As we approach the festive period, you may be worried about what impact this may have on managing your menopause symptoms. In this weeks blog post we are discussing managing menopausal symptoms during the festive period and share our top tips for Christmas.
Hot flushes, acid reflux, sleep disturbances, and weight gain are all common symptoms of menopause. You may be worried about how menopausal symptoms may disturb your Christmas, however, alterations to your diet can be a great way to manage the symptoms of menopause.
Hot flushes can be triggered by several foods and beverages. These include spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol . Therefore, you may want to limit your intake of these products during Christmas.
On the other hand, there is evidence of the consumption of phytoestrogens and a decrease in hot flushes . Phytoestrogens can be found in foods such as brussels sprouts, soya products, chickpeas, cabbage, and sunflower seeds. So, make sure you’re loading up on sprouts for your Christmas dinner!
To learn more about how foods affects hot flushes, read this blog post.
Acid reflux can cause pain and be a big disruption in your day. There are a number of tips for reducing acid reflux such as ensuring that your head is raised when you lie down; losing weight if you are overweight; not wearing clothes that are tight around your waist; not smoking; trying prescribed medication; and finding ways to relax . However, what you eat, and drink may also have an impact on acid reflux symptoms.
Certain foods and drinks can trigger people with acid reflux and make their symptoms worse. Some common trigger foods that have been identified include acidic foods, like citrus fruits and tomatoes, alcohol, chocolate, caffeinated drinks, fatty foods, spicy foods, and mint . If you find that any of these foods trigger you it’s better to avoid them to prevent the worsening of your symptoms.
1 in 3 people suffer from poor sleep, with factors such as stress and technology often identified as the cause of sleepless nights. Being tired around Christmas is something you probably wont want, but there are several nutrients that you can include in your diet to help you sleep:
- Lycopene – found in red and orange-coloured foods.
- Vitamin C – found in citrus fruits, strawberries, peppers, and broccoli.
- Selenium – found in wholegrains, meat, Brazil nuts, and dairy products.
- Magnesium – found in green leafy vegetables, bananas, nuts, and beans.
- Vitamin B6 – found in tuna, salmon, fortified cereals, bananas, and chickpeas.
- Calcium – found in fortified bread and soya drinks, dairy products, and green leafy vegetables.
Additionally, stopping eating around 2 hours before bedtime, and limiting caffeine intake to early on in the day can help to promote good sleep .
Weight gain is something that a lot of people experience during the festive period, however, menopausal women are more susceptible to weight gain . Aiming for a healthy, balanced diet can help to prevent this. As well as including physical activity into your routine, such as walking, aerobics, running, and carrying shopping.
However, it is important to remember to be kind to yourself and enjoy Christmas in moderation.
Top Tips for Menopause at Christmas
- Load up on sprouts and broccoli on your Christmas dinner for a great source of phytoestrogens.
- Try to stop eating around 2 hours before bedtime to prevent sleep disturbances.
- Drink alcohol in moderation to prevent hot flushes.
- Try to wear loose clothing and avoid lying down after eating to prevent acid reflux.
- Enjoy yourself!
Caroline Hill is a specialist menopause dietitian supporting women making dietary change. Caroline uses her extensive knowledge, skills and expertise of food and nutrition to help women manage their symptoms and weight during menopause. Caroline believes in providing sustainable, individualised, evidence-based advice to women making dietary change.