As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I work with individuals of all ages to develop personalized diet plans to meet changing nutritional needs, translating research into practice. Whether you’re struggling to attain or maintain your optimal weight, or need help with preventing or managing a chronic disease, a comprehensive nutrition program that includes education, meal planning and behavior modification is needed.
What can women do to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic disease after menopause? Here are some easy-to-follow tips:
EAT BALANCED AND TIMELY MEALS
A nourishing diet includes a balance of high-quality protein, wholesome carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Skipped meals and restrictive diets often backfire. The result is increased cravings and overeating.
Meals plans that eliminate or restrict certain foods or food groups may results in nutrient deficiencies.
IMPROVE DIET QUALITY
It is important to focus on eating patterns rather than single nutrients. Be sure to include nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, unrefined starchy vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, soy foods, dairy products, poultry, fish, and lean meats. The Mediterranean-style program is an example of this eating pattern.
Physical activity helps prevent the loss of lean body mass that occurs with aging.
Strength training protects bone.
A combination of aerobic activity with resistance exercise is optimal for preventing age-related weight gain, improving strength and balance, and decreasing the risk for several metabolic diseases.
Black cohosh and dong quai have been suggested over the years to reduce the discomfort of menopausal symptoms. Though “natural” and therefore assumably safe, there is limited evidence supporting efficacy and long-term safety.
Soy Foods and isoflavones are another nutritional remedy for menopausal symptoms. Though data is inconsistent, soy foods are an excellent source of plant-based protein and provide non-hormonal benefits.
Though there isn’t one approach to weight and health management, a combination of diet, and exercise is needed to maintain health in menopause and beyond.