I love food and if someone were to tell me I could never have a piece of chocolate cake, nice cup of coffee or glass of wine ever again, I would be extremely upset. So these are just a few easy tips you can try for yourself, which shouldn’t be too tough.
Remember your five daily portions of fruits and vegetables
The first thing I’ll talk about is what you absolutely need in your diet. You’ve all heard of the all-important five portions of fruits and veggies, so here’s the number one thing to do. When you’re going through menopause, there is an awful lot of stuff going on inside your body, so your nutritional needs can skyrocket.
Making sure you get a good variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and dried fruits can help you get all the nutrients your body needs at this difficult time.
So remember: five portions of fruits and veggies every day.
Make sure you get enough protein
The other really important thing you need enough of is protein. Again, because there’s so much going on in your body, your protein needs can shoot up. And it can be very hard to get enough protein in your diet, especially if you’re a vegan or vegetarian or not a big fan of meat or fish.
In those cases, I usually suggest protein powder. Your local health food shop can recommend a good one. Just make sure it doesn’t contain a lot of sugar and artificial sweeteners. You can use protein powder in a shake or smoothie.
And I know I feel the benefit of extra protein powder, especially if I’ve had a really busy day, I’ve got a lot going on or I’m travelling a lot. So don’t forget the protein!
Healthy grains are important
The other really important thing is to get healthy grains into your diet. Unfortunately, during menopause, it’s easy to put extra weight on really quickly, get really bloated or find your digestive system slowing down and getting you constipated.
White foods like white bread, white rice, white pasta, lots of cakes and biscuits can really contribute to this, so avoid them if you can. If you choose whole-grain breads and pasta and brown rice instead, you’ll probably feel a lot better quite quickly.
Caffeine can trigger hot flashes
And now for the things to avoid!
Unfortunately, these tend to be the things we all love. First, one of the most important things is caffeine—coffee, tea, soft drinks and hot chocolate. Caffeine really affects your nervous system, speeding it up, revving it up and giving you the jitters.
Having too many cups of tea and coffee can also give you heart palpitations, trigger hot flashes, prevent you from sleeping and give you headaches. So it’s best to avoid anything with caffeine in it. But if you find you really can’t give up coffee, try to stick to one cup a day.
Make it a really good quality of coffee, organic if you can. And I always say that if you have to have something bad, make sure it’s the best bad you can get. And believe it or not, having an afternoon cup of coffee can cause sleep problems at night and trigger night sweats too.
Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
Drink plenty of water.
While water can be boring and hard to drink enough of, you need around a litre and a half of water every day. Dehydration is a huge issue during menopause and can contribute to a whole range of symptoms, not just hot flashes and sweats, but poor sleep, foggy thinking, joint aches and pains, and dry skin. It can cause headaches and palpations too. So try to have a nice glass of water with a little lemon in it if you find plain water unappealing.
Personally, I love a bit of fresh ginger in my water. Just be aware that fruit juices don’t count. They tend to contain sugar or artificial sweeteners and aren’t as beneficial as plain water, so avoid them altogether.
Keep sugar and salt to a minimum
The last things to watch out for are sugar and salt. It’s amazing how many women get in touch with me and say, “I don’t get it: Why is it that if I have a cookie, some cake or potato chips, I get hot flashes half an hour later?” The answer is that these foods can rev up your nervous system and trigger hot flashes. It’s that simple. So keep these kinds of foods to a minimum.
See? These six tips really are easy! Try them out for a couple of weeks and see if they make a difference in your menopause symptoms.