Navigating Menopause: Nutritional Strategies for Wellness Admin February 7, 2024

Navigating Menopause: Nutritional Strategies for Wellness

What is menopause?

Menopause is a hormonal transition that all women go through. It consists of three different stages which include perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause.

What are the main characteristics of the different stages of menopause?

Perimenopause starts at around 40 years of age and can last several months to several years. It ends one year after the last menstrual period. Perimenopause is marked with a decrease in progesterone levels and changes in estrogen levels. At this stage, some unpleasant symptoms are experienced along a shorter cycle and irregular periods. Menopause usually occurs at an average age of 51. It is marked by 12 months without a period and a drop in estrogen levels resulting in unpleasant symptoms. Post menopause is the period after menopause which usually occurs after age 51. At this stage, estrogen levels continue to decrease causing unpleasant symptoms and health concerns, mainly: heart disease and osteoporosis.

What are the symptoms experienced during menopause?

The most common symptoms, experienced by more than 80% of women, include: hot flushes, night sweats, dizziness and heart palpitations. These symptoms are common in pre-menopause and menopause and are mainly due to a decrease in estrogen levels. It should be mentioned that there are also physiologic, psychologic and cognitive signs that are noticed during this period. This is mainly due to the hormonal transition which is the dropping levels of estrogen and progesterone. This results in other health concerns including: dry skin, migraine headaches, irregular cycle, weight gain, low mood, anxiety, forgetfulness, loss of confidence, memory problems and reduced verbal memory.

What is the metabolic impact of menopause on health?

The metabolic impact of menopause on health includes several parts. First, an increase in LDL Cholesterol (the harmful cholesterol) and triglycerides which puts women at a greater risk for heart disease. There is also an increase in insulin resistance which increases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Hypothyroidism is also a concern during this period, which may cause weight gain and unpleasant side effects. There is a decrease in bone density and this results in an increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.  

What are the foods and habits that should be avoided to relieve menopause symptoms?

It is recommended to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods as these may exacerbate menopause symptoms. It is also advised to abstain from smoking and avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes.

What are the foods and habits that should be incorporated to help relieve menopause symptoms?

To help alleviate the hot flashes it is recommended to consume foods rich in phytoestrogens such as berries, dark green leafy vegetables, tofu and soy foods, dried apricots, flaxseeds, and nuts. It is also recommended to consume foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as walnuts, avocadoes, olive oil, salmon and walnuts as these are good for heart health. Foods rich in vitamin D such as tuna, salmon, eggs and portobello mushrooms should also be incorporated in the diet for optimal bone health. Exercising on most days of the week and staying well hydrated are also good habits to pick up which help control weight.

Is there a specific diet that is recommended during menopause?

The Mediterranean diet has many health benefits and is a good meal plan to follow during this period. This diet is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, fish and seafood. It is also limited in meat and processed foods.

What foods should I choose for weight management.

Ideally, choose foods high in fiber such as legumes, nuts, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables as these provide a feeling of fullness and satiety.

The American Wellness Center in Dubai Healthcare City features a robust Nutrition Department dedicated to offering personalized dietary guidance and plans. This department emphasizes a holistic approach to nutrition, focusing on optimizing health through balanced eating habits. Their team of experts provides tailored advice to address a wide range of dietary needs and health goals, supporting clients in navigating nutritional challenges and making informed food choices to improve overall well-being.