Sweating, fast heart beats and palpitation ! Have your mom or aunt ever complained about these? It’s generally mixed up with the feeling of experiencing heart attack. But hold the horses !!! These are just the hot flashes, one of the common symptoms of menopause. Read on to know more about Indian Diet Plan For Menopause
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What is menopause?
Menopause is a hormonal condition when woman’s menstruation stops. This happens as a result of lack in production of estrogen or progesterone. Continuous absence of menstruation for a year marks menopausal stage.
When does it set in?
It usually occurs between 40 – 55 years of age. Women who smoke or have never been pregnant fall an early prey to Menopause. Also , those women who live at high altitudes may have early menopause.
What causes menopause?
- Natural phenomenon: Menopause occurs due reduction in the number of functioning eggs within the ovaries and lack of estrogen production. Loss of estrogen is the reason behind the symptoms associated with menopause.
- Hysterectomy: It is the removal of uterus. It may or may not include the ovaries. Menopause sets in slowly after this surgery.
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy: These cancer therapies can induce transitional or temporary menopause. The treatment often leads to symptoms such as hot flashes. Some women experience it while undergoing the treatment, while other women experience it shortly after the course of treatment.
- Primary ovarian insufficiency: When the ovaries fail to produce normal levels of reproductive hormones leading to ovarian insufficiency.
Symptoms of menopause:
Symptoms start showing few months or years before menopause sets in. There is change in menstruation pattern . They may either become shorter and lighter or longer and heavier with time.
Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause. It is a feeling of warmth that spreads over the body. It lasts from around 30 seconds to a few minutes. While hot flashes often increase skin temperature and pulse, they can also cause insomnia or sleeplessness.
Estrogen loss affects the vaginal lining. Women may experience pain during intercourse and dryness in vaginal area.
Menopause may cause changes in the shape of the breasts.
Estrogen helps in calcium absorption and deposition in the body. The reduction in estrogen production makes the bones porous. Bone loss may causes osteoporosis and makes women more prone to fractures.
Estrogen helps in cholesterol utilization in the body. Lack of estrogen significantly increases cholesterol levels during menopause. High cholesterol and weight gain leads to heart diseases.
The basic metabolic rate during menopause slows down which may lead to weight gain in a woman. A proper diet and exercise routine is the best way to keep the weight under control.
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Medical therapies to control the symptoms:
Menopause is not a disease. It requires attention and treatments on relieving the signs and symptoms.Few such therapies are:
- Hormone therapy:Lowest dose of estrogen is prescribed for symptomatic relief.
- Vaginal estrogen: Estrogen is administered directly into the vagina using a vaginal cream, tablet or ring. It relieves vaginal dryness, discomfort with intercourse and some urinary symptoms.
- Antidepressants: Antidepressants are also advised if the woman complains of a mood disorder.
Indian Diet Plan for Menopause
Diet plays an important role in menopausal stage of a woman. Plant estrogen helps in reducing the side effects of menopause. Some nutrients that play important role in a menopausal diet are ;
These are naturally occurring estrogen mimicking component in food. There are two main types of phytoestrogens — isoflavones and lignans. These Isoflavones are found in soybeans, chickpeas and other legumes and Lignans occur in flax seed, whole grains as well as some fruits and vegetables.
Calcium and Vitamin D:
Calcium and Vitamin D supplements maintain the bone structure and strength. Thus, prevents bones from becoming fragile and prone to fractures. These supplements with mild to moderate weight bearing exercises like walking and jogging give the best result. Hence they should be included in Indian diet plan for menopause
Food sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines or small fish with bones. Vitamin D food sources are oily fish, lentils and eggs.
Lack of menstruation leads to reduced hemoglobin renewal in the blood. Anemia is commonly observed during menopause. And Iron rich foods control the hemoglobin levels in the plasma. Hence Iron should be supplemented in the diets of menopausal women. Food sources of iron are lean meat and fish, eggs and seafood, green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals.
