Thursday, May 15, 2008

What Is The Best Diet During Menopause - The Answers Are Here

What is the best diet during menopause? Many of the answers are related to phytoestrogens and menopause symptom relief. It may all seem a bit redundant, but I wanted to provide as much information as I could in an easy to understand format. There are so many factors to consider when designing a diet for menopause. The truth of the matter is that this is a health diet that can be used in the years leading up to menopause, follows the recommendations of the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society and can be easily followed for life.

What is the best diet during menopause to prevent osteoporosis?

Low fat sources of calcium, include milk, yogurt and cheese, but can also be found in non-dairy foods, such as fish, spinach, broccoli, kale, some legumes and soybean products. Whenever the subject of phytoestrogens and menopause comes up, you will usually see references to soy isoflavones, which brings us to the next question.

What is the best diet during menopause to relieve hot flashes?

Hot flashes are related to decreasing levels of estrogen. Some plants have compounds that have estrogen-like effects on the body. These compounds are called phytoestrogens. It is believed that the effectiveness of black cohosh for relieving hot flashes is related to the phytoestrogens in the plant. It is known that soy isoflavones are phytoestrogens and menopause symptoms like hot flashes may be relieved by increasing or adding soy into a woman?s diet.

What is the best diet during menopause to prevent weight gain?

Low in fat, rich in complex carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low in simple carbs like sugar, white bread, white rice, etc...

What is the best diet during menopause to improve sleep?

Soy (again) comes out close to the top for its high tryptophan content. Tryptophan is an amino acid that aids the body in the absorption of protein and the production of serotonin. Serotonin transmits signals among nerve endings in the brain and body and is important in regulating sleep cycles. Increasing foods in the diet that contain tryptophan can improve the quality of your sleep. Other than soy, the best dietary sources of tryptophan are chicken breast, yellow fin tuna, beef tenderloin, lamb loin, turkey breast, halibut, shrimp, salmon and snapper. However, beef tenderloin and lamb loin are high in fat and both the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association recommend that you avoid red meat. Studies have shown that carbohydrates increase serotonin levels, as well, which may be why women crave simple carbs during PMS.

What is the best diet during menopause to increase energy?

We need carbohydrates for energy. Although most of the recent research has focused on the effectiveness of phytoestrogens and menopause relief and many of the popular diets are ?low-carb?, if you do not get enough complex carbohydrates in your diet, then you will be tired. When you are tired, you are more likely to grab something sweet. This will backfire and you will end up even more tired. The whole thing becomes a vicious cycle. It is also important to make sure that you get enough B-complex vitamins in your diet. Broccoli, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables are good sources of B vitamins. Cottage cheese is another good choice.

What is the best diet during menopause to improve mood?

This question leads back to tryptophan, carbohydrates and possibly phytoestrogens. Anything that increases levels of serotonin improves mood. It is not only important in regulating sleep cycles, but mood, as well. Studies have shown that it also affects appetite and may help women avoid gaining weight during and after menopause.

What is the best diet during menopause, overall?

Expert opinions do not always agree when it comes to phytoestrogens and menopause and research is on-going. At this time, all of the research indicates that dietary sources of phytoestrogens are safe and effective. Experts do agree that for overall good health during menopause and throughout life, the best diet is low in fat and rich in ?nutrient dense? foods, which are foods that contain lots of vitamins and minerals, but not a lot of calories. The best food selections are soy (found in meat-less burgers, tofu and many other items, including flour), chicken breast, turkey breast, tuna, shrimp, salmon and other fish, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale and other fruits and vegetables of all kinds. Oatmeal and other whole grains, wild rice, nuts and seeds.

Go easy on the salt. Limit your caffeine. A recent study showed that women who drink four or more caramel colored sodas (coke, pepsi, etc) per week have more osteoporosis than women who don?t. Don?t smoke, limit alcohol and watch the spicy foods. Alcohol, caffeine, salt and spicy foods can all trigger hot flashes and worsen their intensity. For the answers to more questions about diet, vitamin supplements, phytoestrogens and menopause, please visit the Menopause and PMS guide.

Patsy Hamilton was a health care professional for over twenty years before becoming a freelance writer. Currently she writes health related informational articles for the Menopause and PMS guide. Please visit to learn more about menopause and premenstrual syndrome.

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