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Menopause & Diet

Full-blown meno-pause (also called change of life) is when the menstrual period ends, which normally occurs during middle age. Meno-pause in some women has also been known to occur as early as their mid 30's especially if ovarian production of estrogen and progesterone in their bodies begins to decline.

Needless to say, a deficiency of hormones is going to have a significant impact on both physical and mental health. Diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and dietary supplements like zinc and selenium can reduce the symptoms of menopause.

Here are some common diet solutions for hot flashes for women who are approaching or in menopause:

• Limit caffeine intake. Tea, coffee, alcohol, spicy foods and caffeinated beverages can have an effect. High amounts of caffeine may aggravate hot flashes and weaken the bones.
• Take vitamin D. You can get enough from exposure to sun for a few minutes each day. The daily intake should be 400 to 800 IU.
• Consume calcium. The daily intake should be 800 to 1,500 mg. Good sources of calcium are dark green vegetables, low-fat dairy products, salmon and legumes.
• Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis, hip fracture and also increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Soy best in moderation
• Eat a diet rich in phytoestrogens. Examples are tofu, nuts, seeds and flaxseeds to protect your heart. Even though soy protein contains phytoestrogens, which help balance your hormones, soy also has other phytochemicals called phytates that can block the absorption of necessary nutrients such as zinc and iodine, so use it wisely. The best way to eat soy is in its fermented form, since it reduces the nutrient-blocking effects.

Weight gain can occur during menopause due to the changes in hormone levels, possibly due to declining estrogen. In order to maintain a healthy weight, you need to eat less calories less and exercise more. Consistency is the key to your exercise program because it will also help keep away any additonal pounds.

Some have asked if men go through menopause. The answer is yes! They do experience the so-called the change of life as a result of declining hormones. Low testosterone is commonly seen in men beginning in their 40s. This is associated with symptoms of aging in males.

Beverly Mahone is an author and baby boomer expert. For more information, visit her website: www.talk2bev.com

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