Menopause is an obligatory step in a woman’s life and generally occurs around the age of 50 with the exception of early or late age events.
This phase is preceded by a transition period , the climacteric, which lasts about a couple of years. The actual menopause phase is characterized by the cessation of the menstrual cycle and the drop in the levels of the hormone estrogen . The period from climacteric to menopause involves a series of physiological and physical changes that can have a major impact on the quality of life . It is important to remember that this picture is varied and different from woman to woman. Read with me in this article all the tips to live it to the fullest!
Major physical changes
During the transition phase to menopause and in the following years there are a series of metabolic changes that modify the female body . The most important are:
- Increased visceral fat;
- Increased subcutaneous adiposity in the abdomen;
- Change in skin tone;
- Weightgain .
When estrogen is lacking
Numerous studies have focused attention on the fact that the lack of estrogen production during menopause can be the cause of the onset of pathologies associated with the metabolic syndrome such as:
- hypertension, _
- Carbohydrate intolerance;
- Alteration of the lipid profile (Cholesterol, HDL LDL);
- Obesity. _
The increase in fat mass, especially in the abdomen, leads to an increase in the production of pro-inflammatory molecules which increase the risk of incurring chronic degenerative pathologies such as osteoporosis.
Hormonal changes can also lead to:
- Mood Disorders;
- Sleep disturbances;
- Emotional instability;
- Episodes of hot flashes;
- Physiological alterations at the level of the urogenital system.
These factors are equally common alterations in this phase and can have significant repercussions in everyday life.
Calcium and vitamin D: nutritional approach to osteoporosis
Without the action of estrogen, bone mass also undergoes changes, decreasing. It is therefore necessary to pay attention to the income of Calcium and Vitamin D to counteract the onset of osteroporosis. Although calcium is a widespread element in nature, the main food sources are milk and its derivatives, but also bicarbonate-calcium waters, almonds, green leafy vegetables, cabbage, broccoli, celery, fennel and leeks.
According to guidelines , in women who undergo replacement therapy, the need for calcium is 1000-1200mg/day, for women who do not undergo it it is higher, around 1500 mg/day. The requirement for vitamin D is about 10 micrograms per day. Since it is a difficult quantity to reach with food alone, it is almost always necessary to integrate vitamin D and sometimes also calcium.
Fight the “sugar craze”
In this particular period, when you are tired, nervous, with a low mood, you tend to choose foods that give psycho-physical satisfaction: sugars! These types of choices feed a vicious circle with a sense of hunger that is difficult to satiate for a long time! To lift your mood, doing sports is a good strategy! Physical activity produces endorphins that make you feel more euphoric, energetic, charged, happy!
This, combined with an adequate and balanced diet that supports the nervous system and takes into account the nutritional needs that have changed, is essential to support the woman in this new phase of her life.
An adequate diet must be able to provide the correct supply of nutrients:
- Carbohydrates, 45/50%of total calories, chosen from low index sources and glycemic load
- Fat less than 30%
- The remainder from good quality proteins and high biological value
7 tips to deal with menopause
- Limit the consumption of animal fats and meatin order not to increase the inflammatory state;
- Limit white sugar and sweet products, alcohol
- tea, coffeeto prevent hot flashes
- Regularly consume fruit, vegetables and whole grainsfor the right amount of vitamins, mineral salts, fibers and to keep the intestine active
- Among the cereals, barley is particularly suitablefor refreshing in case of flushing
- Choose foodslike red rice and legumes that contain plant sterols that help lower cholesterol .
- Increase physical activity (walking, swimming)to improve circulation and better tolerate sudden changes in temperature and mood
It is therefore necessary to approach a personalized nutritional strategy that meets individual needs.
It is also important that this plan is developed so that it is not focused only on the “weight” factor. Drastic diets alone may not achieve the desired results: you have to take into account the changes taking place in this specific period, re-tune with your changing body to flourish again!