Dietary Aids for Menopause

April 18, 2011

Managing your menopause symptoms through diet is not really difficult. You just have to know which foods and supplements to add to your diet and which ones to avoid. With all of the excellent information available these days, it is not longer the sole area of the nutritionist to tell you what is good for you and what isn't. You probably already know most of the information anyway - it's a matter of being really honest with yourself and putting the knowledge to work.

I Don't Like Water...

Most of us already know that we need to keep ourselves hydrated and that water is the best way to do that. Water keeps the kidneys flushed, organs working well and the skin hydrated. What is interesting to note is that many women say they just don't like to drink water and along with that statement comes a defense for the types of liquids they do consume. Caffeine, while fine in moderate amounts, is a diuretic. That means it forces your kidneys to eliminate more water than they should, encouraging dehydration. Alcohol, caffeine and carbonated beverages like soft drinks can wreck havoc with your bones, either diminishing the amount of calcium your body absorbs from food or increasing the amount it loses through the kidneys.

...Then, Try Drinking Juice

It's a good idea to train yourself to drink water and you might try drinking a glass of juice instead of soda pop. Citrus juices contain about a hundred phytochemicals that will remain with the juice if you include some pulp in the drink. You can purchase calcium fortified citrus juices that will give you a dose of calcium with your vitamin C and folic acid. Carrot juice is delicious and nutritious supplying at least three important phytochemicals: phenolic acids, terpenes and carotenoids that include beta carotene. Dark red and purple juices are loaded with antioxidants. Just remember that juices are also high in fructose, the natural sugar present in fruit, so don't substitute juice for water to quench your thirst. You might even try cutting the juice with some water to get the best of both.

Calcium for Strong Bones

Calcium is an essential mineral for all women, but it takes on an even more important role as women age.  Along with menopause comes the increased risk for osteoporosis.  The daily amount that a woman should consume is between 1,000 to 1,500 mg of calcium from food. However, drinking milk may not be a solution for some women, particularly if they are lactose intolerant. So, how do you get your calcium without dairy? Vitamin-mineral supplements often include a good dose of calcium, and calcium citrate tablets are another way to get the mineral in supplemental form. Broccoli, dark leafy green vegetables, or beans are excellent food sources and, if cow dairy doesn't agree with you, then try yogurt and cheese made from sheep or goat milk.

Fabulous Flaxseed

Women who have been paying close attention to their health for a longer period of time are already aware of the value of flaxseed. Finally, it is being studied in humans, particularly for its cholesterol-lowering benefits and tumor-reducing properties with some kinds of cancers. The fact is that flaxseed has been used medicinally for centuries and is an exceptionally excellent source of the phytoestrogen lignans. Lignans are thought to lower the risk of cancer by blocking some of the effects of estrogen naturally produced by the body. Flaxseed is also loaded with plant form omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid. These omega-3s may help prevent blood clots that could lead to heart attacks.

However, like cow dairy, there are people who are allergic to flaxseed and if they are planning to incorporate it into their diet, they should do so very slowly to acclimate the body to it. Beginning with ¼ teaspoon daily, the amount can gradually be increased if there is no reaction. A moderate approach to incorporating flaxseed into the diet is taking about a teaspoonful a few times a week. Remember to grind the flaxseeds otherwise they'll just pass right through your system. Flax oil does not contain the phytoestrogens so stick to the seeds if you intend to use flax.

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