Menopause hits gradually for some and very suddenly for others. Either way, women often find that the foods they could happily eat and digest, have now turned, short of a better word, a digestive foe! So, which foods are they, find out here as our onboard dietitian Fareeha Jay tells us more!
1. Saturated Fats & What Are They?
Menopause may put you at risk of developing heart disease; therefore, to look after your heart, limit your intake of saturated fats. Fatty meats, butter, ghee, takeaways, biscuits and cakes are high in saturated fats. Instead, include healthier fats, such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocados, olives and oily fish.
Hence, limit your intake of saturated fats
2. Refined Carbs & What Are They?
Many hormonal changes occur in the body, and blood sugar levels may increase and go down before menopause. Refined carbs digest quickly and may contribute to sugar spikes. These could include white bread, white pizza dough, pastry, white rice, sugary desserts and also some breakfast cereals etc.
Instead, choose high-fiber carbs such as wholegrain bread, brown rice, oats, wholegrain cereal, and brown ata roti. Do not forget your body needs carbs for energy and vitamins.
3. Reduce Salt & Why
Increased salt intake can exacerbate menopause symptoms for some and also has a dehydrating effect. Limit the use of crisps, takeaways and ready meals. Pakistani food is rich in spices, and using those spices can enhance the taste of your food. You do not need to add excess salt to your food. A dash of lemon goes a long way too.
Do remember that many shelf condiments available at the stores also carry extra salt. Always read the labels and try to opt for reduced salt Soya sauce, cottage cheese and even spicy or chilli sauces. It all adds up.
4. Spicy Food & Why They Can Trigger Hot Flashes
The ingredients in spicy food can trigger hot flashes. Hot pepper, cayenne, jalapenos can trigger heart burn and/or hot flashes. The capsaicin in chillies for example dilates blood vessels, as does the piperine in black pepper – these chemicals give many spicy foods their characteristic heat and burning.
Eating spicy food for some women can worsen symptoms, such as hot flushes. Remember, this is not for everyone, and you might be okay with having spicy foods. Try adding more yogurt to your diet and drink more water to alleviate symptoms.
5. Caffeine & Menopause
According to research, intake of caffeine can make hot flushes worse for some people. Limit intake of tea and coffee. You can try having decaffeinated options.
Finally, you are your own best judge and trial and error will tell you which foods to limit and which foods you are comfortable with. Through slight changes in diet and mindful eating, we can help alleviate symptoms and lead to a more comfortable menopause journey.
Disclaimer: This is general public information. Does not substitute any medical or dietary advice from your health care professionals.
The information in this article was provided by Fareeha Jay. She is a Registered Dietician based in Plymouth. She is working as a Diabetes specialist, delivering educational sessions to people newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. She also runs her private practice. Her work entails online consultations with South Asians all over the world. If you wish to view her work, below are the links to her social media handles;