Hot flashes, mood swings, sleep disturbances: For many women, menopause is a torment. Supposedly, however, the numerous complaints can be counteracted with the right diet. But does that really work? Experts explain.
Irmgard Zierden, a gynecologist and naturopath, believes that a balanced diet rich in vitamins is crucial for counteracting menopausal symptoms. According to the expert, there are foods that gently but effectively alleviate the symptoms. The speech is from the Phytoöstrogenen, which are contained in vegetable food – for instance in Sojaprodukten and linseed, in addition, in Kürbiskernen –. These substances are said to mimic the öestrogen produced by our bodies. So when the östrogen level in menopausal women drops, leading to symptoms such as night sweats, phytoöstrogens are said to have a balancing effect.
Nutrition in the menopause – Studies are inconclusive
Sounds almost too good to be true – and in fact the evidence is lacking: "But there is no solid scientific evidence for it", says Munich internist Professor Johannes Georg Wechsler. He is president of the Federal Association of German Nutrition Physicians (BDEM). Irmgard Zierden also points out that the study situation on the effectiveness of phytoöstrogens is not clear. However, the gynecologist reports positive feedback from her practice: "In my consultations, women tell me time and again that it is good for their condition during menopause if their diet includes foods with phytoöstrogens", says Zierden. That’s why she recommends women try it out and include appropriate foods – such as hülsenfrüchte, cereals, berries and pome fruits – in their diet.
Foods that are supposed to be good for menopause
Broccoli, all types of cabbage and arugula are also said to have a positive effect on menopausal symptoms. "In any case, they score with plenty of vitamins and minerals", says Wechsler. Garlic is also said to be beneficial. It probably not only has a beneficial effect on cardiovascular diseases, but is also said to prevent bone loss caused by a lack of estrogen. However, the effect has not been scientifically proven."You can’t say that this or that food helps against menopausal symptoms", says nutritionist Wechsler. It is a question of the total supply: "Important is a balanced food with much fruit and Gem"
Womenärztin Zierden also sees it that way. From her point of view, however, it is worth paying a little more attention to when you eat something during menopause. For example, she advises against eating raw vegetables in the form of fruit and salads in the evening. "This puts too much strain on the intestines at night", she says. As a result, this can lead to sleep disturbances and hot flashes in women. To avoid hot flashes, coffee should not be drunk at all in the evening and only in doses during the day. Hot spices and too much alcohol can also promote hot flashes and sweating. This is why Irmgard Zierden focuses on moderation.
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Preventing insomnia with the right diet
She advises menopausal women to eat light and, above all, moderate meals in the evening to prevent sleep disturbances. Under no circumstances should dinner be the main meal of the day. Intermittent fasting is also a good way to protect the intestines at night: "So in the evening after 18 o’clock nothing more eat", explains Zierden. If one has problems with sleeping, a cup of lavender tea is often more helpful before going to bed than a glass of wine. Wine fördert indeed the falling asleep, inhibits however often the Durchschlafen", so Zierden. Also a so-called gratitudeübungung helps womöglich and führt to the peace. This means becoming aware of what went well during the day and being mentally grateful for it.
Weight gain during menopause?
For many women, menopause is also noticeable when they look at the scales – they gain weight, even though they have not eaten more than usual. That is because of the course of the life", says Ernährungsmediziner Wechsler. With increasing age the body decreases muscle mass, the metabolism changes. This leads to the organism consuming less energy. Women should therefore adjust their calorie intake during menopause.
Last but not least, moderate fat consumption is important for heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids are ideal, says Irmgard Zierden. They are contained, for example, in walnuts, but also in fish varieties such as herring and salmon. Fish should be on the menu as often as possible twice a week.
With material from dpa