We’re not here to lie to you that menopause is all rainbows and butterflies, because it certainly isn’t. Here at Poko, we give it to you straight, with no frills or bows attached. But it’s not all bad news. Although menopause is linked to some unpleasant symptoms, there are steps you can take to help ease the transition into this next phase of your life.
Here, we’ve gathered some nutrition tips for menopause to help you ease your symptoms and allow you to continue living deliciously even while going through the “change”.
Try a supplement
If you need more help dealing with menopausal symptoms, we’ve got a secret weapon: the Poko Just Pause Supplement.
Curated specifically for women going through peri-menopause and menopause, the Just Pause Supplement contains ingredients such as magnesium, zinc, sage, vitamin B12 and vitamin D, which all work synergistically with the goal to help ease your transition by:
- Helping support brain and memory function
- Promoting bone health
- Increasing energy production
- Reducing fatigue
- Improving concentration
Don’t suffer in silence. A few simple nutritional changes, along with a bit of Poko magic, will keep you living your best life throughout menopause.
Nutrition tips to help ease the symptoms of menopause
As much as we would like to ignore it, our bodies change as we age, and we can’t continue eating and drinking like we did in our 20s. But this doesn’t mean we have to enjoy life any less. No, it simply means making a few adjustments to look after our bodies better.
Besides being a blow to our confidence, gaining weight - especially during this phase of our lives - can increase the risk of certain conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and even some cancers. To help lower this risk and stay in shape, exercising is non-negotiable.
As we get older, we start to lose muscle and gain fat due to hormonal changes brought on by menopause, the natural ageing process and lifestyle choices. Regular exercise is essential for maintaining weight, staying healthy and enhancing mood and sleep during menopause. But exercise does not necessarily mean intense HIIT or hitting the gym every single day. Exercising doesn't look the same for everyone - you need to find what works for you in order to stay motivated and keep at it. Simple activities such as walking, jogging, yoga, or Pilates can help you maintain a healthy weight.
During menopause, you need to prioritise restful sleep. And by restful, we don’t mean sleeping in until 11 or taking naps throughout the day, but actual peaceful, deep sleep that leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead.
Restless sleep can be caused by the hot flashes associated with menopause, which may leave you feeling hot and sweaty. To overcome this, try using a fan, wearing thin pyjamas and sleeping under light covers to stay cool as you sleep.
Not getting enough sleep can exacerbate your symptoms, so we suggest aiming for 7–8 hours of uninterrupted shut-eye per night.
Step away from the bottle - at least sometimes
As much as you may love a negroni sbagliato with prosecco, alcohol can cause harm. Particularly during menopause, if too much of it is enjoyed too often. Some studies show that it may even increase menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. But you don’t have to become a teetotaller. Just try to steer clear of alcohol as much as possible to avoid making unpleasant symptoms even worse.
Say no to quick-fix diets
As mentioned before, it's easier to get a bit more junk in your trunk during menopause. Picking up weight is so easy, thanks to out-of-control hormones. However, no matter how tempted you are to try fad diets - we're looking at you intermittent fasting - most of these quick fixes are unsustainable and could actually lead to weight gain. Instead, why not make a few subtle changes to your diet that helps you stay healthy and keeps you from gaining weight, such as:
- Eating 5 fruits and veg daily
- Adding fibre to your diet, such as beans, lentils and oats
- Avoiding processed, fatty meat
- Cutting out salt
- Adding fish to your diet
- Eating less sugar and fat
- Eating smaller portions
Remember, this is not about looking good, but feeling good and being the healthiest you can be during this change in your life. What you eat must strengthen you and build muscle, not make you model-thin.
Boost your iron
While you may be pumping iron at the gym in the form of weights, the most important iron to concentrate on is the iron levels in your body. Managing your iron levels is essential no matter what stage you are at during menopause. For example, women in peri-menopause still have periods and can develop iron-deficiency anaemia and experience more frequent and heavier periods if they don’t manage their iron levels well enough. Fortunately, boosting your iron levels simply means eating iron-rich food such as red meat and beans during that time of the month.
On the other hand, women who have stopped menstruating may experience iron overload, especially if they consume high-iron food. In this case, you should ensure your iron intake is not excessive.
Fibre intake is vital at any age, but crucial during menopause, thanks to oestrogen receptors in our bowels. If we don't have enough fibre, we get constipated, which means the body can't get rid of excess oestrogen present during peri-menopause. Solution? Reach for fruit, veg or even cereal for regular bowel movements.
Prioritise your gut health
Menopause can disrupt your gut, contributing to many unpleasant symptoms, including weight gain, lower metabolism and other basic issues such as constipation and bloating.
Fortunately, simply adding prebiotics and probiotics to your diet can help balance and boost your gut health, thereby helping improve and even prevent specific menopausal symptoms. We suggest eating the following foods:
- Fermented food
- Fruits and vegetables
Did you know, increasing your water intake is one of the most effortless changes you can make that can have a huge effect on menopausal symptoms? Staying properly hydrated can help improve hot flashes, memory, and overall brain function along with hair, skin and nail health.
Omega-3 fatty acids are your bestie
Omega-3 fatty acids have amazing properties that may help during menopause. However, the body does not produce these fatty acids, which means you need to consume them. Luckily, fish is packed with omega-3, so eating a few fish dishes a week will help improve brain health and hormonal imbalance often associated with menopause.
Keep bones strong
As we get older, our bones start to lose calcium. And if that’s not bad enough, this loss accelerates during menopause due to decreased oestrogen. Your bones become weaker and more brittle, increasing your risk of breaking or fracturing a bone.
Calcium is crucial in helping to maintain strong bones. Consuming 3 to 4 portions of dairy, such as cheese, milk and yoghurt, can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis during menopause.
Vitamin D is also vital for bone health. If you don't get much sun, you need to ensure you are getting vitamin D in other ways, such as by eating foods rich in the vitamin, including fish and red meat, or by taking a supplement to help keep your bones strong and healthy.