Menopausal meal plan
Women know the menopause is coming, but that doesn't make it any less worrying. It happens when the body's sex hormones shift in balance, with oestrogen levels dropping and ovulation coming to an end.
This also leads to side effects such as losing libido and putting on weight. But it doesn't have to be as scary as it sounds. Raising oestrogen levels can help ladies keep the pounds off as well as maintaining a more youthful appearance, so it can help to incorporate certain foods into your diet.
A previous study funded by the National Institutes of Health in 2010 found Japanese women, whose diets are rich in phytoestrogens (plant substances alike to oestrogen), suffered less menopausal symptoms than females in the Western world. Here's some recommendations on what women can tuck into to help ease the change, as detailed in Dr Caroline Apovian's new book The Age-Defying Diet:
There's no need for menopausal ladies to cut out the finer things in life, and steak is one of them. With so much iron in lean red meat, it aids muscle building after working out and will help keep things trim alongside a regular exercise session. Lean beef is also packed full of B vitamins, which are known to ease any anxieties or stress felt. B vitamins are also found in whole grains so a steak with brown rice is an ideal meal.
It's a bit of an acquired taste, but it's packed full of protein so ladies can really up the strength of their bones by eating it every now and then. It lowers cholesterol too and thanks to the soya beans which make tofu, it also lowers hot flush levels - which are another side effect of the menopause. Plant chemicals called isoflavones are found it soya beans and these are extremely similar in structure to oestrogen.
Sweet treats make the list too as this fruit boosts oestrogen levels as well as being a low calorie option. It has twice as much vitamin C in it than an orange as well so will help keep the complexion fresh.
Leafy green veg
Osteoporosis (weak bones) is more likely to occur when people are older as repairs are slower with age. Loss of bone mass takes place when menstrual periods are absent, so eating plenty of kale, cabbage and spinach can really help increase the strength of bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.