Hot flashes? Here are some nutrition tips for menopause

1. Avoid  caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol, as these can precipitate hot flashes.

2. Pump up your iron intake. Eating at least 3 servings of iron-rich foods a day will help ensure that you are getting enough iron in your daily diet. Iron is found in lean red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, leafy green vegetables, nuts and enriched grain products.

3. Eat whole grains and beans!!! Plant-based foods that contain isoflavones (plant estrogens) work in the body like a weak form of estrogen and may help relieve menopausal symptoms in some women. Some may lower cholesterol levels and have been suggested to relieve hot flashes and night sweats. Currently, most research indicates that soy isoflavones are not particularly effective for treating several menopausal symptoms. Aside from soy products, isoflavones can also be found in foods such as whole grains and beans.

4. Because there is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen after menopause and the development of osteoporosis, make sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Eating and drinking 2 to 4 servings of dairy products and calcium-rich foods a day will help ensure that you are getting enough calcium in your daily diet. Calcium is found in dairy products, clams, sardines, broccoli and legumes. Be careful not to get more than 2,000 mg of calcium a day very often. That amount can increase your chance of developing kidney problems.

5. Your body uses vitamin D to absorb calcium. In addition, Vitamin D intake helps with mood disorders, autoimmune problems, and prevention of certain cancers in addition to keeping the bones healthy. New recommendations for Vitamin D, set  in 2010 call for 600 international units a day, though people age 71 and older may need as much as 800.And, if you have history of vitamin D deficiency,  at least 2000 IU daily is recommended. The upper level that is considered safe for adults is 4,000 IU/day.

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