3 Key Diet Changes For Tackling Menopause Symptoms
Pause Well-Aging | June 03 , 2019
Can cleaning up your diet reduce hot flashes, bloating and excess weight gain? Nutritional Therapist Sung Yun Cho says yes.
“You know when you get older, your digestive system changes. If I got some Taco Bell Nacho Fries, I would have to eat them in the parking lot of urgent care.” - Wanda Sykes, Not Normal
If the thought of indulging in a little greasy, spicy fast food could later feel like a medical emergency at this point in life, we feel your pain. The drop in estrogen and progesterone during menopause can cause constipation and slower digestion, never mind weight gain and bloating that seems to know no limits.
It’s a typical story nutritional therapist and health coach Sung Yun Cho, who also writes the blog Clean Food Long Life, hears from her female clients over 40. “You really have to readjust the way you eat in this phase of life,” she says. “Most of my clients are able to reduce symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, bloating and excessive weight gain by cleaning up their diets.”
While she acknowledges there’s no eating plan that’s one-size fits all, her overall approach is to keep sugar intake to a minimum, focus on plant-based foods and quality proteins. Here, find three key dietary adjustments she recommends to keep you healthy for what’s ahead.
Reduce Your Sugar Intake
This is a tough one for sweet-tooths and bread lovers, but Sung believes a refined sugars and a high-carb diet make hormonal mood swings worse by spiking glucose levels and taxing your adrenal glands. “Ignore that food pyramid model we were brought up with,” cautions Sung. “It recommends a high-carb, low-fat diet, which in my experience doesn’t work.” Keep the carbs to a minimum, and when it comes to natural sugars like fruit, go for those with a low glycemic index, like berries, mangoes or papayas.
Get Enough Protein
Loss of muscle mass and bone density is another byproduct of lowered estrogen, and for that Sung encourages eating animal proteins. Quality proteins like wild fish, grass-fed meats, and pasture raised eggs will help ward off osteoporosis and unnecessary loss of muscle tone.
Focus on Plant-Based Foods
Going back to the food pyramid, Sung believes the bottom of it should have been vegetables, especially alkaline leafy greens, like spinach. “This is where you’ll get vital nutrients, like calcium, vitamins D and K, all of which are great for your bones.” Plus they’re high in fiber, which will no doubt help with constipation.
Sung Yun Cho is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and food coach. She also writes the blog Clean Food Long Life, where you find recipes (lots of them!) and learn more about her approach to eating.