Why Diet is Important Before, During, & After Menopause
People like to throw around the word, "diet," and while diet is an important topic to discuss, people tend to leave out the other half of this category. It’s not just diet, it’s diet and nutrition. The two go hand in hand, and separating them from each other doesn’t help anyone.
Diet and nutrition help your body maintain all of its many processes. Without enough nutrients, your bodily systems can’t regulate themselves as effectively. This can lead to the development of illnesses that can compound in severity as you age.
So what can diet do for your health before, during, and after menopause?
A Healthy Diet Provides Nutrients
Your body gains nutrients it needs to function from food. Without enough nutrients, the body starts to suffer and your health starts to decline. The body needs different quantities of nutrients at different stages of life. During childhood and puberty, our bodies need more calories and more nutrients in order to maintain a healthy body fat percentage, healthy muscle mass, and maintain a steady metabolism. As we age into adulthood, the body’s nutritional needs reach a plateau and don’t need to increase, that is until mid-life.
For women especially, the changes that occur during menopause cause the body to change its nutritional needs. Women need more vitamins and minerals as they get older to support things like bone health, immune health, and neurological health. These include things like B-vitamins, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and much more. By adjusting dietary options to better reflect your body’s nutritional needs, before, during, and after menopause, you can better preserve the health of your body’s vital systems. This can help lower the risk of developing illnesses like osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
Regulates All Bodily Systems
Have you ever wondered why your body needs nutrients to stay healthy? The nutrients your body gains from food sources and supplements help maintain metabolic processes that go on inside the body at all times. Converting stored fats into energy requires nutrients. Building muscle mass requires nutrients. Fighting off colds, the flu, and bacterial infections all require nutrients.
Let’s take maintaining heart health as an example. Women of postmenopausal age are, on average, more likely to suffer from heart disease than men of similar ages. One of the biggest dangers to women is coronary artery calcification (CAC). Coronary artery calcification is a condition in which calcium buildups along the arterial wall and restricts blood flow to and from the heart, resulting in heart strain and potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke.
There is a necessary vitamin that can only be obtained from food to help combat CAC, Vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is a type of nutrient that helps reduce calcium deposits that get stuck to the arterial walls. It helps decrease calcium deposits that build up in blood vessels and directs them to the bones to be used in creating new bone tissues. You can get Vitamin K2 from a variety of vegetables, making them a cornerstone of a heart-healthy diet.
May Aid Fertility
For pre-menopausal and perimenopausal women who are looking to start or expand their family, diet can have some impact on fertility. Diets that are high in unsaturated fats, whole grains, vegetables, and fish have been associated with improved fertility rates in women and men. While some foods like caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats, and refined sugars have been associated with lower fertility rates.
Now, it’s important to note that these are associations, not conclusive results, and the largest determining factor of fertility is found in an individual’s genetics. However, there are other health concerns that can affect fertility and pregnancy. Women with iron deficiencies, like certain types of anemia, can increase the likelihood of experiencing infertility, low birth weight, and miscarriage. One way to help reduce this is by eating iron-rich foods like red meat, liver, seafood, and certain leafy greens.
Maintaining a healthy diet before pregnancy is just as important as maintaining a healthy diet during pregnancy. So if you want to help improve your chances of becoming pregnant, make sure to take care of your body first with a balanced diet.
May Help Ease Menstrual Symptoms
There are many menstrual symptoms that can occur before, during, and after a period. Cramps, fatigue, bloating, headaches, nausea, mood swings, and more can all occur at different severities for different women. However, there are some things that women can do to help reduce the severity of their menstrual symptoms through diet.
One of the key things to incorporate into your diet during your period is to drink enough water. Dehydration is one of the most common things to experience on a daily basis, especially during your period. In fact, many period headaches can be worsened by dehydration. Drinking water can help lower the intensity of headaches and reduce bloating caused by water retention.
Another way to help alleviate menstrual symptoms through diet is to eat foods that are rich in iron and B-vitamins. During your period, especially during one with a heavy flow, your iron levels can become low, making you feel extremely fatigued. To help improve energy and increase iron levels, eating foods that are rich in iron and B-vitamins can help. These include foods like leafy greens, seafood, eggs, legumes, and seeds.
Can Help Support Menopausal Symptom Relief
Diet can also help support menopausal health and symptom relief. One of the things that occur during the menopausal transition, is the body develops a stronger dependency on nutrients to regulate itself. Changes to the sex hormones impact other areas of the body in multiple ways. Women undergoing menopause can experience bone density loss, decreased muscle mass, lowered energy, mood swings, joint pain, and many other symptoms.
The imbalances caused by the changes to sex hormones, make it more difficult for the body to gain its nutritional needs. Adjusting your diet to better reflect those needs, is the first step in preserving and protecting health during the menopausal transition. Increasing the amount of B-vitamins you get through your diet can help protect neurological health, support brain fog relief, and help improve your body’s ability to stabilize your moods.
Eating high-protein foods can also help support muscle health and lower the risk of serious muscle mass loss. Poultry, seafood, and high-quality red meats can help support your body’s protein needs and help you improve building muscle mass through consistent exercise. Consuming foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D can help lower the risk of significant bone density loss, which can lead to osteoporosis, especially postmenopause. Making any kind of adjustment to diet during the menopausal transition can help support symptom relief and maintain overall health.
Your Diet Helps Protect You
Your body needs a balanced diet to preserve itself, so feed your body right with the nutrition it needs to maintain steady health. Help maintain your health during any stage of life with a health plan. We’ve created the 90 Day Quick Start program to help women of any age better improve their diet, help them start a regular exercise routine, and provide them with nutritional information that better helps them understand their bodies’ needs. Get your 90 Day Quick Start Plan today and get on track to a healthier, happier you!
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