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Sleep - a Missing Link
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Tune up Your Diet
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Family Health Online / Pharmacy at Safeway

Family Health Magazine - NUTRITION

Nutrition Tips for Menopause
Healthy food choices can make a difference

If you are a woman in your 40s, chances are you have experienced one of the symptoms associated with perimenopause (the time before the last menstrual period). The occasional mood swing, hot flash, memory lapse or sleepless night can begin up to 10 years before menopause. The average age at which a Canadian woman reaches menopause is 51. With the loss of the hormone estrogen at menopause, your risk for heart disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer rises. No matter which phase you are in – perimenopause, menopause or post-menopause, there’s lots you can do to protect your health. You can take control of this midlife transition to make it more enjoyable. If you are experiencing the changes of menopause, here are 10 tips to help.

Midlife Madness: do you feel like this?

Janet lies on the couch, totally exhausted. She is chilled all over and has just put her sweater on one more time. In fact, she has taken it off and put it on so many times that she has lost count. The magazine she is reading lies on her lap. She calls it ‘Teflon Brain’; nothing ‘sticks’ any more. She isn’t really interested in the article anyway. She reaches for another sip of coffee and starts to read again.How different she feels from the energetic woman of a few years ago! While Janet has experienced changes in her memory and her ability to focus and concentrate, she has also gained a few pounds. Her diet has remained about the same. Her bone density test shows signs that her bones are thinning. A recent blood test indicates that her cholesterol level has risen. Janet realizes that her body is changing and that menopause is a time for her to focus on her own needs.

Menopause is one time in your life when good nutrition is particularly important. In fact, better nutrition can reduce hot flashes, keep bones strong, help manage weight and energy levels, and keep your heart healthy. If you are experiencing the change of life, these ten nutrition tips can help you meet your body’s needs during menopause and beyond.

1.Avoid hot flash triggers

Hot flashes and the chills that follow seem to randomly come and go. However, alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods all increase the potential for hot flashes. Try limiting these trigger foods at times when a hot flash would be inconvenient, like during a business lunch. Order a non-alcoholic beverage, avoid the spicy menu choices and finish the meal with decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea.

Some easy ways to increase your calcium

  • If you drank lots of milk in the past, get back in the habit of having milk instead of pop or coffee with your meals.
  • Going for coffee? Try ordering a latte or steamed milk (delicious flavoured with almond or vanilla).
  • Have a soy beverage that has been fortified with calcium. The label should state that it is a ‘good source of calcium’ and provides about 30 percent of daily calcium requirements in 1 cup (250 mL). Soy alone, without the added calcium, will not keep bones strong.
  • Combine vanilla yogurt with cinnamon and top with fresh fruit for a wonderful snack. It can also be used as a fruit dip.
  • Do you sometimes rely on chocolate for an afternoon energy boost? Try drinking a carton of chocolate milk. Chocolate milk has the same calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients as regular milk, but a lot less fat and calories than a chocolate bar. It also provides fluid, which can help if dehydration is the reason for your low energy level.

Take a calcium and vitamin D supplement if necessary

Many women do not routinely have three cups of milk or yogurt daily. If this is true for you, consider taking a calcium supplement to bring your intake up to 1200 mg/day. Choose a supplement that shows the amount of elemental calcium on the label and has vitamin D added. Additional magnesium is not necessary. If you need two tablets per day, take one after breakfast and the other after supper to increase the amount of calcium you absorb.

2.

Bone up on calcium

During menopause, the level of the estrogen hormone falls. Less estrogen means calcium is lost from your bones and is not absorbed as well from the food you eat. As a result, you need more calcium and vitamin D. After age 50, women require 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D a day to keep bones strong and reduce the risk of fractures. Three cups of low-fat milk or yogurt, plus a well balanced diet, provide the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Cheese, while high in calcium, is also high in fat, sodium and calories. Look for a light cheese and treat yourself to small amounts.

3.Eat more often

As menopause approaches, it becomes harder to manage your weight. Your metabolism (how your body handles calories) is slowing down. Your metabolic rate will fall by five per cent during the decade around menopause. For instance, if 2000 calories per day maintained your weight at age 45, only 1900 are needed to maintain it at age 55. That difference of 100 calories per day can result in a 10 pound weight gain per year!

One way to better manage your weight is to eat breakfast. Breakfast boosts your metabolic rate. Skipping breakfast or lunch leads to overeating later and weight gain as a result. Skipping meals also means a lack of energy throughout the day.

