Nutrition and Menopause
The aging process is associated with many changes in hormonal and physiological function, some of which are gender-related. In women, one of the most dramatic hormonal changes is the striking reduction in estrogen production that accompanies
Menopause occurs when a woman stops having her monthly period. By definition, a woman is menopausal after her periods have stopped for one year. The 1-5 years that precedes menopause is called perimenopause. During perimenopause, a woman's body adjusts to a waning and then absent menstrual flow, as well as to the associated bodily changes that result from lower estrogen levels.
Eating a Healthy Diet
Although researchers continue to study the special nutrition needs of menopausal women, it is generally agreed that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains and lower in fat and calories is a wise choice for women at midlife.
Estrogen levels decline during menopause, and this reduction makes bone more susceptible to calcium loss. Increased calcium intake and moderate weight-bearing exercise may be able to minimize the development of
Prior to menopause, estrogen helps protect a woman's arterial walls from fat and
But, what about alcohol? While coffee may worsen hot flashes, drinking alcohol in moderation (1-5 drinks per week) may offer some benefit in reducing hot flashes.
Watch What You Eat and Keep Fit
Menopause is associated with reducing resting- and physical activity-related energy expenditure and increasing central fat stores (stomach and thighs), which are risk factors for heart disease. To maintain body weight at premenopausal levels, women may need to cut back their caloric intake and increase physical activity.
Although menopause presents special challenges to women, consuming adequate amounts of calcium, limiting animal fats, eating plenty of whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, and frequent exercise can help ensure women a healthy passage through menopause.
American Menopause Foundation
The North American Menopause Society
The Canadian Women's Health Network
Dietitians of Canada
Barrett-Connor E. Epidemiology and the menopause: a global interview. Int J Fertil .1993;38:6-14 (supplement 1).
DynaMed Editorial Team. Menopause. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated April 23, 2010. Accessed May 18, 2010.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Osteoporosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated May 14, 2010. Accessed May 18, 2010.
Margolis A, Greenwood S. Menopausal syndrome. In: Tierney L, McPhee S, Papadakis M, Schroeder S. ed. Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment . Norwalk, CT: Appleton and Lange;1994:591-592.
Matthews K, Meilahn E, Kuller LH, et al. Menopause and risk factors for coronary heart disease. N Engl J Med .1989;321:641-646.
The PDR Family Guide to Nutrition and Health . Montrose, NJ: Medical Economics;1995.
Ravnikar VA. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle in preparation for menopause. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am .1993;20:365-378.
Rolfes SR, DeBruyne LK. Life span nutrition: conception through life. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co;1990.
Last reviewed May 2010 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.