When a woman undergoes a menopausal transition, she will most likely experience internal and external changes in her body, which may affect her physically, mentally, and emotionally. Unfortunately, lifestyle and diet play key roles in these changes. Specifically, what you eat and drink can trigger the onset of these so-called changes or menopausal signs, such as weight gain, mood shifts, hot flashes, sleeping problems, drying skin, and thinning hair. Without early intervention, these symptoms may worsen health issues, such as postmenopausal depression, bone problems, and heart diseases. Therefore, one should always be careful with what she eats to ameliorate her health throughout her menopausal journey.
What foods and drinks can adversely affect your health amidst menopause? Check out what to include and avoid in your menopausal diet.
The Worst Food and Drinks that Can Ruin Your Health and Disposition during Menopause
Here are some foods and beverages that every woman should avoid as much as possible during her menopausal transition.
1. Fast food
If you're too busy to eat home-cooked meals or if you're running out of time, grabbing some fast food would be a typical resort. However, various studies show how fast food can trigger and worsen menopausal symptoms, such as weight gain. Your estrogen levels decrease during your menopausal transition, and this decline isn't good news for your other hormones. It can harmfully affect the hormones that regulate metabolism by slowing it down, resulting in weight gain. Fast foods are also loaded with unhealthy fat and empty calories, making it harder for your body to burn them. You won't even be able to obtain many nutrients from these foods, making them very unhealthy.
2. Sugary foods
Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, you may need to curb your dessert cravings. Regular consumption of sugary foods is also a big no-no for women going through menopause. High sugar levels in your blood can constrict healthy blood pressure, making it more exhausting for your heart to pump blood. This struggle may lead to heart diseases if left untreated. Besides cardiovascular problems, sugary food can also worsen other menopausal symptoms. Studies have also found that women with high blood sugar levels experience more and severe hot flashes. You may eat a bar of dark chocolate when your mood shifts, but don't make habitually consume ample amounts of chocolates to prevent experiencing sugar rush, fatigue and diabetes.
Drinking soft drinks may not be the best option for you during your menopausal journey. Many carbonated beverages are loaded with sugar. Even the famous "sugar-free" drinks aren't also totally safe for your health. According to Harvard Health Publishing by the Harvard Medical School, artificial sweeteners, commonly found in sugar-free drinks, may push consumers to crave more sweets. This craving may lead to binge-eating of desserts, resulting in weight gain and even diabetes. Soda has also been strongly linked to bone deterioration, which can be very critical for middle-aged women.
4. Coffee and Tea
Some menopausal women may find it challenging to sleep peacefully at nighttime, and this sleeping problem may occur as a result of hot flashes or night sweats. It can also happen because of hormonal imbalance since estrogens also affect the production of melatonin or hormones that regulate your sleeping pattern. Therefore, one must avoid any food or drink that may perk you up late at night, just like coffee and tea. These beverages contain a substantial amount of caffeine, a chemical that lets your brain stay awake and alert for a certain period. This boost of energy may inhibit a healthy sleep cycle, making you feel fatigued the next day. Coffee can also upset your stomach by increasing its acid levels, making you feel more uncomfortable during menopause. If you want to drink hot coffee or tea during cozy days, ensure that the caffeine levels are not high enough to disturb your sleep.
5. Starchy carbohydrates
During the menopausal transition, a woman may lose muscle mass and begin gaining visceral fats. This unwanted weight gain can be quite annoying, especially for women in their late 40s and early 50s trying to keep themselves in shape. To manage your weight even during menopause, try to avoid consuming starchy foods like cakes, pasta, white rice, and white bread. These foods are loaded with sugar, which can increase your blood sugar levels and cause hot flashes. Starchy carbs are also rich in calories, signifying that you need to burn them as fast as possible to prevent weight gain.
6. Alcoholic beverages
Who says menopausal women can't party? Women can still enjoy partying with friends, even in their 50s, as long as they don't drink too much alcohol. Studies show that alcohol can bring forth various menopausal changes, with hot flashes being the most common symptom. Heavy drinking has also been linked to hair loss problems, which can happen during menopause. High levels of alcohol also interfere in the absorption of nutrients from other meals, affecting various physiological functions such as hair growth. What's worse is that you don't gain healthy nutrients from alcohol and only empty calories that make you gain weight. When you also drink alcohol, you are also prone to suffer from dehydration, changing your hair and skin's moisture content. As a result, your hair becomes dryer and more brittle after drinking alcoholic beverages.
7. Dairy products
Although dairy can provide calcium, which you need for bone strength during menopause, they may also not be the best foods for menopausal women. Most dairy products are commercialized, which undergo pasteurization. Unfortunately, this process can kill the good bacteria, destroy milk proteins, and even cause allergies. Excessive dairy product consumption can cause calcium build-up on your scalp, blocking the pores and inhibiting hair follicle growth. You can still consume milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products, but limit them as much as possible.
Healthy Alternatives: What You Should Eat Instead
Now that you have known the worst foods to eat during your menopausal transition, get to know the healthy food that every woman should include in her everyday diet, especially during menopause.
1. Soy products
Some women may not be fans of soy products, such as tofu, soy milk, and miso. Because they are made from soybeans, these foods and beverages are actually rich sources of phytoestrogens or estrogen-mimicking plant compounds. Your body may detect them as estrogens because of their similar chemical structure, helping you stabilize your hormonal levels. By enriching your diet with phytoestrogens, you can combat different menopausal symptoms caused by estrogen decline during menopause. Soy milk can also be your healthy alternative to dairy milk if you don't want to cut off milk consumption.
2. Iron-loaded foods
When your body lacks iron, there isn't enough hemoglobin in the blood, making it more difficult to transmit oxygen and nutrients to different tissues and organs. As a result, it can also lower one's energy, which makes it critical for middle-aged women who experience fatigue as a menopausal symptom. To keep iron deficiency at bay, enrich your daily diet by eating dark leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, as well as legumes, such as red beans and pumpkin seeds. Don't forget to include red meat, chicken liver, and seafood, such as mussels and oysters.
3. Whole-grained products
Instead of indulging in white rice and white bread for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, try whole-grained foods for a change. They are enriched with various nutrients like fiber, vitamin B5, and protein, which every woman needs during menopause. According to some studies, eating fibrous fruits and vegetables can reduce hot flashes' severity. Harvard Health Publishing also claims that a healthy amount of fiber can mitigate the chances of developing heart diseases and gastrointestinal disorders, and even various cancer types, common among women in the 50s. Fiber is also essential in nutrient absorption. Thus, you need enough fiber to receive sufficient hair growth nutrients for hair loss prevention. For your everyday diet, eat a bunch of whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, buckwheat, quinoa, and corn, for they are healthy yet filling alternatives of white rice and white bread.
Proper Nutrition Leads to a Healthy Menopausal Transition
A healthy diet will always have a vital role in the healthy functioning of every tissue and organ in the body. Your food and beverage intake can also affect how your body works in critical situations, especially during the menopausal transition. Hormonal imbalance during menopause is inevitable, but you can alleviate the symptoms you may experience by eating the most nutritious foods every day. Don't forget to minimize or, better yet, cut off from foods and beverages that won't contribute anything useful to you during menopause.
Your Diet May Not Be Enough to Keep Your Hair Healthy.
Poor hair growth is an apparent symptom among menopausal women. Besides eating healthy meals every day, women should also use the best Thicktails Hair Growth products to protect their tresses against hair loss problems. Keep your sensitive hair and scalp clean and healthy by using the best shampoo for thinning hair.