Our bodies change during menopause. What we eat and our lifestyle choices can help make this change easier:
Hot flashes and insomnia: Lower levels of estrogen and progesterone during menopause can cause hot flashes. Hot flashes can lead to insomnia (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep).
- To get better sleep: Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks 4-6 hours before bedtime. Avoid drinking alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime. Practice a regular sleep routine. Eat a light evening meal and exercise early in the day or at least 3 hours before bedtime.
Changes in body composition: Your body composition is how much fat, bone, and muscle your body has. Lower estrogen levels can lead to an increase in fat and the loss of lean body mass. These changes can also increase the amount of fat that is stored in the stomach area.
- Change your exercise goals from 30 minutes to 60 minutes each day.
- Eating more protein can help during menopause. Aim for about 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight or try to include 25-30 grams of lean or plant-based protein at each meal.
Bone Health: Lower reproductive hormones also can lead to a decrease in bone mineral density, causing your bones to get weaker.
- Make sure you are getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and protein. If you are over 50, it is recommended that you get 1200 milligrams (mg) of calcium each day.
- Quit smoking and try to exercise each day to help slow bone loss. Include weight-bearing activity and resistance training in your routine.
Heart Health: Your risk for heart disease increases during menopause.
- Eat more lean and plant-based protein, heart-healthy fats, lots of fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Eat less sodium (salt) to support heart health.
Mushroom Shawarma Pitas
(Pita bread sandwiches filled with various vegetables)
Recipe adapted from NYT Cooking
- 3/4 pound mushrooms of your choice, sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 medium red onion, halved and cut into 1/3 inch wedges
- 3 tbsp plus 2tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 4 pitas
- 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
- Cilantro or mint, chopped, for serving
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss mushrooms, red onion, 3 tbsp oil, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt, and pepper. Spread the mixture in an even layer on a rimmed sheet pan.
- Roast until tender and browned, about 20 minutes. Add the pita directly to oven rack to warm during last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Toss cabbage with 2 tsp oil and season with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, stir together yogurt and turmeric.
- To serve, add the yogurt to pitas and top with cabbage, mushroom mixture, and herbs.