Promoting Good Health Through "The Change"

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: May 26, 2010

It is a good idea to take a look at your diet, exercise routine and lifestyle habits as you approach the menopausal years and make healthy resolutions. The key to good life is to take good care of yourself by eating healthy, exercising and shifting to a healthier lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle may reduce menopausal symptoms, promote a longer and healthier life, and prevent disease.

Focusing on nutrition is very important for women, especially just before, during and after menopause. Perimenopausal (just before menopause) and menopausal women undergo hormonal changes that often result in weight gain, and as menopause approaches, it becomes harder for a woman’s body to make the best use of her nutrients in comparison to when she was younger.

Another vital statistic is that nutrition is involved in approximately half of the 10 leading causes of death in women. Because what you eat is so crucial, nutritional education should be considered by all women at this point in life.

Peri-postmenopausal women should think about dietary modifications in the following categories. However, always consult with your health care provider before making any changes to a previously agreed upon health plan.

Calcium

  • Several studies have shown that calcium supplementation can help slow down bone loss. However, in osteoporosis, calcium does not replace the bone loss which has already occurred.
  • A perimenopausal woman should consume about 1,000 mg of calcium daily.
  • According to the National Institutes of Health, women after menopause should consume 1,500 mg of calcium per day if they are not taking hormone therapy (HT). Women who are taking HT, Fosamax®, Actonel®, or Miacalcin®, for osteoporosis should consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day.
  • Foods which are high in calcium include: dairy products, green leafy vegetables and many juices are also “calcium fortified” these days. In addition, certain breakfast cereals and oatmeal have calcium in their ingredients.

Vitamin D

  • Responsible for helping the body absorb calcium and aids in bone formation.
  • According to one study, women with postmenopausal osteoporosis who took vitamin D for three years significantly reduced their risk of spinal fractures. However, vitamin D can cause kidney stones, constipation, or abdominal pain, especially in women with kidney problems.

Omega-3 fatty acids

  • Known to have positive effects on cardiovascular disease and a tendency to lower blood pressure.
  • Fish and shellfish are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Two to 3 fish meals per week along with a low-fat diet is beneficial.

Other nutritional guidelines recommended by the National Institutes of Health include:

  • Choosing foods low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Fat intake should be less than 30 percent of daily calorie intake.
  • Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grain cereal products, especially those high in vitamin C and beta carotene. Persons of all ages should consume 20 to 30 grams of fiber daily.
  • Avoiding foods and drinks with processed sugar, as many of these products contain empty calories and promote weight gain.
  • Avoiding salt-cured and smoked foods such as sausages, smoked fish, ham, bacon, bologna, and hot dogs. These foods are high in sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure, a serious risk for aging women.

In addition, regular exercise helps raise your metabolism, it improves and increases muscle content and reduces fat. Exercise also helps in regulating insulin levels and weight-bearing exercises help protect you from osteoporosis.

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