Menopause often feels like a hormonal roller coaster as many women experience symptoms such as hair loss, anxiety, and brain fog. But following a specific nutritional plan can help nourish the body and improve well-being during this transition. Registered food processor and author of The Happy Menopause Jackie Lynch gave an example meal plan and revealed three foods to avoid — toast like marmite, honey, some soup flavors, and white starchy carbs.
Jackie said: “Like puberty, which is a huge transition period in terms of hormones, menopause also affects our bodies.
“This is not the time to go on a low-fat diet, because although weight gain during menopause can be a problem, the body uses fat to produce hormones that are often depleted during menopause.”
To keep blood sugar levels stable, raise energy levels and balance hormones, the ingredients for breakfast, lunch, and dinner should be adjusted.
The “Optimal Menopause Diet Plan” consists of balancing the main food groups – protein, fats and carbohydrates.
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The body uses carbohydrates as the main form of energy. [so] If we don’t exercise or move enough, any excess will be stored as fat.”
But carbohydrates should be eaten in manageable quantities.
Brown bread, rice, whole grains, and pasta are good choices, the expert added, “because your body burns these types of carbohydrates slowly, which means your blood sugar is less likely to spike and you’re more likely to have a healthy digestion.”
Jackie suggested eating protein with every meal.
For breakfast, and for those who usually opt for toast, she recommended choosing wholemeal flour and “avoiding marmite and honey” because they don’t add much nutritional value. Instead, opt for toppings such as nut butter, eggs, or unsweetened cottage cheese.
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Jack said cereal lovers should get “two tablespoons of chopped nuts and seeds instead of store-bought muesli”.
Her favorite ingredient to add to smoothies and muesli is flaxseeds because they are rich in protein and fiber and a great source of omega-3s.
Flax seeds also contain phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that mimic the action of estrogen in the body. You should aim to add 2 tablespoons — about 20 grams — to your morning breakfast cereal or smoothie,” the expert told the Fit and Well Foundation.
For lunch, Jackie said if you choose a salad, “aim for a fist-sized portion of protein, such as chicken breast, salmon steak, or quinoa” because this “will keep you full and stable in the afternoon.”
For those who prefer soup for lunch, Jackie suggests choosing “chicken and vegetables or lentils” because tomatoes or carrots and cilantro won’t provide you with “enough protein.”
For dinner, Jack suggests “divide the plate into four.” A quarter of your evening meal should be protein — the expert prefers chicken, fish or tofu — and aim for a fist-sized portion.
Starchy carbohydrates should be the same size or smaller than the protein portion.
The next quarter should consist of green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, watercress, kale, broccoli, or arugula, then the last part of the dish should contain any additional micronutrients – tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, etc.
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