For many women, weight gain can skyrocket at the onset of perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause. Weight gain, night sweats, forgetfulness, moodiness, low libido and lack of energy are common symptoms of the condition.
The average age for a perimenopause diagnosis is 45, but some women face it as early as their late 30s and early 40s. The levels of the hormone testosterone start to decrease and libido is greatly affected. Weight gain is common, especially around the mid-abdominal area.
On average, a woman will gain a pound a year during this time. Women who gain in excess of 20 pounds after menopause can increase their risk for breast cancer risk by nearly 20 percent.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help minimize and stave off the effects of hormonal changes in the body.
Foods to Eat:
- Fruits and vegetables.
Why? They have phytoestrogens and boron that helps the body hold onto estrogen.
- Foods high in calcium, such as fat-free Greek yogurt.
Why? Women should consume 1,000 to 1,500 mg of calcium per day to help maintain healthy bones.
Why? Flaxseed and Omega-3 fatty acids help lower cholesterol and reduce tumor properties.
- Foods high in fiber, such as whole-grain breads.
Why? Twenty grams of fiber per day can help digestive function and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- Iron-rich foods, such as almonds and other nut products.
Why? As a woman approaches menopause, fluctuating hormone levels can lead to increased blood loss. At least 8 milligrams of iron can help fortify the blood.
Foods to Avoid:
- Caffeine and sugary carbonated beverages.
Why? They deplete calcium in the body.
- Sugary foods.
Why? They contribute to insulin spikes in the body and can cause weight gain.
- Foods high in saturated fats and trans-fatty acids, such as cookies and chips.
Why? Saturated and trans-fats found in processed and fast foods raise LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.