The hormonal shifts experienced during menopause can have an effect on your nutritional needs.  Today we’re discussing some health issues that could develop throughout menopause, and how you can protect yourself through diet and exercise.

Cardiovascular Disease
Estrogen has a protective effect against heart disease.  Decreased estrogen production following natural or surgical menopause is associated with an increased risk for heart disease.

Nutritional Tips:
  • Avoid trans fats- found in hydrogenated oils
  • Decrease saturated fat intake- less than 15 grams per day
  • Maintain a healthy weight

High Cholesterol
During menopause “bad” lipids like total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides increase while the “good” lipid HDL cholesterol decreases.  The risk for high cholesterol increases with menopausal weight gain.

Nutritional Tips:

Osteoporosis
Bone formation is a process that is directed by hormones.  Bone density begins to diminish in both men and women around age 40, but bone loss speeds up greatly for women after menopause.

Nutritional Tips:
  • Important nutrients for bone health are calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium.
  • Make sure you get plenty of protein to maintain bone mass.
  • Resistance training can increase bone density at any age- it’s never too late to start!

Weight Gain
Androgen hormones such as testosterone are the building blocks for estrogen.  During menopause there is not only a decrease in estrogen, but also a gradual decrease in androgens overall.  Androgens are responsible for building lean muscle mass, which helps to burn calories even when at rest.  That means less androgens can result in a lower resting metabolism.  This combined with the natural slowing of metabolism that occurs as we age can result in weight gain.

Nutritional Tips:
  • Decrease portion sizes
  • Minimize added sugar and oil
  • Load up on fruits and veggies
  • Engage in physical activity most days of the week
 


Comments

10/08/2013 9:53pm

Thanks for sharing this information. From my own research, I have learned that cholesterol levels for men and women are varied through most of their lives. It is after menopause that a woman's cholesterol levels tend to catch up with those of their male counterparts.

Reply



Leave a Reply