I’m often asked how important exercise and nutrition are with respect to their effects on our “menopausal” symptoms and overall health. The short answer is VERY IMPORTANT…allow me to elaborate.
Here are a few ways exercise can help:
- Reduce hot flashes: Exercise has been shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes in menopausal women. Yay!
- Improves bone density: Regular weight-bearing exercise can help maintain and improve bone density, which can decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
- Improves mood and reduces stress and anxiety: Exercise has been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety in menopausal women.
- Improves cardiovascular health: Exercise can help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve overall cardiovascular health.
It’s important to stay active and engage in regular physical activity, which can help support bone health and maintain muscle mass. Be sure to incorporate strength/resistance training in your exercise plan. Make sure you are doing the right type of exercise as well as the right amount for your midlife body. While we know exercise is good for our health, there is the potential of too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to cardio.
The importance of Nutrition:
- Helps manage weight: Proper nutrition can help women maintain a healthy weight during perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause.
- Improves bone health: A diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, and other bone-healthy nutrients can help maintain and improve bone density.
- Reduces the risk of chronic diseases: A healthy diet can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
- Reduces hot flashes: Certain foods, such as soy products and flaxseed, may help reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes in menopausal women. Yes, please!
Overall, a healthy and balanced diet for perimenopausal women should focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods and limit processed and high-sugar foods.
Here are some guidelines for a healthy and balanced diet for perimenopausal women:
- Eat your veggies…and lots of them! They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which can help support overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Especially leafy greens and cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower.
- Whole grains: These are a good source of fiber and can help regulate blood sugar levels, which can be important during perimenopause when insulin resistance may be increased.
- Prioritize protein: Protein is important for maintaining muscle mass and supporting bone health, both of which can be affected during perimenopause. Choose lean sources of protein such as poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes. Try to get a serving of protein at each meal.
- Incorporate healthy fats: Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain health, can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Good sources of omega-3s include fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
- Incorporate phytoestrogen-rich foods: Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that mimic estrogen in the body. They can help alleviate hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Foods rich in phytoestrogens include soybeans, tofu, tempeh, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, and whole grains.
- Avoid processed foods: These often contain high amounts of added sugars, salt, and unhealthy fats, which can increase the risk of chronic diseases and exacerbate symptoms of perimenopause.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine intake: Sorry, ladies…both can disrupt sleep and exacerbate symptoms such as hot flashes and mood changes.
Want more tips and encouragement for managing your menopause symptoms? Download your 6-Step Guide right here!