Nutrition Tips to Help You Gracefully Navigate Menopause

Menopause. It's been called the "Change of Life" because it marks a distinct end of one season of a woman's life and the beginning of another. While the physiological and emotional changes that it brings can be challenging, you can navigate this phase of your life more easily with a few simple nutrition tips.

Menopause “officially” starts 12-months after your last period. That happens on average, around the age of 51. This change doesn’t happen overnight, though. There are usually a few years of the menopausal transition, sometimes called “perimenopause.” Perimenopause often starts in the early- to mid-40s. This is when you may start feeling symptoms like:

● Weight gain—especially around the midsection

● Hot flashes and night sweats

● Difficulty sleeping

● Moodiness

Once perimenopause finishes and menopause officially begins, your risks for heart disease and osteoporosis rise. This happens as a result of your changing hormones, metabolism, stress levels, and even, lifestyle. Because your body goes through all these changes, your overall nutritional needs also change. Here are some expert nutrition tips to help you more easily navigate menopause.

Drink enough fluids

As you age, you may slowly lose your sense of thirst. This means you can become less hydrated without even noticing it, through no fault of your own. Plus, some key menopausal symptoms may be improved simply by drinking more fluids. If hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, or bladder infections are affecting you, try drinking at least six 8-oz glasses per day to help hydrate you. Ideally, that drink is water or herbal tea.

Avoid alcohol

We all know that alcohol isn’t the healthiest of beverages, especially if when we consume too much. That's even more true during menopause. Alcohol can worsen hot flashes and make it harder to stay asleep. It can also increase your risk of getting or worsening many health conditions. Alcohol can also increase the forgetfulness that some women experience temporarily as they enter menopause. Moreover, it can even lead to loss of muscle mass, balance problems, falls, and accidents. Finally, it has nutrient-free calories that can contribute to weight gain.