Did you know your nutritional needs change as you reach menopause? Our women’s health care providers are here to help you make healthy choices for your diet to help you feel your best.
As we age, our risk for different conditions goes up. For example, around the time of menopause, there’s a higher likelihood of developing diabetes and osteoporosis. Also, around this time many women start to gain weight and notice more belly fat. However, your diet may help reduce these risks and help you feel great.
We all know that each woman is different and unique, and so are our nutritional needs! Some women need more of one vitamin and some the other. Our women’s health care providers are here to help you optimize your vitamins.
Generally, we recommend getting most of your vitamins and nutrients from food, and then filling in any gaps with supplements. We start by taking a blood test to look at whether you’re getting enough, or even too much, of a particular vitamin. Then, we help you develop a personalized plan to help you start meeting your nutritional needs. We’ll sit down and work with you to develop a healthy, balanced diet plan and also help with any supplements you need.
It’s important to remember that our nutritional needs can change with each stage of life, so nutrition should be an ongoing conversation with our women’s health care professionals. Nutrition after menopause will often be different than nutrition in your 20s and 30s. Therefore, it’s important to keep these changes in mind and talk to us about your diet and nutrition.
One major change that can affect your nutrition is menopause. As estrogen and progesterone go down, and our risk for some health conditions goes up, our bodies may need more or less of different vitamins and nutrients.
If you haven’t had a blood test for vitamin optimization from our women’s health clinic yet, it’s still a good thing to keep these general recommendations in mind:
Around the time of menopause, many women start to gain weight. This can be due to a few different factors. First, with age we start to lose some of our muscle mass. Muscle takes a lot of calories to maintain. So, as we start to lose some of that, our bodies need fewer calories.
Also, estrogen helps our bodies distribute fat. As estrogen levels decline, you may notice more fat around your midsection. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, can be particularly dangerous because it’s associated with health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and other life-threatening conditions.
Therefore, as you enter middle-age, you may need to start eating fewer calories. After 50, you generally need about 200 fewer calories a day on average, even if you’re as active as you were in your younger years. However, it’s important to discuss changes in diet with our women’s health care provider to help you make sure you’re getting the number of calories you need.
Another major concern after menopause is bone loss. In fact, women can lose up to 20% of bone mass within 5-7 years after menopause. This can lead to conditions like osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Calcium is a vitamin that helps keep your bones strong. Your daily needs for calcium go up once you reach 50 years of age. Recommendations for younger women is about 1,000 mg of calcium per day. However, after 50, those recommendations shoot up to about 1,200 mg a day.
Many people get a lot of their calcium from dairy products. For example, one cup of milk has about 300 mg of calcium in it. However, your risk of lactose intolerance may go up around this age as well. While you can get lactose-free, calcium rich dairy products, you can also opt for foods like leafy greens as well as some nuts, fish and seeds.
Our women’s health care professionals can also help you with calcium supplements to fill in any gaps in your calcium intake.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use calcium, so it’s also an important part of your vitamin needs as your risk for bone density issues goes up. After age 51, the average age of menopause, you need about 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day. If you’re 71 or older, you need about 800 IUs.
You can get vitamin D from going outside in the sunlight. However, there may be several reasons why you might be avoiding the sun for health reasons. For example, many medications make your skin more sensitive to light.
There are a few food sources for vitamin D, including egg yolks, fish, and fortified cereals and dairy products. If you’re still struggling with vitamin D deficiency, then our women’s health clinic can help you with supplements to help you get the amount of vitamin D you need each day.
Vitamin B-6 helps you make red blood cells and also helps support your immune system and nervous system. Younger women need about 1.3 mg each day of B-6. However, after 50 you need about 1.5 mg each day. You can find this important vitamin in fish, meat, fruit, legumes, and many different vegetables.
You may also need more protein as you enter menopause. Protein can help with muscle growth, repair, and maintenance. Some health professionals recommend getting about 25-30 grams of protein at each meal to help spread out your protein intake. This is because studies have found that your body may only be able to use a certain amount at a time.
One of the main meals you should look at is breakfast. The average American only gets about 10 grams of protein during breakfast. So, you may want to evaluate how much and when you’re getting your protein.
If you need menopause treatment or help with vitamin optimization, our providers at HerKare are here for you. We offer advanced women’s health care to help you feel your best at each stage of life. We provide state-of-the-art, compassionate care in a warm, welcoming environment. Our team takes time to listen to you and really understand your health status and concerns. Then, we work with you to create a personalized treatment plan to suit your needs. Book an appointment today and let’s talk about your health needs.