What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the stage before menopause. For many women, it starts a year after your last period, and it can last years. Progesterone and oestrogen levels fluctuate and begin to drop until levelling out during menopause. All of this can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms from hot flushes, insomnia, irregular periods, weight gain and mood swings. Lucky us!
So what can we do about it and can food really help?
Keeping a good diet & continuing to exercise can help with the symptoms of perimenopause. Reducing sugar, alcohol & refined carbs is essential, particularly as these can exaggerate symptoms, but increasing protein, omega 3 & fibre intake can help curb unnecessary hunger cravings. You want to try and eat food that will keep you fuller for longer which will avoid the sugar spikes which make us overeat, and gain weight as a result.
Hot flashes are a common symptom of perimenopause and menopause, if you have a bad night’s sleep your sugar levels will also suffer as a result- again this leads to overeating and weight gain which is why it’s so important to control sugar levels and eat whole grains rich in fibre, instead of refined carbs.
Upping your intake of calcium and Vitamin D during perimenpause can help tackle the risk of osteoporosis for us women. Up to the age of 50 we only need about 1000mg of Calcium, but as soon as we hit 50 the recommended daily dose exceeds 1200mg. Foods that are rich in Calcium include; Spinach, Kale and some fish like Sardines and Salmon. Foods rich in Vitamin D include; beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and fatty fish like mackerel. Of course, we should recommend that the majority of nutrients come from your food, but if there are major vitamins and minerals you know you are missing out on then do look at introducing a good quality multi-vitamin and even a good quality protein.
As well as symptoms being affected by what you eat, some symptoms have proved to be alleviated by certain exercise. Weight bearing or light resistance training, such as Pilates, is important to help build bone & muscle density, both of which reduce rapidly leading up to the menopause, so it’s great news if you have already been using the app. Aerobic exercise increases cardio fitness and can help limit the weight gain to.
Both diet and exercise can help you cope with the changes occurring in your body, relieve stress and enhance your overall quality of life during this time but don’t just take our word for it there are hundreds of others who say so.
If you would like any further advice or you have your own tried and tested tips, please do reach out to us.
You can share your own experiences and help someone else in our community too.
We are in this together!