the frequency of hot flashes in menopausal women. Along with salmon, these are the best omega-3 superfoods.
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Eat According To Your Body Clock
‘We are ruled by natural body rhythms that affect our health, and when you eat matters. Consistent food intake regulates your energy levels, heads off crabbiness, and helps prevent you from going overboard because you let yourself get too hungry.
‘Managing meal timing is gaining ground for its role in weight control, regulating blood glucose levels, getting better sleep, and possibly lowering cancer risk.’
The Importance Of Dietary Protein After Menopause
The Importance of Dietary Protein After Menopause
As you enter the menopausal years, you start to lose muscle, strength and bone mass at a greater rate. Even though you begin to lose muscle after the age of 20, this process accelerates after menopause and the decline is steeper in women than in men. Resistance training helps to reduce the loss of strength and muscle mass, but diet plays an important role in holding onto lean body mass as well. A number of women notice an increase in body fat during and after menopause, especially around the waist and tummy as visceral fat, the unhealthiest kind, increases and they start to see a muffin top.
In an attempt to curb the increase in body fat, many women go on a weight loss diet. That can lead to an unhealthy consequence further loss of muscle mass. A recent study looked at this issue. This study emphasizes the importance of consuming dietary protein throughout the day when youre trying to lose weight.
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How Much Protein Do We Really Need During Menopause
We often associate protein with body builders and athletes, but its actually an essential part of anyones diet and especially so for menopausal women! This nutrient is vital for building hormones, muscles, healthy skin, strong nails, digestive enzymes and more. Find out why you need it and how much you really need in todays video.
Natural Solutions For Dryness
At menopause, vaginal blood flow falls. Dryness and irritation can occur, and bacteria infections that pass to the urinary tract are more likely.
What is to be done? First of all, even after the ovaries stop, the adrenal glands and the fat tissue continue to contribute to estrogen production after menopause. In addition, phytoestrogens in plants provide weak estrogen effects. Soy products, such as tofu, tempeh, and miso, contain huge amounts of these natural compounds.
The plant-derived estrogen and progesterone creams described above can be helpful. Used on a regular basis, these creams maintain a moist vaginal lining. However, please note that they should not be used as a sexual lubricant. Estrogen cream is a medication, not a lubricant, and it goes through any skin it touches, including mens. Many women prefer to avoid hormone creams entirely and use ordinary lubricants or moisturizers instead.
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Take Vitamin D3 Supplements
According to a study published by the North American Menopause Society, vitamin D3 supplementation can help women build muscle after menopause.
In the study, researchers found that women who took vitamin D for 9 months increased muscle strength by 25 percent while those who took placebo lost an average of 6.8 percent of muscle mass. Whats more interesting is that vitamin D supplementation can prevent muscle loss and enhance muscle growth 12+ years after menopause.
Getting enough sunlight exposure and eating eggs, fatty fish, beef liver, and foods fortified with vitamin D can also help retain muscle mass.
Consider Beef And Chicken Liver
This one may be an acquired taste, but hear us out it’s one worth acquiring! Cow and chicken liver offer some of the best sources of trace mineral and B vitamins. When shopping, make sure the cow or chicken liver is of the grass-fed, zero-hormone, natural variety. “Liver is a fantastic source of vitamin C complex, iron, and many of the trace minerals our body relies on. When these are in low supply, symptoms such as those experienced in menopause become more pronounced,” explains Dr. Forman.
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Basic Dietary Guidelines For Menopause
During menopause, eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Since women’s diets are often low in iron and calcium, follow these guidelines:
Get enough calcium. Eat and drink two to four servings of dairy products and calcium-rich foods a day. Calcium is found in dairy products, fish with bones , broccoli, and legumes. Aim to get 1,200 milligrams per day.
Pump up your iron. Eat at least three servings of iron-rich foods a day. Iron is found in lean red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables, nuts, and enriched grain products. The recommended dietary allowance for iron in older women is 8 milligrams a day.
Get enough fiber. Help yourself to foods high in fiber, such as whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Most adult women should get about 21 grams of fiber a day.
Eat fruits and vegetables. Have at least 1 1/2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables each day.
Read labels. Use the package label information to help yourself make the best choices for a healthy lifestyle.
Drink plenty of water. As a general rule, drink eight glasses of water every day. That fulfills the daily requirement for most healthy adults.
Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, cut down on portion sizes and eat fewer foods that are high in fat. Don’t skip meals, though. A registered dietitian or your doctor can help you figure out your ideal body weight.
Limit alcohol to one or fewer drinks a day.
B Vitamins And Protein Are Your Best Buds
B vitamins provide energy and regulate mood swings, while protein helps to stabilize the blood sugar . That’s why Goldberg recommends opting for foods that are both high in B vitamins and protein for your on-the-go snacks. Among her favorites are REDD Bar, Good Greens Energy Bars, Field Trip Jerky, Simply Snackin Jerky and Sunburst Trout Farms Jerky.
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What Is The Best Protein Powder For Women
There are lots of different types of protein powders out there, from whey protein and pea protein to rice protein and more. When it comes to choosing the best protein for you, consider if your diet requires a specific type , if there’s a flavor you prefer and how much protein you want to invest in.
So many protein powders are packed with additives and hidden fillers and nasties. Look for a powder with minimal ingredients, ideally no sweeteners or sugar and unless you want to gain weight, try to swerve those with added BCAAs .
Lower Your Calorie Intake
Did you know that you can gain weight after menopause if you continue to eat the same amount of food you ate before menopause? Reason for this is metabolism slows down after menopause. And the hormonal changes promote accumulation of fat, especially around the abdominal area.
Lower your calorie intake after menopause, but avoid eating too little since it may cause muscle loss. Get most of your calories from plant-based foods to avoid weight gain.
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