Want to start having breakfast? Begin by cutting down evening snacking. When you snack heavily in the evening, you are just not as hungry the next morning.

4.Protect your muscle mass

Exercise protects the muscle mass you already have and helps you lose body fat. If you lose muscle, as you do on many fad diets, you slow down your metabolism. Once you quit the diet and return to your regular way of eating, a slower metabolism makes it easy to gain weight back... as fat. While one pound of muscle burns 40 to 50 calories, one pound of fat only burns two calories. Protect your muscle mass and your metabolism with regular exercise, and stay clear of fad diets!

5.Drink water between meals

Pop, ice tea, juice and other sweet beverages offer significant calories and sugar. One cup of pop contains seven teaspoons of sugar and 100 calories. Surprisingly, one cup of juice contains about the same - even ‘unsweetened’ juice. Limit juice to one cup each day. Instead, drink water, diet pop or clear herbal tea between meals.

6.Beware of portion distortion

If the portion you are served is too large, don’t feel you have to finish it! Leave it on your plate or ask for a doggie bag. In restaurants, men and women are served the same amount because they have paid the same, but women usually need smaller portions.

7.Reduce evening snacking

Make yourself more aware of evening snacking habits by recording what you eat. Ask yourself, “Why am I snacking?” Perhaps you are bored, stressed, or just eat out of habit. If you find yourself wanting food around bedtime, you may be tired, not hungry. Go to bed instead.

8.Include phytoestrogens

Soy Products Are Rich in Isoflavones –
Add Some Soy to Your Diet!

Soy nuts - Enjoy a handful or two as a snack in the afternoon (they store well in your drawer at work) or toss on a salad.
Dessert tofu - Try the almond or peach mango flavours. Make a smoothie by blending peach mango tofu with a banana.
Hot and sour soup - Order this soup the next time you are out for Chinese food. It’s made with tofu!

Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that act as weak estrogens in your body. The two primary phytoestrogens are lignans and isoflavones. Lignans are found mainly in flaxseed. Grind flaxseed and sprinkle it on cereal or add it to muffins or bread. It will add a pleasant, nutty flavour.

Isoflavones are found primarily in soy products. Soy products are good for your heart because they are low in saturated fat. They are less likely to increase levels of artery-clogging LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol. Heart-healthy choices include eating soy burgers instead of beef burgers or snacking on soy nuts rather than chips.

Soy has been shown to have little effect on the severity or frequency of hot flashes in most women. However, it may make a difference for you. Use soy products containing isoflavones (see sidebar) and have one serving of soy per day. If you have a history of breast cancer, limit soy to two servings per week, as isoflavones may stimulate estrogen-sensitive tumors.

9.Load up on veggies and fruit

Vegetables and fruits provide heart-healthy antioxidants and help you manage your weight by making you feel full with fewer calories. Include vegetables in your lunch every day. For instance, try a vegetable-based soup such as minestrone, tomato juice, a salad or raw vegetables such as mini carrots. Enjoy fruit for a dessert. At supper, fill half of your plate with cooked vegetables and/or a salad.

10.Take your time

Slow down at mealtimes. Linger and relax. Food is one of the pleasures to be enjoyed in life. Eat foods bursting with flavour and relish every bite! Enjoy all foods in moderation.

In the years after menopause, many women finally have time to concentrate on their own needs and interests. Life takes on a calm not possible in the years of starting careers and raising children. Eating well and staying healthy will help you to enjoy these years to the fullest.