Vitamin E is necessary for health of egg produced in ovary and to maintain vaginal wall integrity. Food sources of vitamin E are nuts and oil seeds, fortified oils and ghee and fish. Read – Benefits of Vitamin E
Foods high in fiber often helps in weight reduction, lowers blood cholesterol and relieves constipation. Complex carbohydrates maintain the erratic blood sugars which are responsible for the mood swings. Fiber rich food sources are whole grains like whole wheat, broken wheat, oats, quinoa, millets like bajra, jowar, Ragi salads, whole fruits, sprouts, pulses and raw fruits and vegetables.
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- Health benefits of Ragi
- Does rice help in weight loss
- Health benefits of sprouts
- Health benefits of quinoa
- Benefits of flax seeds
Omega 3 enriched oils prove to be beneficial for the cardiac health and keep weight and cholesterol in check. Groundnut, rice bran, canola or olive oil, beans, flax seeds are all omega 3 and 6 enriched.
Indian diet plan for Menopause:
Here is a Sample Indian diet plan for Menopause that you can refer. This is a 1500 calorie diet plan and most suitable for women who are around their ideal weight.
- Early Morning –
Either Detox water
OR Warm water and lemon (Read – Benefits of lemon water. )
OR 1/2 apple (if you suffer from constant acidity)
With 6 soaked almonds (Read Benefits of Almonds.)
After 1 hour –
1 Glass milk . (Avoid sugar if posible)
Either Asparagus omlette
OR Vegetable Oats Upama (1 soup bowl.)
OR Fruit and sprout Poha (1 soup bowl.)
Mid Morning –
( This helps in all possible way to reduce hot flashes and provides plant estrogen.)
With handful Roasted Soy bean
Either Grilled or baked Fish with brown rice (1 soup bowl)
OR 2 fatless phulka with Soyabean Curry or any Lentil curry and curd
OR 2 ragi balls with vegetable based sambar.
Post Lunch –
Either 1 glass Buttermilk with mint leaves
OR 1 /2 glass sol kadhi
OR 1 glass ragi kanji ( ragi mixed in buttermilk.)
- Evening –
Either Mixed sprout chat / salad – 1 soup bowl
OR Roasted soy bean
OR 1/2 apple (finely chopped)+ 1/2 beetroot (finely chopped)+ 1/2 pomogranate salad (very good for heamoglobin)
With 1 cheese cube
Either 2 small jowar or Bajra roti with little jaggery and cooked spinach and lentils
OR Broken wheat / daliya khichadi with lots and lots of veggies (1 soup bowl) + 1 bowl curd / kadhi
OR 2 phulka with tofu or paneer bhurji + dals / sambar – 1 bowl
Bed time –
1 Glass Milk (Avoid sugar if possible.) + 6 soaked almonds
This sample Indian diet plan for Menopause majorly covers all the food items stated above in the description . Hope you find this Indian diet plan for menopause is easy to follow .
Alternative Therapy – Lifestyle management and home remedies:
- For hot flashes: Avoid being in hot weather and even a warm room. Avoid intake of hot beverages, caffeine and spicy foods. Giving up on alcohol will also help in reducing over all stress.
- For vaginal discomfort:Use of over-the-counter vaginal lubricants or moisturizers. Strengthen pelvic muscle by Kegel exercises.
- For sleep disturbance:High caffeine disturbs the sleep cycle. Exercise during the day instead of late evening as exercise makes mind more alert and active. Deep breathing, paced breathing, pranayama as well as meditation and relaxation help in sound sleep.
- Quit smoking: It pre pones the onset of menopause and increase hot flashes. Smoking aggravates the risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, cancer.
- Exercise regularly:Regular exercise helps to prevent high cholesterol levels. It regularizes blood sugars, and prevent osteoporosis and keeping the heart healthy. Brisk walk, run, tennis as well as stair climbing and aerobics help in maintaining bone density. Aerobic exercise improves cardiac stamina where as Yoga or Pilates help in maintaining core stability, flexibility and joint movement. Recommendation of physical activity is at least 30 minutes daily for maintaining your current weight where as 45 mins daily if you are over weight.
Controlling this midlife crisis is not difficult. Just notice the change in yourself or anyone around you and put these practical tips into use. Hope this Indian diet plan for menopause helps you and relieves you from your symptoms.