Tuesday, May 9, 2017

How to Beat Menopause Food Cravings?

One of the less obvious symptom of menopause – food craving – is usually closely linked to the weight gain – more obvious menopause symptom, and the one, many women really hate.

In most cases, the food cravings unconsciously target sweets or salty foods, but may also include sour or pungent foods.

Food Cravings at Menopause

Food cravings is a well-known part of a premenstrual syndrome. There are also other symptoms like fatigue, headaches, mood swings, irritability, etc., which become annoying well-being issues at the transition period to menopause and at the menopause life stage. Based on the experts’ assessment, they might indicate the potential issues with hormonal imbalance the body, one of the main reasons for most, if not all menopausal symptoms. One of the latest researches confirms that hormonal imbalance affects 74% of women.

Hunger hormones

Hormones can affect appetite. During menopause, most of the women are facing hormonal imbalance and thus can also have problems to control appetite. Certain hormones also have relation to gut and its coordination with the brain to regulate weight. This indicates another problem when the ability to control the appetite is lost. During menopause, there are also hormones which are directly linked to the weight loss as their task is to regulate metabolism.

Major weight control hormones


Brain chemicals like serotonin fluctuate at the period of change. Diminished levels of serotonin may intensify food cravings, especially for carbohydrates and high-glycemic foods+ like baked potatoes, white bread & rice, pasta, raisins, pineapple. Low-glycemic foods include black beans, lentils, green veggies, peaches, strawberries, cottage cheese, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, multi-grain breads.


This hormone “determines whether blood sugar gets used right away for immediate energy, or is alternatively stored as fat.” An additional help to control insulin level would be to add to diet more balanced choices of carbohydrates, fiber, fat, and protein.


Thyroid imbalance can cause problems with the regulation of metabolism. With age, thyroid levels drop. Also, if the metabolism is slower, there is an additional pressure from how much you eat and weight gain also often occurs.

 Stress hormones

It is a known that when people are stressed, they feel the need to eat more, especially sweets. This might occur even without the person noticing himself. Anxiety, stress and cortisol production lead to intense cravings and binge eating. This issue might also lead to other diets to fail.

Sex hormones

Some researches proved that balanced level of estrogen can help to regulate hunger. With women in menopause, estrogen level tends to drop thus also the sensation of being “full” becomes looser. The same effect is when there is an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone level as it can also trigger food cravings.

What to Do?

There might be different treatment options to help to deal with food cravings. One of the first ones to start with is eating healthy that can help to naturally balance estrogen and low progesterone levels with herbs, B vitamins, food rich in fiber, low in animal fats, avoiding chemicals. Food cravings might also become stronger because of bad blood sugar control, deficiency of magnesium and essential fats. They need additional supplementation and also additional protein in a lot of cases is a good thing.

Some solutions to minimize food cravings
ü  Reducing stress levels
ü  Regular exercising
ü  Appropriate diet
ü  Supplementation
ü  Reduced alcohol intake
ü  Liver detoxification

It is possible to determine if the hormones are out of balance by simple tests. Appropriate changes in diet can immensely help. A good solution might be natural progesterone cream. Some of the hormone-friendly diets might include consumption of fresh and high-variety of vegetables on daily basis, beans, lentils, quinoa, tofu and other soy products, ground seeds or seed oils daily, brown rice, oats, lye, corn, herb teas, a lot of water (at least 6 glasses or based on weight), whole grains (brown rice, oats, lye, corn), no excess fat or fried or browned food and hydrogenated fat, organic food, avoiding sugar, minimization of coffee, tea and alcohol, additional multivitamin and mineral supplement.

Trying to balance food cravings might be essential to lower the menopause severity. Hormone-friendly diet is one of the solutions that needs special attention. Some hormones might even send hunger signals. Thus it is not only about genetics, willpower, and a tendency of eating. The problem needs the right addressing especially in a menopausal time as the body can have various other symptoms that mainly affect the overall life quality.

