First off a caveat, I am neither a dietitian or a nutritionist. This blog is based on my own experience, the experience of some of my clients and research I have done over the years. In addition to that I have studied both General & Clinical Nutrition as part of my degree.
Most of my clients (and myself) found that as they entered( peri) menopause that they became more sensitive to certain foods. Bloating, constipation, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea can all be a sign of this. GPs will often label this as irritable bowel syndrome and maybe even prescribe you a pill for it.
It’s time to listen to our bodies, start a food diary, write down what you eat, how you feel after both physically as well as mentally, I personally find that when I eat what my body has trouble tolerating my mood declines and I get more irritable, this is apart from physical symptoms.
Typical foods that we get more sensitive to are lactose containing foods, eggs and gluten containing products. But don’t just jump on the bandwagon of going gluten free, my worst symptoms come from eating pulses/lentils (and I have previously really liked eating them and had no issues). It often comes down to moderating some of these foods in your diet rather than cutting them out completely. Go with your gut feeling literally 🙂
Overall a diet that is plant based, with enough colourful vegetables, lean (organic, grassfed) meats, oily fish will most likely make you feel not only healthier but maybe also shed a couple of pounds if that is the goal. Avoid processed food that contains a lot of food additives (i.e.E numbers), trans fats (I.e. margarine). There’s no need to drastically cut any particular food group, carbohydrates aren’t the devil but avoid sugary treats (actually treat them as a treat).
Too much caffeine can increase stress hormone (cortisol) levels and cause been more havoc with estrogen and progesterone, you may need to moderate caffeine consumption.
Alcohol has been shown to worsen hotflashes and nightsweats. Again moderating alcohol consumption should be considered.
And last but not least eating too late in the evening before going to bed has also been shown to make your hotflashes worse.
Take home Message
Listen to your body, moderate foods that cause digestive issues or changes to mood etc. Moderate alcohol and caffeine intake and eat an overall healthy diet most of the time
Any questions on exercise, nutrition, stress management during (peri)menopause contact me on