How to support Menopause with Low Glycemic eating
Is your transition into menopause making you feel conflicted? Perhaps you’re dealing with symptoms that have turned your life upside down...
Menopause is an inevitable part of life for women, but it’s also a natural process that requires a natural solution.
In this blog post, Well + Easy will explore menopause and its symptoms, and explain how a low glycemic diet can help so you can start this new phase of your life with ease.
What is Menopause
Menopause is a natural part of the aging process for women where reproductive hormones decline around the ages of 45 to 55.
Defined as a time after twelve months from a woman’s last menstrual cycle, menopause comes with symptoms that may be burdensome and uncomfortable. These include:
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Trouble sleeping
How one treats their menopausal symptoms is a deeply personal one. While you can manage menopause with hormone therapies and low-dose antidepressants, a more natural approach is to follow a low GI diet.
Let’s consider the research.
Low GI research
The transition into menopause creates problematic symptoms for women that can be disruptive to everyday life such as insomnia and hot flashes.
According to the National Institutes of Health, as one gets closer to menopause, the likelihood of insomnia developing increases. Sleep disturbance varies from:
- 16% to 42% before menopause
- 39% to 47% during perimenopause
- 35% to 60% after menopause
While there isn’t a definitive answer for this connection, research suggests that foods high on the glycemic index scale may contribute to insomnia as the rise and fall of blood sugar levels can cause one to awaken from sleep.
For example, the diets of 50,000 postmenopausal women were examined and their risk of developing insomnia was then assessed after following up three years later.
The findings revealed that the women whose diets were high in sugar and refined carbs had a greater risk of developing insomnia, while the women who ate whole foods such as fruits and vegetables had a much lower risk.
Hot flashes are experienced by approximately 80% of menopausal women in the United States, making it a significant concern.
Research suggests that:
- maintaining blood sugar levels may be effective at starving off hot flashes as they’re brought on by the fall of blood sugar levels between meals
- eating provides a 90-minute period free of hot flashes, indicating that diet is a potential treatment option
To reduce the frequency of hot flashes and get your life back to a semblance of normal, Well + Easy suggests following a low GI diet for menopause management.
Low GI diet for Menopause
To ease symptoms and adjust to postmenopausal life, women should eat low GI foods as much as possible.
Think of complex carbohydrates as they are slow to break down, keep you full longer, stabilize your blood sugar levels, and maintain your weight.
This includes but is not limited to:
- Non-starchy vegetables such as cauliflower, spinach, and sweet potatoes
- Fruits such as berries, grapefruit, and apples
- Whole grains such as steel-cut oats, millet, and quinoa
- Lean Proteins such as eggs, salmon, and turkey
- Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, and nuts
Foods to avoid
Avoid foods high on the glycemic index scale (or consume in moderation). Think of refined carbohydrates or “empty calorie” foods. Examples include:
- White bread, rice, pasta; pastries, and potatoes
- Sugary beverages
- Fried foods such as fast food
For more information on how to follow a low GI diet for menopause, check out Well + Easy’s comprehensive low GI guide and library of recipes.
- Avoid going to sleep with a full stomach. Large meals should be eaten three to four hours before bed.
- If you’re a midnight snacker, that’s ok! But it’s best to avoid foods that are processed and high in sugar.
To satisfy your craving, opt for plant-based snacks such as a handful of nuts and berries; celery with peanut butter; or carrots and hummus.
- Add exercise into your routine. Even if you’re not a fitness fanatic, moving your body a little each day will have a big impact on your weight which will, in turn, manage your menopausal symptoms.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day by either cycling, walking, or swimming.