Obesity is now classified as a medical illness and has quickly become a worldwide epidemic. In 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 1.6 billion adults were overweight, with at least 400 million technically obese. In the U.S., the prevalence of obesity is estimated to be around 30 percent.
Obesity is associated with a variety of negative effects on general health and is often connected with the following medical conditions: diabetes, hypertension, changes in cholesterol profiles, depression, anxiety, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, pelvic floor disorders, and urinary, bowel and sexual problems.
With declining hormones and metabolism changes, women going through menopause will sometimes experience a gradual increase in weight coupled with a decreased ability to shed those extra pounds. Healthcare professionals encourage all adults with to maintain an ideal body mass close to 25. You can easily determine your body mass index (BMI) by using this convenient calculator on the Center for Disease Control website.
Nutrition and dieting can impact chronic disease, vaginal health and your experience during menopause. With heart disease standing steady as the number one killer of woman, it’s critical to make smart food choices. A daily diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber, and low in saturated fats is highly recommended. In fact, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fortified grains can help women going through menopause feel more energetic and vivacious. This “Mediterranean diet” has also been linked to improved sexual functioning and satisfaction.
In addition to fat content, be mindful of portion size. Eating slowly and mindfully often helps to prevent overeating.
A healthy diet includes all of the basic food groups, which contain a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins. Protein may be helpful for your immune function, as it helps to repair body tissues. Examples of protein are lean meats, fish, poultry, nuts, dried beans, and foods that contain soy.
Alternatively, carbohydrates digest quickly and provide your main energy source through the day. Fruits, vegetables, pastas, grains, and cereals are all sources of carbohydrates.
In addition to feeling good during menopause, healthy practices can also help reduce your risk of cancer. To this end, The American Cancer Society recommends the following:
1) Choose a variety of healthy foods with an emphasis on plant sources. Try to eat five or more servings of fruits or vegetables daily, and choose whole grains instead of processed or refined grains and sugars.
2) Limit your consumption of red meats that are high in saturated fats.
3) Limit alcoholic beverages to one per day.
4) Adopt a physically active lifestyle with a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days each week. To further reduce your risk of colon and breast cancer, increase your workouts to 45 minutes each day.
Beans. All beans provide an excellent source of dietary fiber, folate, magnesium, and vitamin B. They can help keep bowel movements regular and may also help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Some tasty beans include garbanzo, pinto, navy, kidney, and lentils.
Berries. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries provide an excellent source of antioxidants.
Fruits. Most fruits contain vitamin C, antioxidants, folic acid, and are high in fiber, which helps you to maintain a healthy immune system.
Cereals. High-fiber cereals help to prevent heart disease and may lower cholesterol levels. Be sure to choose those that have no or minimum sugar.
Eggs. A single egg (with only 68 calories) is a low cost source of high-quality protein. It contains choline and vitamin B12, important nutrients for health.
Leafy green vegetables. These are high in folate, a nutrient necessary for new cell growth. Leafy greens can help aid metabolism, maintain healthy bowel function, and enrich your diet with much-needed vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate.
Milk and almond milk. Milk may promote bone health and bone loss, as well as aiding in keeping your teeth healthy and strong. Calcium remains an important nutrient for a woman throughout her life, and especially during menopause.
Nuts. Nuts are high in vitamin E, which may lower cholesterol levels and aid skin health. Walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecan, pistachio, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and pine nuts are excellent choices.
Fish and Meat. Cold oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent many diseases including cardiovascular disease. In addition to salmon, consider anchovies, bluefish, herring, flounder, and mackerel as tasty choices.
Water. Increase your consumption! Our brains, lungs, and muscles all need plenty of water to function. Water regulates our internal temperature, carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells, and flushes out waste products. Blood is primarily composed of water.
Use vitamins and supplements with care
According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, up to 70% of North Americans, including post menopausal women, purchase vitamin supplements, spending a surprising $7 billion per year. Despite this fact, there are few well-controlled scientific studies showing a proven benefit. In fact, when taken in high doses, many vitamins can cause physical illness or interfere with conventional prescriptions.
Diet is also essential for healthy skin, particularly during menopause. With aging and loss of estrogen, the turnover of connective tissue is decreased and this may impact the integrity of your skin as well as its collagen content. Skin may become dry, scaly and wrinkly. Follow the dietary tips outlined above and additionally consider these recommendations:
Medical research suggests that obesity is associated with loss of sexual interest or desire, poor overall sexual functioning, and the avoidance of sexual encounters. A high body mass index (BMI) can often contribute to sexual challenges such as lowered sexual arousal, decreased lubrication, and decreased orgasmic response.
Restoring sexual vitality is yet anther strong motivator for both men and women of every age to maintain a proper weight, eat a well balanced diet and maintain an active exercise program. For women during menopause, however, it’s even more important. With so many changes occurring and hormone levels fluctuating, you want to give yourself the best chance to feel healthy, strong and empowered. For many, that includes enjoying an active, exciting and healthy sex life.
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