Fight Sweet Craving

Sweet Cravings are most common and most dangerous for your weight and shape maintenance efforts.

Here are some targeting recommendations from nutrition experts:

1. Eat on a regular basis and don't skip meals. Skipping meals can cause your blood glucose to drop significantly, which can lead to unhealthy snacking on sugary foods. Eating a healthy meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours can help keep you from feeling hungry and avoid sugary temptation.

2. Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes five days a week. Exercise provides many benefits, especially post-menopause, when weight gain and bone density can become more of a concern. The American Dietetic Association explains that you don't have to go to a gym or jog to get exercise. Everyday activities such as walking, gardening and vacuuming the house can also be counted as physical activity. Exercise also helps to control sugar cravings by stabilizing blood glucose levels and improving your mood.

3. Get rid of highly processed sugar-laden desserts and snacks in your home and replace them with fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Getting rid of tempting foods that are full of sugar and deficient in fiber can help you avoid giving in to your cravings. This strategy provides an alternative to sweets when you're hungry. Fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain dietary fiber that slows your digestion so you can avoid blood glucose fluctuations and ravenous hunger -- precursors to binging on junk food.

4. Eat plenty of vegetables. The fiber in them is a hormone savior, protecting us from ageing by reducing the blood-sugar peaks and troughs that send insulin levels crazy. Because it is indigestible, fiber prevents other foods being rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream so slows their transformation into blood-sugar. Fiber also reduces inflammation - the harbinger of ageing. Eat as much fiber as you can as often as possible and ensure vegetables make their way into every meal.

5. Pack in the protein: it is critical to the production of hormones and the maintenance of a happy hormone balance. It also helps us build muscles and stay strong - and youthful - as we age. Chicken, fish, beans, nuts, seeds and tofu are all good sources of protein - but keep meat and dairy foods such as cheese to once a week.

6. Drink water instead of soft drinks or juices that contain sugar. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sugar-sweetened beverages constitute the largest source of sugar added to the American diet. Drinking these beverages feeds your body's taste for sugar, increasing cravings that cause you to drink even more of them. Make water your primary beverages and be sure to drink at least 64 oz. daily to prevent dehydration.

7. Stick to one cup of caffeinated coffee a day, or switch to tea (just note that some teas have higher amount of the caffeine than the coffee has). Quite apart from its stimulatory effects on the nervous system and hormones in women, caffeine also increases breast tenderness and has been linked to osteoporosis.

8. Eat sugar-free versions of your favorite desserts or snacks when the urge for sugar is unavoidable. Completely depriving yourself of something you crave usually doesn't work as a long-term strategy. The middle ground, or compromise, is possible by enjoying a sweet treat that won't elicit cravings for the real thing. Use sugar-free foods in moderation, however, since some sugar-free eats contain unhealthy fat to improve flavor.

9. Make your evening meal small so you can digest it easily, and eat before 8.30pm. This will help you get a full night's restful sleep (essential for the healthy manufacture and balance of hormones).

Mindful Eating

Yes we all know that the food cravings can be very challenging. The key to breaking our tie with certain foods is to practice mindful eating, which is also an important step in deconstructing the emotional eating issue.

It is all too common for us to eat subconsciously — in the car, while watching television, or working at our desks. Becoming mindful or aware of our habits and food choices is important not only in terms of eliminating cravings, but also in improving digestive function.

Once you take steps to improve your digestive health, you will notice that your immune function, energy levels, and emotional wellbeing all benefit as well.

Being in a relaxed eating environment, taking notice of how many times you chew your food before swallowing, and taking time between mouthfuls (put your utensils down as you chew) are all great habits to help change and eliminate unhealthy behaviors.

Bread, crisps, crackers, sweets, cakes, and biscuits are common items to crave simply because they are quick and easy to grab and eat.

The magic combination of fat, salt, and sugar can trigger addictions to certain foods. Take the time to stop and appreciate just how amazing and resilient your body is.

Sources and Additional Information:

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