A well balanced diet is important for every individual to manintain good health.But it does happen that a particular stage in life, needs some extra care so as to prevent health problems later. One such stage especially in woman is menopause.
Certain nurients play a very vital role during menopause and their absence or decreased levels in the body can cause some ill effects. Such nutrients include CALCIUM, MAGNESIUM, VITAMIN E, VITAMIN D and PHYTOESTROGENS.
CALCIUM: A healthy premenopausal woman should have about 1,000 mgs of calcium per day. A balanced amount of calcium in the body prevents the development of osteoporosis. Foods high in calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products; oysters, sardines and canned salmon with bones; and dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli.
MAGNESIUM: Helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Besides this magnesium along with calcium work hand in hand together to maintain bone density which helps to prevent osteoporosis. It is found in wholegrains, milk and milk products, tofu, nuts seeds and legumes, green leafy vegetables like spinach.
VITAMIN D: Vitamin D is also very important for calcium absorption and bone formation. A 1992 study showed that women with postmenopausal osteoporosis who took vitamin D for 3 years significantly reduced the occurrence of new spinal fractures. This absorption process is done by the skin when it is exposed to sun. The dietary sources of this vitamin include fortified milk and margarine, eggs and fish oils. High doses of vitamin D can cause kidney stones, constipation, or abdominal pain, particularly in women with existing kidney problems.
VITAMIN E: Considered useful in alleviating hotflushes and thought to offer some heart protection. Although some foods, such as nuts and seeds, egg yolk and wheat germ contain Vitamin E, one need to take a supplement to get the therapeutic dose(400IU twice daily).
PHYTOESTROGENS: These are a group of compounds found in plants, structurally and functionally similar to steroidal estrogens produced by the body. They play a similar role like that of estrogen in the body especially when the is deficiency of this particular hormone. This helps to allevaite the menopausal symptoms and also helps in absorption of calcium in the body. It also protects against heart disease which is very common in women afer menopause. Foods rich in phytoestrogens include soy foods, flaxseeds, chickpeas and other legumes.
NOTE:The above advice should be followed under strict medical supervision.