FAMILY HEALTH is written with the assistance of
College of Family Physicans of Canada
Alberta College of Family Physicians
FAMILY HEALTH is written
with the assistance of
The College of Family Physicans of Canada
Alberta College of Family Physicians
While effort is made to reflect accepted medical knowledge and practice, articles in Family Health Online should not be relied upon for the treatment or management of any specifid medical problem or concern and Family Health accepts no liability for reliance on the articles. For proper diagnosis and care, you should always consult your family physican promptly. Copyright 2006, Family Health Magazine, a special publication of the Edmonton Journal, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., 10006 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 2S6    [NU_FHc03]
Articles in the Nutrition section of Family Health OnLine are sponsored by: Safeway ad
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Active Living
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Beat the Heat!
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Support During Labour
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Introduction
Managing Your Pain
Movement Matters
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When Pain Doesn't End
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Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
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10,000 Steps
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Benefits of Breakfast
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Blood Sugar Lows
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Canada Food Guide Revisited
Carbohydrate Counting
Catastrophic Drug Plan
CDA Guidelines for Diabetes
Celiac Disease and Diabetes
Celebrating Health
Childhood Diagnosis of Diabetes
Children and Type 2 Diabetes
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Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring
Cutting Edge
Dangers of Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
Debunking Diabetes Myths
Driving and Diabetes
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Diabetes Care Team
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Dining Out
Drinking and Diabetes
The Discovery of Insulin
Eating Disorders
Easing the Strain of Stress
Eating to Protect Your Kidneys
Eating Well During Shift Work
Eggs in a Diabetic Diet
Emotional Eating
Emotions of Diabetes Diagnosis
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Why Fad Diets Fail
Fats
Fibre
Fill Your Day with Energy
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Healthy Happy Holidays
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Health Benefits of Soy
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High Blood Pressure
HbA1c Test
Healthy Eating for Active People
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Home from the Hospital
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Living Powerfully with Diabetes
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Your Medication Expert
Medication Research Studies
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Microalbuminuria
New Diabetes Technologies
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No Need for Insulin?
Not Snoozing
Over-the-Counter Medications
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Diabetes and OTC Medications
Pedicure Precautions
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Pet Diabetes
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Safe and Successful Travel
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Travelling with Diabetes
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Treating Low Blood Glucose
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Tune up Your Diet
Type 1.5 Diabetes
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Used Sharps
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World Diabetes Day
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Aspirin Every Day?
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Back Pain Myths
Back Pain - Lower
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Get Active!
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Stroke
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Win by Losing
Urinary Tract Infections
Vision Flickers
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Bites and Stings
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Fainting and Convulsions
First Aid Travel Kit
Hypothermia and Frostbite
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Poisoning - Household
Emergency Care Guidelines
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Growing Older
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Advance Care Plans
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
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Can I see Well Enough to Drive?
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Delirium
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Eating Well
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Get Active!
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Have Health, Will Travel
Health Tips for Seniors
Hearing
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Maintaining Quality of Life as You Age
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Skin Over 50
Solving Sleep Issues
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Travel Tips for Snowbirds
Wills and Personal Directives
Modern Living
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Abuse
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Adult ADHD
Aging and Memory
Alcohol and Your Health
Anger Management
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Barbecue Basics
Bathtub Safety
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Bisphenol A
Canada's New Blood System
Caring for a Loved One Dying at Home
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Computer Stress
Coping With Change
Cosmetic Surgery
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Diabetes Epidemic
