Nearing menopause, women are plagued by a number of uncomfortable symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain, sleep problems, and vaginal dryness. Experts like gynecologists in Islamabad, recommend lifestyle changes that can alleviate these annoying symptoms. One of such changes that can help include: the incorporation of menopause-friendly foods in the diet that can help reduce hot flashes.
Why do hot flashes occur in the first place?
Hot flashes occur due to varying hormone changes in the body near menopause. The temperature regulator of the body—that is the hypothalamus, lies in the brain and is triggered by these hormone fluctuations. During menopause, the level of estrogen hormone decreases, and this, in turn, starts a chain of events resulting in hot flashes.
Basic dietary guidelines for women in menopause
During menopause, it’s important to get a variety of nutrients for better health. The basic guidelines of what to eat during menopause include:
- Getting enough calcium: calcium-rich foods are a must during and before menopause. Women should eat and drink at least 2 to 4 servings of dairy products during menopause every day. Foods that are high in calcium include fish without bones, legumes, broccoli, and dairy products.
- Getting enough fiber: foods rich in fiber include whole-grain, bread, pasta, rice, fresh fruits, and vegetables. For most women daily intake of around 21 g of fiber is recommended. Fiber not only keeps the bowel movement regular but also maintains good glycaemic control and lowers cholesterol.
- Getting enough iron: for women nearing menopause eating three servings of iron-rich foods every day is necessary. The recommended dietary allowance for iron in older individuals is 8 mg per day. Iron is found abundantly in red meat, fish, leafy green vegetables, green products, eggs, nuts, and poultry.
- Fruits and vegetables: Intake of fresh fruits and vegetables enriches the body with antioxidants which fight oxidative stress and damage to the cells. Foods that are favorable for menopause include leafy vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, mangoes, cherries, berries, bell peppers, eggplants, and spinach
- Fatty fish: several studies have linked the incorporation of fatty fish with plenty of omega-3 fatty acids with the improved brain, mood, and heart health. Omega-three fatty acid-rich foods keep the blood pressure in check, which can help control hot flashes.
- Supplementing vitamin D: the role of vitamin D in the body is to help absorb calcium. People in the age range of 51 to 70 years need to get at least 600 IU of vitamin D every day, while those above the age of 80 years need a daily allowance of 800 IU.
- Cooling foods: for hot flashes cooling foods like bananas, apples, eggs, spinach, broccoli and green tea can help, according to ancient Chinese medication.
- Hydration: drinking plenty of water during menopause helps the body flush out toxins and absorb nutrients which in turn keeps the body healthy and helps with hot flashes.
Foods to avoid
Apart from getting the right nutrients, it is important also to limit the foods that can exacerbate symptoms. Few foods to watch out for include:
- Spicy foods: too much spice can increase blood pressure and in turn increase the frequency of hot flashes. It is, therefore, best to avoid foods like jalapeños and peppers.
- Sugar and salt: like spices, salt can also increase blood pressure and the frequency of hot flashes. Sugar excess is also linked with an increased inflammatory response in the body.
- Alcohol: drinking more than one glass of alcohol a day can negatively impact health and well-being. Alcohol interferes with sleep and increases anxiety, depression and exacerbates hot flushes.
- Fatty food: unsaturated fat increases cholesterol, boosts the risk of heart disease, and impacts health negatively. Fat should only constitute 25-30% of the daily caloric intake, of which saturated fat should be less than 7 percent. More information about menopause-friendly foods can be found.
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Foods that help in reduction of hot flashes
Nearing menopause, women are plagued by a number of uncomfortable symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain, sleep problems, and vaginal dryness. Experts like gynecologists in Islamabad, recommend lifestyle changes that can alleviate these annoying symptoms. One of such changes that can…