Thrive Through Menopause with These Easy, Science-Backed Lifestyle Tips

With life expectancy on the rise, the number of women experiencing menopause is expected to hit 1.2 billion worldwide by 2030. Menopause usually happens between 45 and 55 years old and is defined as the point when a woman hasn’t had a period for a year. Before this, there’s perimenopause, where menstrual cycles become irregular due to hormonal changes.

These hormonal shifts can affect various body systems, especially metabolism, leading to higher risks of health issues like heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. Estradiol, a key hormone, decreases during menopause, which lowers metabolism and can lead to weight gain and changes in fat distribution. This can cause inflammation and contribute to vascular problems.

The good news is that making some lifestyle changes, especially in diet and exercise, can help reduce these risks and ease menopause symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, headaches, joint pain, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating.

The European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS) emphasizes the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle through balanced eating, staying active, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol. These changes can help manage weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases during menopause.

In this blog, we’ll explore practical tips for balanced nutrition and regular exercise to support your health and well-being during perimenopause and menopause. By following these recommendations1, you can navigate this stage of life with confidence and vitality.

Keep your nutrition on track

  1. Body Mass Index (BMI): Aim for a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m².
  2. Nutritional Balance: Focus on maintaining a normal range of fat mass and skeletal muscle mass.
  3. Weight Management: If overweight or obese, reduce energy intake by 500-700 kcal/day while ensuring a balanced diet. Long-term intake below basal metabolic rate (BMR) is not recommended.

Plan Smart: Nutrition Care Process Model (NCPM)

  1. Dietetic Care: Utilize the Nutrition Care Process Model (NCPM) for dietetic care during perimenopause.
  2. Body Composition Analysis: Use tools to assess and monitor nutritional status.

Balanced Diet Guidelines

  1. Energy and Nutrient Requirements: Ensure intake aligns with age, nutritional status, physical activity, and existing health conditions.
  2. Eating Schedule: Establish a physiological eating schedule to regulate metabolism.

7-Day Menopause-Friendly Meal Plan
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Specific Nutritional Recommendations

  1. Avoid Simple Sugars: Limit intake of fast-acting sugars.
  2. Protein Intake: Consume 0.8-1.2 g/kg/day, with half from plant sources.
  3. Calcium and Vitamins: Ensure adequate intake of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, and B vitamins.
  4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Include n-3 LCPUFA and omega-3 fatty acids in the diet.
  5. Avoid Sugary and Alcoholic Beverages: Minimize or eliminate these from your diet.

Fruits and Vegetables

  1. Daily Intake: Consume 5 portions (500 g/day) of fruits and vegetables, ideally 3-4 portions of vegetables and 1-2 portions of fruit.
  2. Nutrient Density: Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Legumes and Protein Sources

  1. Legumes: Eat beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas, or soy at least once a week.
  2. Low-Fat Proteins: Regularly consume poultry and low-fat dairy products to meet calcium needs.
  3. Red and Processed Meats: Limit to 350-500 g of cooked red meat per week. Processed meats should be occasional and in small quantities. Consider having at least one meat-free day per week, substituting with fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, grains, and nuts.

Fats and Sweets

  1. Moderation: Consume fats and sweets in moderation, preferring vegetable fats.
  2. Healthy Oils: Use sunflower oil for frying and olive, rapeseed, linseed, or soybean oil for salads.
  3. Low Sugar and Salt: Minimize the use of sugar and salt, substituting with herbs and spices where possible.

Fish and Nuts

  1. Fish Consumption: Eat deep-sea fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, tuna) or freshwater fish (e.g., trout) at least twice a week.
  2. Nuts and Seeds: Consume 30 g of unsalted nuts or seeds daily, considering body weight.

Whole Grains and Fiber

  1. High Fiber Foods: Include whole grain bread, fiber-rich cereals, and brown rice in your diet. Aim for 30-45 g of dietary fiber daily, predominantly from whole grains.

Fats and Salt

  1. Saturated Fats: Keep saturated fat intake below 10% of total energy. Replace with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats or whole grain carbohydrates.
  2. Trans Fats: Reduce trans fat intake to the smallest possible amount.
  3. Salt Reduction: Limit processed food consumption and keep salt intake close to 5 g/day.

Dairy and Calcium

  1. Dairy Intake: Ensure dairy consumption meets the calcium content of half a liter of milk daily.
  2. Osteoporosis Prevention: Focus on vitamin D and calcium intake, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol.

Lifestyle Changes

  1. Smoke-Free Lifestyle: Quit smoking to enhance overall health.
  2. Regular Physical Activity: Engage in regular physical activity to maintain fitness and overall well-being.

By following these recommendations, women can navigate perimenopause and menopause more smoothly, reducing the risk of associated diseases and symptoms while promoting overall health and wellness. Embrace these lifestyle changes to ensure a healthier, more balanced life during these transformative periods.


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