Many menopausal women find that it's much harder to shed the pounds as they age. Additionally, they may become a bit heavier in the abdominal region.
Unfortunately, this tendency to gain weight is due to uncontrollable factors like decreasing estrogen levels and the natural loss of muscle linked to aging.
However, you can still control two important things: exercise and diet.
Also, try to eat more fiber-rich foods that can promote weight loss and better digestion, such as:
A healthy diet and regular exercise will help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Once you hit menopause age, your risk of osteoporosis significantly increases. Don't wait until the Big M starts before you prioritize your bone health.
To keep your bones strong, you need calcium, protein, and vitamin D. Calcium makes your bones more robust while vitamin D aids in calcium absorption.
Aside from taking supplements, you can also increase your calcium and vitamin D intake by eating certain foods.
Some calcium-rich sources include:
Foods that contain vitamin D include:
Smoking doesn't just harm your health, it also puts you at risk of earlier menopause, unless you're already (peri)menopausal. It also increases your risk of experiencing hot flashes. (Related: 5 Natural Ways To Reduce Your Menopause Symptoms.)
Your drinking habits can significantly affect your risk of breast cancer and sleep disturbances. A study suggests that drinking three or more alcoholic beverages daily increases your risk of breast cancer 1.5 times. So the more you drink, the higher your risk of cancer.
Menopause also affects your sleep quality, just like alcohol. If you're having trouble sleeping, consider limiting your alcohol intake.
Poor sleep and mood problems are closely connected. You might get cranky if you don't get enough sleep, and if you're having a tough week, you may have trouble falling asleep.
This can aggravate menopausal symptoms and lead to various mood issues, such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, and panic attacks.
To improve your sleep quality, try the following tips:
The risk of urinary incontinence increases as you age. To address this symptom, practice Kegel exercises (Kegels) to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Kegels involves tensing the muscles you use when you hold your urine in. Hold these muscles for several seconds, then relax and repeat. Try to do 10 Kegels exercises at least five times a day.
Your oral health is also linked to your hormone levels. As you get older, your risk of gingivitis (inflamed gums) and periodontitis (gum disease) significantly increases. This is due to a greater accumulation of plaque.
Studies have linked gum disease to heart disease, and losing teeth may indicate osteoporosis. Maintain oral health by brushing and flossing twice daily. Let your dentist know if you notice any changes in your teeth or gums.
Menopause isn't something to be afraid of, as long as you make positive lifestyle changes such as following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and limiting your alcohol intake. These changes won't just address your menopausal symptoms, they will also improve your overall health, which is important for women of any age.