I have begun Menopause and have been gaining weight and having bad hot flashes. Is there anything you can suggest I do?
– Lisa D.
Every woman will eventually reach the stage of menopause and the ovaries cease production of estrogen. (sigh) The transitional time, termed perimenopause, may take several years. Nutritionally, managing these stages involves responding to changing hormones and influencing energy balance.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine recommends a low-fat, vegetarian diet for women who are experiencing hot flashes. EndocrineWeb encourages “filling your meals with plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.” Adequate protein is needed to support muscle-protein synthesis, with intake spread across the day. In regards to supplements, WebMD indicates that black cohosh, St John’s wort and flaxseed may help manage menopause symptoms.
Creating an energy deficit is necessary for weight loss, which can come from curbing caloric intake or boosting output. Regular exercise to the tune of 60 minutes daily also helps, particularly if it includes strength training to retain lean body mass.
M Jacobsen. Midlife Nutrition — Helping Women Over 40 Overcome Nutrition Challenges, Today’s Dietitian March 2014 Issue Vol. 16 No. 3 P. 30
Pinkerton, JoAnn. “MenoPause Blog.” MenoPause, 2018, www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-take-time-to-think-about-it. Accessed 8/27/2019.
– Debbie J., MS, RD
This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.
Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.