If you are trying to lose weight, and at menopause that is more of us than not, then going back to a simpler diet containing good, natural and filling ingredients is a great start. Convenience foods such as frozen, prepared, and ‘ready’ meals can save us time and effort but they are not the best way to healthily lose weight.
Add these to your shopping list
If your shopping basket is not as healthy as it could be then here are some suggestions to improve health and stimulate weight loss.
1 – Kale. This dark green, leafy vegetable provides fibre, iron and calcium. It is low calorie but can be bitter so good to add to a healthy smoothie.
2 – Lentils. High in protein, lentils can help prevent spikes in insulin levels that can cause your body to store excess fat. They are a great and very cheap addition to add to soups or for a meat-free cottage pie.
3 – Blueberries. A good source of antioxidants, blueberries are surprisingly high in fibre so they will help you feel full and keep keep your digestive system running smoothly.
4 – Wild salmon and sardines. Both these fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and so can help improve insulin sensitivity, which helps build muscle. You may not think that would help, but the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns.
5 – Oats. Another great source of fibre and low in calories – provided you don’t make your porridge with cream and lots of sugar.
6 – Quinoa. If you normally use rice as a staple carbohydrate then try switching to nutty tasting quinoa. Again plenty of fibre and protein make it a healthy choice.
7 – Apples. If you have metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by excess belly fat, then apples are a very efficient low calorie way to curb hunger. Because they contain antioxidants they may help prevent metabolic syndrome.
8 – Buckwheat pasta. If you tend to go for white rice and white flour pasta a very healthy switch is to use buckwheat instead as its high fibre and protein content makes you feel fuller for longer. As an alternative to spaghetti try soba noodles and don’t overcook pasta as this increases its glycaemic index.
9 – Olive oil and avocados. You probably already have cut down, or out, the unhealthy trans fats so keep up the levels of the heart healthy monounsaturated fats. A key to weight loss is maintaining good, steady, insulin levels and so increasing your intake of healthy fats can help you feel fuller and steady insulin levels .
As the hormone levels drop at menopause women do naturally tend to put on weight as the ovaries slow down and so oestrogen production shifts into the fat cells of the stomach, abdomen and thighs. If your oestrogen levels are higher than progesterone, which is what commonly occurs, then you need to add in some progesterone to tackle oestrogen dominance and restore hormone balance to normal.