One of the most frustrating parts of menopause is the weight gain! I have always taken care of myself, eaten healthy and exercised but lately simply cannot shift the extra weight I am carrying. It’s been so upsetting that there are times I just sit and cry at how ugly I feel. Well-meaning people say, “You look fine Angela” and I try to explain that it’s not about what other people think but how I feel, and I know that this body is not mine, it’s someone else’s body. I know what my body looks like and this is not it 🙁
In a large study from Australia, researchers found that menopausal women who ate diets high in fruit, certain vegetables, pasta and red wine were 20% less likely to have hot flashes and night sweats. Women who adhere to a low-fat, high-fiber diet tend to have lower, more stable estrogen levels.
So, after some research, I was delighted to discover that there is one diet that actually helps increase estrogen and is the best possible diet for menopausal women. Best of all, I can still drink wine, coffee, tea and eat dark chocolate – yay!
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet has been labeled one of the healthiest in the world and includes an abundance of fresh vegetables, fruit, legumes, seeds, nuts, herbs and spices, whole grains, avocado, olive oil and fish. Drinks include plenty of water and a little wine too. I write about this sort of diet and an ideal lifestyle in my book 7 Simple Steps to Your Ideal Weight which I plan to revise this year to include recipes and a section on menopause.
Here are the top foods to enjoy on the Mediterranean diet:
- Fruit and Veg: Apples, bananas, citrus, pears, all berries, grapes, figs, melons and peaches. Dried fruits such as apricots and medjool dates. Tomatoes, kale, spinach, rocket, watercress, red onions, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and turnips.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, various seeds.
- Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas.
- Whole grains: Whole oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole-grain bread and whole-grain bread pasta.
- Fish and seafood: Salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab and mussels.
- Poultry and Eggs: Chicken, duck, turkey and various eggs.
- Dairy: Cheese and Greek yogurt.
- Herbs and spices: Garlic, basil, mint, fennel, cumin, bay leaf, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, tarragon, thyme, and turmeric.
- Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, and avocado oil.
You may already be eating healthy and along these lines or this may be completely new to you. Don’t panic just start making small changes until you have completely replaces your diet. For example, replace sugary snacks with dried fruit or replace mayonnaise with Greek yogurt, remove processed cereals and eat oats for breakfast or make a yummy berry smoothy with coconut milk, berries, cacao and a small banana. There are so many delicious healthy alternatives. Find a really good starting point with my easy-to-follow 7 Simple Steps to Your Ideal Weight.
If you have any great recipes or diet tips that help with menopause please share them with us too.
Follow the Small Business Menopause series here.