Including a few vitamins and nutrients in your diet can help while going throughin transitioning to menopause.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 8, 2020. It has since been updated.
For women, menopause is another phase in life where they go through a transformation. During this time the production of eggs inside her body stops and she stops ovulating. Although different women experience this transition at different ages, it usually takes place in her late 40s or early 50s when the symptoms start surfacing. Many women start noticing the symptoms by their late 30s as well.
According to Healthline, during the transition, there is a decrease in the hormone estrogen in her body which adversely affects the metabolism that leads to weight gain. It can also affect the cholesterol level. Hormonal changes lead to weaker bone density that increases the risk of fractures.
But certain small but effective changes in the diet can help minimize the symptoms. Adding a few key vitamins and nutrients in the diet can help reduce other risks associated with menopause. Here are a few listed below.
Omega-3 fatty acids are often consumed less and not many know about its goodness. It contains DHA that helps in supporting not only the brain's health but also the heart and vision. It is a superb supplement that supports the cardiovascular system. It promotes the elasticity of the blood vessels, promotes blood flow, and controls cholesterol levels. DHA found mostly in fishes are accumulated by the species from microalgae, according to Ritual.
As women grow older, their body's ability to make new bone cells decreases. While you might think drinking milk can solve this problem, you're not completely right. Drinking milk might not provide the right amount of calcium required by the body. Eating calcium-rich food is as important as having calcium supplements. Calcium carbonate and calcium citrate are the two forms of calcium that can be found in tofu, soy, cereals, and rice beverages, vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and Chinese cabbage, according to WebMD.
Magnesium is another nutrient that is important for women. It helps in the maintenance of the bones and their development. It also helps in the process of cell division and the functioning of the muscles. It is required for the optimum use of calcium and Vitamin D in the body. It keeps calcium in the bones and helps in the activation of Vitamin D. According to Ritual, more than 50% of women who're over 50 do not intake the recommended amount of magnesium.
Like calcium, Vitamin D is important for bone health. Like fishes can't survive without water, calcium cannot be absorbed by the body without Vitamin D. Although this vitamin can be found in many food supplements, the most natural and abundant supplier of Vitamin D is the sun. But, too much sun exposure can be dangerous for the skin so the right balance between food supplements and sun needs to be maintained.
Vitamin E helps in fighting against radicals and is essential for the body's defense system. It's one of the major players of the team. According to Ritual, 90% of women who are over 50 are deficient in this nutrient.
Found mainly in meat, eggs, and dairy products, B12 is essential for conducting different functions of the body. According to Medical News Today, Vitamin B12 helps in the multiplication of red blood cells that is created by the body every minute. Without B12 this process cannot take place.
For women who are going through perimenopause and postmenopause, vitamin K is essential for bone support just like calcium and Vitamin D. Like magnesium, vitamin K helps direct calcium to the bones and away from the soft tissues. Green leafy vegetables, meat, butter, eggs, and cheese are filled with Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. Fermented vegetables and beans like miso, natto and sauerkraut are also providers of Vitamin K2, according to Thorne.
Food items like soybeans, chickpeas, peanuts, flax seeds, barley, grapes, berries, plums, green, and black tea contain phytoestrogens, a plant-based compound that mimics estrogen in the body. They help in combatting problems caused by estrogen deficiency. According to Healthline, studies have indicated that those women who took soy isoflavone supplements for at least a month saw a 14% higher estradiol levels in their body.
Menopause decreases bone strength and muscle mass as mentioned before. So, it is important for women to have food with more protein content. According to guidelines mentioned on Healthline, women who are are over 50 years should eat 0.45–0.55 grams of protein per pound (1–1.2 grams per kg) of body weight daily or 20–25 grams of high-quality protein per meal. In a study conducted on adults over 50 years, it was found that eating food rich in protein lowered the risk of hip fracture by 8%.