Dr. Jacobi said it perfectly last week in her blog regarding tips for menopause: Diet and exercise, resulting in weight loss, can help curb the symptoms of menopause.
So many females would like a nutritional solution to symptoms like hot flashes, weight gain, inability to lose weight, the accumulation of fat in the midsection, mood changes, etc. And while there’s no “cure” for the symptoms completely, these nutritional tips are sure to help with whatever those pesky hormonal changes throw your way during middle age.
- Eat small, regularly scheduled meals. This helps the body digest and absorb nutrients evenly and keeps hormones like insulin and cortisol from taking a roller coaster ride.
- Include soy foods. Whole soy foods, providing around 25-50 mg of isoflavones, have been shown to reduce hot flashes during menopause. A glass of light soy milk and one serving of tofu or edamame will easily provide this amount.
- Reduce portions. Reducing meal portions reduces calorie intake, which in general will reduce weight.
- Eat healthy fats like fish, avocado, olive oil and walnuts daily and consider a well-balanced multivitamin if you are reducing calorie intake. Vitamins E and D have been shown to have positive effects on menopause, but be sure to chat with your doctor, as these are fat-soluble vitamins that can become toxic if overdosed.
- Add exercise. One-hundred and fifty minutes per week provides an extra boost for the metabolism. When our bodies stop burning calories as efficiently (thanks to aging), this becomes ever more important.
- Lift weights. This shouldn’t be your primary fitness focus, but aim for 2-3 times per week. This should involve all major muscle groups. Increasing muscle mass slows the bone loss associated with aging and boosts your metabolism all day long.
- Perform core exercises. The midsection of the body starts to become the dumping ground for fat. Rather than focusing on situps, consider full-body exercises that involve the core (walking lunges, planks, kneeling arm and leg extensions).
The nutritional answer to menopause isn’t simple. It doesn’t involve a pill or a fancy gym. It requires dedication to planning meals and snacks ahead of time and getting up off the couch when you feel exhausted. These things aren’t easy, but they’re worth it. The goal is to achieve a better quality of life during what can be a difficult time for many females.
The Bird Dog Exercise for your core:
This exercise is performed on your hands and knees, with your head looking straight down at the floor. Pull the belly up toward the spine, thinking not about sucking in, but about tightening your deep abdominal muscles. And don’t hold your breath!
Reach one arm straight ahead of you, in a line parallel to the floor. At the same time, point the toe of your opposite foot and stretch your leg back, again, parallel to the floor. Think about making as much distance between the fingers and toes as possible, while continuing to hold the tummy in. Squeeze the butt, shoulder and back muscles at the peak of your extension. Then, slowly return the hand and knee to their starting position. Repeat as many reps as you can do slowly for 30 seconds. Then switch sides and repeat. This is one set. Try to do three sets, and increase your time as you get stronger.