Read the full video transcript below
Today, I’m going to talk about diet. Now I get lots of women emailing in and phoning in wanting to know if they are eating the right things for the menopause, eating the wrong things for the menopause or whether they should follow a specific diet.
So I thought I would just give you a few tips, easy things you can do for yourself. And please don’t worry; I’m not going to make you eat lettuce and lentils for the rest of the menopause.
I love food and if anyone said to me that I could never have a piece of chocolate cake or a nice cup of coffee or a glass of wine ever again, then I would be extremely upset. So these are just going to be easy tips that you can try for yourself, that shouldn’t be too difficult.
Remember your five pieces of fruit and veg a day
So the first thing I’m going to talk about is things that you need to put into your diet. You’ve all heard of the five pieces of fruit and veg, so this is the number one thing to do. When you are going through the menopause, there is an awful amount of internal work going on in the body and your nutritional needs can actually go sky high.
So making sure you get a good variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds and dried fruits, can actually help to give you all the nutrients that your body needs at this difficult time. So remember, five pieces of fruit and veg a day.
Are you Menopausal? Need help with your symptoms? Try our Menopause Symptom Checker.
Answer 3 question to find out if you could be menopausal and get personalised tips and advice straight to your inbox based on your results.
Take the test now
Make sure you are getting enough protein
The other really important thing that you need to get into the diet is to make sure you are getting enough protein. Again, because of so much going on in the body, your protein needs can go up. And it can be very difficult to actually get that into the diet, especially if you are vegan or vegetarian or you’re not particularly keen on meat or fish.
So I normally suggest a protein powder. You can go to your local health foods shop and they can show you a good one. Just make sure it doesn’t have a lot of sugar and artificial sweeteners in them.
You could try…
Pulsin Pea Protein
This natural and unflavoured powder is rich in plant protein – perfect for boosting your daily protein intake. It also contains essential minerals such as iron and zinc, with no added sugar and it is also suitable for vegans.
And the protein powders, you can put them into a protein shake or make a smoothie out of them. And I know I feel the benefit of extra protein powders, especially if I’ve had a really busy day or I’ve got a lot on or I’m traveling a lot. So just remember the protein.
Good healthy grains are important
The other really important thing is to get good healthy grains into the diet. Now unfortunately in the menopause you can put weight on really quickly, you can also get really bloaty and some women find their digestive system slows down and they end up getting constipated.
Now white foods like white bread, white rice, white pasta, lots of cakes and biscuits, they can really contribute to this, so do try to avoid them if you can. Put in brown bread, brown pasta and brown rice and you’ll probably feel a lot better quite quickly.
Caffeine can trigger hot flushes
Now the things to avoid! Well, unfortunately these tend to be the things that we all love, but there we go.
First of all, one of the most important things is caffeine. Now that would be your coffee, your tea, your fizzy drinks, even drinking chocolate can have caffeine in it.
And unfortunately caffeine really does affect your nervous system. It can speed it up, it can rev it up, it can make you really jangly (jittery). And too many cups of tea and coffee can give you palpations, they can trigger flushes, they can stop you sleeping and it can actually give you headaches as well. So these things are really best avoided, if you can.
Now if you find that you really can’t give up coffee, try to just have one cup a day. Make it a really good quality of coffee, organic if you can. And I do always say if you have to have something bad, make sure it’s the best of the bad. And believe it or not, having that afternoon cup of coffee can actually cause sleep problems at night and can trigger night sweats as well, so just remember that one.
Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
What we need to do is get plenty of water into your daily diet. And you know, water, it’s a bit boring, isn’t it and sometimes it can actually be a difficult thing to actually drink. But we are looking at getting a litre and a half of water into your daily diet.
Dehydration is a huge issue in the menopause and can contribute to a whole range of symptoms, not only flushes and sweats, but poor sleep, foggy thinking, joint aches and pains, dry skin. It can cause headaches and it can cause palpations as well.
So why not try to have a nice glass of water, put a little bit of lemon in it, if you find that plain water is a little bit boring. I love a bit of fresh ginger in my water, that can be really good as well.
Just be aware that fruit juices, the diluting juices, really don’t count. They tend to have sugar in them or artificial sweeteners and they really won’t give you the best benefit as plain water, so they should really be avoided as well.
Keep sugar and salt to a minimum
And the other main thing to look at is sugar and salt. It’s amazing how many women get in touch with me and they go ‘I can’t understand it, if I have a biscuit, if I have a piece of cake, if I have a packet of crisps, half an hour later I get a hot flush, why is that?’ And again it’s the fact that these foods can rev up your nervous system and then trigger flushes as well. So really do keep these to a minimum if you can.
Now these are 6 really easy tips, so why don’t you try these for a couple of weeks and just see if they actually make a difference to your menopause symptoms.
Until next week...
So I’m really looking forward to hearing how you get on and if you have any questions then do let me know.