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Your Nutrition Questions Answered: Wellness Tips with a Registered Dietitian

Nutrition gets complicated. In fact, 78% of Kindra customers reported weight fluctuation as their top menopausal concern. We asked our community to submit their top questions about nutrition through menopause, and partnered with Registered Dietitian Amy Shapiro to give you expert tips to fuel your body and feel your best.

Read our exclusive Q&A with Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, Owner of Real Nutrition.

What are the best superfoods to support menopause? 

After you go through menopause your hormone levels change, which can lead to night sweats, weight gain, high cholesterol, and interrupted sleep. Some foods and nutrients that have been shown to help include:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids - These are found in chia seeds, hemp seeds, algae, and walnuts.  Research shows including these ingredients in your diet may decrease occurrence of hot flashes. 

  • Fruits and vegetables - Fruits and vegetables have been shown to decrease the risk for heart disease and occurrence of hot flashes in menopausal women, and can also help with weight loss, thanks to their antioxidants, vitamin, mineral and fiber content. 

  • Phytoestrogens - Foods that naturally contain phytoestrogens help with menopause symptoms including chickpeas, flaxseeds, grapes, berries, plums, green and black tea.  Whole forms of soy have also been shown to help balance estrogen in the body including edamame, tempeh and organic tofu. 

  • Whole grains - They are rich in B vitamins and fiber. B vitamins help with mood and your nervous system and fiber helps to fight cholesterol, maintain weight and improve digestion.

  • Water - Not a food, but very important as it helps to prevent vaginal dryness, keep skin plump and firm, and decrease fatigue and risk for dehydration.

  • Dark leafy greens, almonds and mushrooms - These foods all contain either calcium, magnesium and vitamin D to promote healthy bones and to prevent osteoporosis. 

  • Maca - This herb helps to balance hormones, boost sex drive, improve vaginal dryness and decrease anxiety and depression. 

  • Ginseng - Ginseng may help with sex drive and mood. 

Does being on a vegetarian/vegan diet have any impact on menopause concerns?

As long as you are following a balanced vegetarian diet and getting adequate protein and calcium it could even help menopause concerns.  By eating whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds you get many of the nutrients that help to decrease menopausal symptoms.  Keep in mind, vegetarian diets are not always healthy so keep it unprocessed and whole food focused for optimal results.  If you enjoy eggs and fish, those are great proteins to add, and tofu, tempeh, beans/legumes have shown to be very powerful in decreasing symptoms.

How do I shed the extra menopause weight?   

After women go through menopause, energy needs are different and our bodies become more sensitive to certain hormone shifts.  I recommend eating mostly whole foods, limiting your carbohydrate intake to whole grains/complex carbs, and watching your sugar consumption.  This is usually a culprit for many women over the age of 50.  It is important to watch the portion of carbohydrates you consume and the quality.   Enjoy enough protein and veggies at most meals to keep your blood sugar balanced and consider implementing an intermittent fasting window 14 - 16 hours is ideal.  Exercise is also important in order to maintain muscle mass, bone health and weight management. 

Tips for busy moms who need to feed a family?  

Have your meal plan scheduled for the week.  Know what you’ll be cooking so you have the ingredients on hand and can put something together quickly if needed.  Consider yourself in this equation if you are not eating the exact meal as your family.  Make an extra veggie or a salad to add to your meal.  Do not snack while cooking or preparing foods and definitely do not eat off your kids plates!

Fill your fridge and freezer with foods that are ready to eat and full of nutrition, including whole grain breads, avocado, fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds.

Don’t forget to feed yourself!  Oftentimes we forget to nourish ourselves and then we get too hungry which can lead to worse symptoms and consumption of foods we don’t want to eat or reaching for another coffee.  Be prepared, it’s half the battle!

What foods can I take to the office on a busy day?  

Make leftovers from the night before, make a quick sandwich or wrap, make a salad and of course have your “healthy snack drawer” prepped in your desk so you don’t reach for junky office snacks.  I love nuts, rice cakes with nut butter, and energy bars!

What are the best foods to bust my menopause belly? 

No one food will get rid of your belly.  First we need to focus on decreasing the amount of processed foods and carbohydrates you are eating.  Then increasing your fruit, vegetables, lean protein and heart healthy fat consumption.  Crowd out the bad foods with lots of better for you foods!  Limit your sugar to no more than 25g/day.  

Eat more fruits and vegetables, lean protein (salmon, eggs, chicken, etc) and healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds all help!

Are there any foods that help with brain fog/focus?

Cutting out foods that are high in sugar, gluten and chemicals will help first. 

Eating balanced meals that contain complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats will prevent low blood sugar.

Drinking enough water will help with energy and focus, and green tea or matcha will allow for a boost of energy without the crash afterwards. 

What kinds of foods help support an exercise routine - muscle building and aerobic exercise?

Complex carbohydrates like beans, grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and veggies promote energy that your body can use during your workout.  

Lean proteins from chicken, salmon, eggs, tofu, legumes, and seeds help to build muscle and maintain mass. 

Water and clean electrolyte drinks will help you to replenish any sweat/salt you lose. 

What foods to avoid hot flashes?  

Research shows removing caffeine, alcohol, sugar and spicy foods may help to decrease hot flashes.

Whole forms of soy have been shown to help hot flashes including tofu, edamame and tempeh.

How much water should I really be drinking? 

I recommend anywhere from 80-100 oz/day.  Herbal tea, seltzer, and sparkling water count too!  

What foods will help my metabolism which is slowing down?

Lean protein is important as it helps to repair and build muscle mass. It also requires more energy to burn so your body uses more energy in digesting protein.  I recommend Greek yogurt, fresh fish, chicken, turkey, tofu, tempeh, lean grass fed beef, bison and beans.  

Adding protein to every meal will help your metabolism to remain high and will prevent you from getting too hungry. Make sure to pair it with fiber (veggies) and healthy fats!

Green tea has been shown to help boost metabolism.

Eating enough food and calories also helps.  When we feel like our metabolism is slowing down we tend to eat less.  Eating too little can decrease your metabolism and make a bad situation worse. 

Make sure to include resistance training exercises like yoga, pilates or weight training into your diet so you can build and maintain muscle mass which ultimately is what keeps your metabolism going.

Stay active and drink water!  

Want to reset your nutrition? Follow this 3-day program created by a Registered Dietitian that’s full of nutritious foods and simple recipes that even the busiest of us can follow to jumpstart healthy habits.

Our Kindra 3-Day Reset

3-Day Reset

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Continue the Conversation

This was helpful and timely- yet another reason to love the Sunday paper. Thank you, God, for Maria and all her amazing friends.

— Michelle Bovy

You talk about eating enough food because too little could also slow down your metabolism. Do you have guidance on finding the right number of calories per day?

— Leslie

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