Your kids are older and your life is calmer and more settled and then suddenly the menopause journey begins. Menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years and usually the first signs are hot flushes, night sweats and missing or erratic periods..
Menopause is a natural transition but some women find this change harder than others, both physically and mentally. Ensuring your nutritional needs are met with a healthy and balanced diet and exercise, can go a long way to managing your change your way.
Vitamin A,C and Zinc
These nutrients help protect cells against oxidative stress and are needed for beautiful skin1. Vitamin C also helps support collagen production in the body and is important as skin collagen levels drop by between 1% and 2% a year after menopause2, largely due to lowered oestrogen levels, accelerating the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. Foods that are high in these nutrients include berries, nuts, seeds and orange-coloured vegetables.
Lack of sleep caused by hot flushes and night sweats may result in fatigue and low energy levels. B-vitamins convert the foods we eat into energy helping provide the fuel our bodies need to keep going and may help support psychological wellbeing. In addition vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) supports mental performance too! B-vitamins are largely found in animal products, so if you’re vegan or vegetarian a supplement may be recommended by your healthcare practitioner.
One of the complications of menopause is that women are more vulnerable to heart concerns, especially if this runs in the family or if you have other risk factors like being overweight.3 Eating adequate amounts of omega-3 in the form of oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines may help to keep your omega-3 levels topped-up and support your heart. Omega-3 helps keep blood triglyceride levels (cholesterol) within normal ranges in healthy adults. For those of us who do not enjoy eating fish a supplement might be worth talking to your healthcare practitioner about.
Calcium and Magnesium
These are important in menopause to help maintain strong bones. Women in menopause need at least 700 mg of calcium daily from the foods we eat like dairy products and nuts. Some research suggests that during menopause some women may need even more calcium, recommending up to 1200 mg daily, which may be hard to achieve through diet alone.
This is important as this helps our bodies absorb calcium from the foods we eat. The body is less able to make vitamin D from the sun as we age and in the UK, during the winter months, the government recommends we supplement with at least 10 µg or 400 IUs of this sunshine vitamin daily.
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