Friday, June 21, 2013

Nutrition for Post-menopausal Women in 140 Characters

I was recently asked to answer a question about nutrition specifically for post-menopausal women as I would in a tweet – that’s in 140 characters or less.  I bumbled around for a bit and decided it would be best to return to this topic after giving it much more thought and consideration. After all, we’re talking about a stage of life that produces dramatic changes in a women’s life and, not to mention, I have yet to experience this phenomenon myself.

A healthy diet can help a woman lessen menopausal symptoms and prevent disease. Also, like every stage of life, the proper diet can improve and maintain energy levels to support weight management. Making sure to include adequate amounts of calcium in your diet to maintain bone strength and integrity becomes very important during menopause, a time when a woman’s estrogen levels begin to decline and the risk of osteoporosis is increased. The recommended dietary allowance for calcium is 1,200 mg per day.  Calcium-rich foods include low-fat dairy products, spinach, almonds, salmon and milk alternatives.
Post-menopausal women also need to balance their calcium intake with an appropriate amount of vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a critical role in moving calcium to your bones.  If you are vitamin D deficient, the calcium you take in will actually move into your arteries, instead of into your bones, which has the potential to lead to a heart attack. The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is 600 IU per day. Foods high in vitamin D include mushrooms, fortified cereals, soy and dairy products, fish and exposure to natural sunlight.

An antioxidant-rich diet based on vegetables, fruits and whole grains is necessary because post menopausal women are at a higher risk of breast cancer. Weight gain also becomes a challenge which can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and heart related diseases if not controlled. Consuming high fiber foods, eating reasonable portions for meals and snacks and drinking plenty of water can help control extra pounds. Participating in regular physical activity, particularly weight-bearing excerise, is important for maintaining fitness, bone stregth and resilience.

In conclusion to my synopsis, here is my tweet:

Eat calcium, vitamin D, protein-rich foods for bone health. Maintain healthy weight with high fiber, low fat foods. Drink water. Exercise. 

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