The Menopause Diet
Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
The menopause diet should be a planned diet that gives the woman in menopause wholesome, nutritious meals which help to maintain the health of her body.
The ideal diet should contain whole grains, complex carbohydrates, easily digestible proteins and adequate fruits and vegetable to provide her with micronutrients and fibres. Fats and salt should be kept to a minimum.
Water is necessary to keep the body hydrated, help in digestion, prevent constipation and remove toxins from the body.
The quality of the menopause diet needs to be improved, not the quantity.
The Food Pyramid
The food pyramid is a food quide showing the recommended daily intake from each food group. As the image of the food pyramid below shows, your menopause diet should include food from all the 6 major food groups.
The Food Pyramid
Foods providing Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates give us energy necessary for our life. The major sources of carbohydrates are foods like breads, rice, noodles and cereals. They also provide nutrients like vitamin B, iron, zinc and certain trace minerals. Whole grain cereals and pasta, brown bread and multi grain biscuits contain a large amount of fibre. Oats and muesli are also very good sources of complex carbohydrates and fibre.
Requirements: The menopause diet should contain at least 6 servings of carbohydrates a day. A single serving is:
- 2 slices of bread.
- 1/2 cup cereal.
- 1/2 cup of cooked rice or noodles.
Foods providing Proteins
Proteins are the building blocks of the body cells. Foods with large amount of proteins also contain iron and Folic Acid. Normal requirement in a woman in menopause is 1 gram of protein per kg body weight per day.
Requirements: The menopause diet should contain least 3 servings of protein each day. Each serving is equivalent to:
- 60 grams of lean meat like chicken or fish.
- 2 eggs.
- 1 glass of milk.
- 1/2 cup of low fat yogurt.
- 1 cup of cooked beans like soyabeans, lentils, peas or cottage cheese.
Milk and Milk Products
Milk and milk products are a rich source of calcium, protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and other fat soluble vitamins and minerals. Osteoporosis, cramps in the calves of the legs and pains in the long bones are signs that the calcium level in your body is low. Milk products are also rich sources of proteins and vitamins of the B group, especially for vegetarians.
The normal daily requirement of calcium for women in menopause is 1500 mg.
Requirements: The menopause diet should contain 4 servings of milk or milk products in a day. A single serving is equivalent to:
- 200 ml of whole milk (1 average-sized glass).
- 1 cup of soyamilk.
- 100 grams of cottage cheese (paneer).
- 1 cup of yogurt, custard or milk pudding.
Fruits are among the tastiest and most nutritious foods available to man. They add taste, texture and flavour to the diet. Packed full of essential vitamins and minerals, they also provide dietary fibre and anti-oxidants. The skin of the fruit should be retained wherever possible as it provides valuable nutrients.
Requirements:At least 5 servings of fruits should be eaten daily as part of the menopause diet. A single serving of fruit is:
- 1 medium sized fruit like an apple, orange or banana.
- 1 slice of large sized fruits like watermelons and pineapples.
- 2 fruits if they are small sized like plums and kiwis.
- 1 cupful of very small sized fruits like grapes or strawberries.
- 1/2 cup canned fruits.
- 1/2 cup of 100 % pure fruit juice with no added sugar.
Vegetables, like fruits, are rich in vitamins, minerals and necessary trace elements. They add crunch, colour and flavour to the diet and are rich in fluids and fibre.
Requirements: At least 4 servings of vegetables should be eaten in a day as part of the menopause diet. One serving is equivalent to:
- 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked vegetables.
- 1 cup vegetable juice.
- 1 side plate of salad.
- 1/2 cup of sprouts.
Fats and Oils
Although some amount of fats and oils are necessary in the menopause diet, too much can lead to obesity. The amount of fat and oils in the menopause diet should be limited but not excluded completely.
Butter, margarine and salad dressings like mayonnaise, pastry, fatty meats, cakes, biscuits and most take-away foods contain bad fats and need to be severely restricted.
Olive oil, rice bran oil are the good oils that not only provide the necessary fat but also supply some amount of fat soluble vitamins and anti-oxidants.
The average daily requirement of fat in menopause is 35 to 40 grams. A total of 5 teaspoonfuls of oil is enough to get this amount in a day.
Nuts and seeds like almonds and peanuts can supply you with the right fats. They are also good sources of proteins and are also tasty to eat. 2 servings of nuts and seeds in a day is necessary, 1 serving being 2 tablespoonfuls.
Vitamin and mineral supplements:
All women in menopause should take additional supplements of a multivitamin, multimineral capsule and a capsule containing Omega3 fatty acids. Calcium supplementation of 1000mg per day is essential if adequate calcium is not received with food.
- Menopause Exercises
- Postmenopausal Vaginitis(Senile Vaginitis)
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases- HIV, Herpes, Chlamydia
- Condoms, Pills IUDs etc.