Menopause. Symptoms, advice and diets

The menopause increases the likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases, mainly due to the onset of risk factors such as hypercholesterolemia, diabetes or hypertension.

Climacteric states and menopause are part of a normal physiological period in a woman’s life and do not require any specific treatment. However, it is important to follow a balanced diet, and to reinforce it with specific nutritional supplements, to monitor certain biomarkers in order to avoid diseases, to carry out physical exercise and to maintain our metabolic and hormonal balance through bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

Tania Mesa – Nutritionist and Nurse from Neolife

Menopause is a physiological period in women that is conditioned by hormonal changes and is characterized by the absence of menstruation over the course of a year. Climacteric refers to the state prior to the menopause, and is usually characterized by an irregular menstrual cycle, hot flushes, insomnia, changes in mood or decreased libido, among other symptoms.

Diet during menopause should not differ too greatly from that recommended throughout adulthood, although you should pay more attention to certain foods that can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

menopause advice

At Neolife, we recommend a balanced diet made up of five meals a day (breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack and dinner), consisting of:

  • Fruit and vegetables: as a source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, providing positive effects on our health.
  • Cereals and legumes.
  • Foods high in calcium, given the higher risk of osteoporosis at this stage in a woman’s life we should increase our daily consumption of dairy products to 3-4 servings a day, for example, yogurts, cheeses and other by products – though preferably skimmed. Vitamin D supplements are key to the body’s absorption of calcium.
  • Dried fruits, as these provide an interesting array of phytochemicals. A handful a day mid-morning or as a mid-afternoon snack is recommended.
  • White meat (chicken, turkey, rabbit..) are preferable over red meat.
  • An adequate supply of oily fish and/or Omega-3 supplements.
  • Drink at least 1.5 to 2L of water a day.

On the other hand, care should be taken to avoid:

  • Cholesterol, saturated and trans fats (primarily present in fatty meats and by-products such as sausages, offal, and canned food in brine…)
  • Whole milk products.
  • Processed foods and ready meals.
  • Excess salt.
  • Excessive intake of stimulants (coffee, tea).
  • Excess alcohol.

Other recommendations of great importance during this period are:

  • Weight control: during menopause, changes in body composition, such as an increase in fat mass and a decrease in muscle mass can result in weight gain. Many studies point to being overweight or obese as a risk factor for osteoporosis, which in turn is a prevalent risk factor for bone fractures.
  • Exercise regularly: strength exercises help to strengthen bones and improve balance.
  • Quit smoking, in the case of female smokers.
  • During the menopause there is an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases, due to the potential onset of risk factors such as hypercholesterolemia, diabetes or hypertension. To prevent these risk factors, at the Neolife clinic we carry out measurements that monitor cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood – through three-monthly analysis – as well as monthly blood pressure controls.

It should be noted that climacteric states and menopause are part of a normal physiological period in a woman’s life and therefore, in general, do not require any sort of treatment beyond that of following a balanced diet, boosted by supplements as mentioned above, in order to make up for the deficiencies that occur, the monitoring of certain parameters to prevent against age-related diseases and the practice of physical exercise. In addition, maintaining metabolic and hormonal balance through hormone replacement therapy with bioidentical hormones tailored to each individual is key to prevention.

At present, science cannot extend our maximum life-span (120-130 years in the case of humans) as this is linked to each particular species; however, it can lengthen life-expectancy and delay or prevent the physiological decline that occurs due to aging, presenting women with a better quality of life and avoiding physical and mental weakness.