The 'M' word is as scary to women as erectile dysfunction to men. Already a woman's body buffers a lot more stress unlike a man's, due to all physiological yet exhaustive processes involved with her gender, starting from menarche to menopause. After all these years of continuous biological test of stamina as she reaches her advanced years, nature gifts her with 'Menopause'... what an irony! Menopause is not just about mood swings, obesity, hot flashes, anxiety, or depression, but it's a state where most women start feeling “It is all Over for me!”. Despite galore of information available today, many questions about menopause and how to combat this inevitable remain mostly unsorted. So, the current scenario is- researchers are desperate, clinicians are doubtful and ultimately patients remain unsatisfied. I won't go into that gray zone of confusions, rather my today's talk would be confined to- how can we combine good Nutrition and Exercise to combat evil Menopause. No hormone replacement therapy (HRT) shall be addressed in this article as HRT is associated with increased risks of heart diseases, strokes and development of breast cancer; Only few tested, safe and practical measures which every woman can follow would find places in subsequent paragraphs.
Essential Nutritional modifications for Menopausal Women:
* Probably you're thinking of 'Osteoporosis' or fragile bones by now. Unfortunately, it's not only your bones but muscles too take the blow of menopause! Due to fall of estrogen level in your body, calcium absorption deteriorates which demands for a diet rich in calcium. If you're a menopausal woman you need little less than 1500 mg of calcium per day. In our country, richest dietary calcium sources are milk and milk products (curd, yogurt etc). For your estimation: 100 ml of cow-milk provides you around 120 mg of calcium. Take 500-700 ml of milk per day (unless you have milk intolerance) and pop in a 500 mg calcium tablet, in fixed dose combination with vitamin D3 (you can procure the same OTC).
* As I mentioned earlier, menopause weakens your muscles too, which may manifest as muscular/joint aches with normal exercise. Easiest way of combating menopausal muscle wastage is to increase your dietary protein intake. As a thumb-rule, 1 gram of protein per kg of your ideal body weight can efficiently safeguard your body muscles. Comparing your present weight with normal range of BMI (Body Mass Index) can be one way of finding out your ideal body weight or, simply use an online Ideal body weight calculator for the same.
* Unless you're affected by thyroid disorders you are free to consume soy products liberally up to 50 grams a day. Other than rich calcium content, soy products also contain magnesium, boron, isoflavones, phytoestrogens etc which have multiple protective functions in a woman's body. Dietary soy improves overall bone health, decreases risk of fracture, prevents hot flashes and also has some protective role against breast cancer!
* Limit your Tea and Coffee intake, as tannin and caffeine (principal stimulant ingredients of tea and coffee respectively) are known to cause calcium loss from human body.