Mayo Clinic Minute: 3 Menopause Facts to Know
What you can do now
What to add
- Omega-3 fatty acids
When it comes to healthy eating, it’s helpful to look at all the foods you should be eating versus the few foods that lack nutritional value. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy are all good choices.
Perimenopause is a time when your body is going through numerous changes. Because of those changes, your body could use a little bit more of certain nutrients. For example, your muscle mass starts to decrease during perimenopause. So you’ll want to up your daily intake of protein, says Sonya Angelone, M.S., R.D.N., C.L.T., a San Francisco-based dietitian. Protein can assist in maintaining muscle mass.
With fluctuating hormones, balance is the name of the game. Protein can also help by regulating appetite and blood sugar levels. It may even help balance your hormone levels.
To get maximum benefits, Angelone recommends spreading your protein intake out over three meals and a snack. Instead of plain toast, top it with some peanut butter. Add baked salmon or chicken to a salad for a protein boost at lunch. For dinner, beans are a great protein add-in for any number of entrees, including tacos. Make your own nut mix, with your flavor of spices, for a perfect anytime snack. Eggs, lentils, and yogurt are other great high-protein choices.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with decreased inflammation, as well as improved moods. Omega-3s have also been linked to decreased depression, which is something many women experience during perimenopause.
Angelone recommends two 4-ounce servings of fish per week. You can also talk to your doctor about taking fish oil supplements. Another option is adding flaxseed oil into your diet to combat mood swings and irritability.
Fiber is another go-to during perimenopause. It helps keep you feeling full longer, which can curb cravings. This will go a long way toward weight-loss efforts, which can be especially tough as you age and your metabolism slows down.
Fiber has also been shown to decrease your risk of certain diseases of aging, notes Angelone. These include heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
You should aim for at least 21 grams of fiber each day. Fruits and vegetables are a great place to find fiber. Whole grains and beans are also good source. In general, the more processed an item is, the less fiber it’ll offer.
As you age, your risk of osteoporosis increases. To keep your bone health in check, up your intake of calcium to 1,200 milligrams daily. Vitamin D is also important in this regard. You’ll want to check with your doctor for individualized recommendations, as not all physicians agree on the optimal intake for bone health.
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