Discipline
Diseases from Pets
Downsizing
Dying at Home
Erectile Dysfunction New Treatments
Exotic Travel
Fertility Issues
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
Grief
Harassment
Healing Through Music
Healthy Computing
Humidex
Hypnotherapy
Ice Safety
Indoor Air Quality
Lymphedema
Mature Student
Melamine in Food
Middle Age Health
Mind-Body Connection
Mom Time
Money Matters
Outdoor Workers and Sun Safety
Patient Safety in the Hospital
Pets and Health Benefits
Pet Therapy
Physiotherapy Visit
Planning for End of LIfe
Reproductive Freedom
Safe Drinking Water
Schizophrenia
Smokeless Tobacco
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Soy
Stigma of Mental Illness
Street Drugs
Stressed or Depressed?
Stress in the Workplace
Stress Leave
Swim to Survive
Sunburn
Time Management
Travel Health Protection
Travel Comfort Tips
Travel Immunization
Understanding Change
Unplugging
Whiplash
Wind Chill Index
Workplace Drug Testing
Workplace Health
Nutrition
Full Listing with story descriptions
5 Tips to Manage Weight
10 Ways to Cut Down on Fat
Battle the Bulge
Boost Your Bone Strength
Body Image
Breakfast is Important
Bowel Health
Building Your Bones
Celiac Disease
Challenging the Milk Myth
Diet Reality Check
Drink Up!
Eating Smarter & Cheaper
Energy Drinks
Food Allergies
Food for Active Kids
Fast Food
Food Labels
Giving Up Gluten
Healthy Diet, Healthy Smile
Healthy Eating for Boomers and Zoomers
Healthy Eating for Seniors
Healthy Eating on Business Travel
Healthy Ethnic Meals
Fad Diets
Fruits & Veggies - 5-10 a Day
Fats
Fat Phobias
Fats & Cholesterol
Feeding Your Kids
Fibre
Food Chemistry 101
Food and Mood
Getting Kids to MOVE
Healthy Eating for Teens
Healthy Habits
Herbal Medicine and Nutrition
New Ingredients for Your Shopping Cart
Iron
Kid's Food
Liquid Candy
Meal Planning with Planned Overs
Mercury Levels in Fish
Night Snacking
Night Shift Eating
Nutrition on the Net
Nutrition Myths Busted
Nutrition Questions Top 5
Nutrition for Menopause
Essential Omega-3
Preventing Cancer Through Nutrition
Picky Eaters
Power of Fruits & Veggies
Portion Control
Power Lunch
PMS and Nutrition
Preparing for Surgery
Probiotics
Reducing High Blood Pressure
Replacement Meals
Sensible Snacking
Sodium
Sodium and Blood Pressure
Sports-Minded Nutrition
Sugar Substitutes
Survive and Thrive
Teen Nutrition
Tips for a SuperDiet
Understanding Food Biotechnology
Vacation Eating
Vitamins D
Vitamins and Minerals
Vegetarian Diet
Weight Loss
Weight Wise Tips
Pharmacy Care
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After a Heart Attack
Adverse Drug Reactions
Adult Vaccinations
Allergy Attack
Antibiotic Overuse
New Anticoagulant Medications
Inhaled Asthma medications
Arthritis Medications
Biologics
Biological Response Modifiers
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Blood Thinners
Calcium and Iron Supplements
Changing Role of the Pharmacist
Children's Cold Remedies
Child's Fever
Choosing Sunscreens
Cold Relief
Cold Sores
Constipation and Haemorrhoids
Diuretics and Potassium Supplements
Drug Recalls and Withdrawals
Drug Interactions
Emergency Contraception
Erectile Dysfunction
Expanding Role of Pharmacies
Eye Protection - Sunglasses
Feminine Hygiene
Generic or Name Brand?
Heartburn
Heart Health
Insomnia
Kids and Cold Medications
Medication Questions?
Metabolic Syndrome
Natural Medicines
New Blood Thinners
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Obesity Medication
Over-the-Counter Drugs
Over-the-Counter Drugs and Pregnancy
OTC Pain Relief
Packing Medications for Travel
Pharmaceutical Studies
Preventing Summer Hazards
Research Studies
Quit Smoking
Skin and Cosmeceuticals
Sports & Nutrition Supplements
Sunscreen
Taking Medication
Take as Directed
Using Antibiotics Wisely
Viagra
Vitamin D
Yeast Infections
Your Best Shot
Your Medicine Cupboard
Prevention
Full Listing with story descriptions
Accident Prevention
Alcohol
Antibiotic Resistance
Backpack Pain
Bacteria Fight Back
Bedbugs
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Caffeine
Cell Phones and Driving
Childhood Obesity
Cancer Prevention Tips
Chronic Disease Prevention
Cold and Flu Season
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Distracted Driving
Farm Safety for City Kids
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
The Flu and You
Heading Home for a Visit
Health Tips for Snowbirds
Hearing Loss and Music Players
H1N1 Virus - Plan Ahead
Household Mould
Infection Control
Injury Prevention
Live Actively!
Insect Repellant
Keys to Preventing Cancer
Kids' Mental Health
Live Actively!
Low Birth Weight
Meningitis
Norovirus
Are Pesticides Safe?
Preventing Burns and Scalds
Preventing Cancer through Nutrition
Quit Smoking 101
Respiratory Infections
Seniors and STIs
Should You Immunize?
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Surviving Disaster
Sushi Preparation
Teens, Drugs and Driving
Travel Health Considerations
Travel Medicine 101
Travel Tips
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
Water Smarts
Vision Damage
Water Wisdom
West Nile Disease
Whooping Cough
Workplace Alcohol Abuse
Women's Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
15 Great Reasons to Breastfeed
Anemia
Approaching Menopause
Birth Control
Breast Cancer Screening
Breast Cancer - Genetic Risks
Breast Cancer Self-Exam
Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Changes
Breast Health
Breastfeeding Myths
Cervical Cancer Screening
Contraception
Contraception for Mature Women
Cosmetic Procedures
Cystitis
Endometriosis
Estrogen's Effect on the Brain
Fear of Fracture
Fibroids
Heart Attack
Hirsutism - Unwanted Hair
Hormone Replacement Therapy
The IUD
Menopause - What Men Should Know
Menstrual Bleeding - Abnormal
Menstrual Bleeding - Heavy
Menopause
Menstruation Myths
Menstrual Pain
Third Generation Birth Control Pills
Osteoporosis
Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian Cysts
Oral Contraction (The Pill)
Pap Test
Premenstrual Syndrome
xx
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Urinary Incontinence
Vaginitis
Varicose Veins
Viagra for Women
Yeast Infections
Your Pelvic Floor