Menopause weight gain is very common, although multiple factors may affect how much weight a woman gains if they do gain weight at all. These include ageing, genetics, hormones and lifestyle such as diet and exercise, the latter of which can be controlled. Health food chain Holland & Barrett has revealed the three diet changes menopausal women should consider making if they want to lose weight.
1. Menopause and Reducing Carbs
“One way to support menopause weight loss is to reduce the number of carbs in your diet,” the health experts said.
“Studies have shown that this is a useful tactic in reducing menopause belly fat and helps to increase metabolism, something which naturally slows down with age.”
Many foods are low in carbs and can be chosen to help lose weight.
Meat such as beef, pork, lamb and chicken are all low in carbohydrates, as are fish and seafood, with fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines or herring containing high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
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Eggs are also a great protein option that is low in carbs for menopausal women.
Vegetables that grow above the ground such as Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, bok choy, spinach, asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, olives, mushrooms, cucumber, avocado (technically a fruit but usually included with vegetables), onions, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, other kinds of leafy greens, are the lowest in net carbs and can all be can be enjoyed at all levels of carb restriction.
Dairy products such as full-fat options of butter, cream, sour cream, Greek/Turkish yoghurt and high-fat cheeses, are not only delicious but low enough in carbs to be eaten in moderation to help weight loss.
Milk, however, contains a lot of sugar.
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2. Increase Fiber
“Getting enough fibre in your diet is important for healthy digestion and certain high-fiber foods, such as flaxseeds, have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity,” Holland & Barrett suggested.
“Women going through menopause naturally become more resistant to insulin, which may make post-menopause weight loss more difficult, so fibre-rich foods which support insulin intake could show benefits.”
According to the NHS, an adult should be consuming 30g of fibre a day to maintain a healthy balanced diet.
For anyone not consuming that amount, and wanting to increase their fibre intake, it’s a good idea to do it gradually to avoid gut issues like bloating and gas.
Equally, for gut health, it is also important to drink plenty of fluids (around six to eight glasses per day for adults) and to be physically active.
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3. Add More Soya
“Did you know that thanks to soya isoflavones, plant-based chemicals known as ‘phytoestrogen,’ soya foods are often beneficial to women going through menopause?” The experts revealed.
“This is because soya isoflavones work as a weak form of oestrogen in the body, helping to reduce the symptoms of menopause like hot flushes.
“They also support weight loss goals as they’re low in fat, high in protein, and soybeans, tofu, and tempeh are known for having the highest isoflavone content.”
Alongside snacking on soybeans, soya can be consumed in many ways.
Foods made from soybeans can be divided into unfermented and fermented foods.
Unfermented foods include tofu, soymilk, edamame, soy nuts and sprouts, while fermented soy products include miso, tempeh, natto and soy sauce.