Menopause is a biological process where women stop getting their menstrual cycles and experience a natural decline in reproductive hormones. This change often happens between ages 45 and 55. They also can experience other symptoms such as hot flashes, weight gain, mood changes, and insomnia.
Adjusting your diet under the guidance of a healthcare professional is a simple but effective strategy that may help balance your hormone levels and alleviate some of the symptoms. In today’s article, we want to show you how the ketogenic diet is an excellent ally in menopause.
Benefits of keto for menopause
A very low-carb diet (such as a keto diet) for menopause can help ease the effects of hormonal changes in women. They can find that they have a better mood, mental clarity, weight loss, and stable energy throughout the day. In contrast, a sugar-rich and carbohydrate-rich diet can worsen menopause symptoms, since it can produce high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, which are associated with hot flashes and night sweats.
Let’s have a look at some of the potential benefits that the keto diet could have during menopause.
1- Weight management
Menopause often brings hormonal changes that can lead to weight gain, particularly around the abdominal area. This is because of the decline of estrogen levels, the aging process, and the loss of muscle mass. The keto diet promotes weight loss by inducing a metabolic state called ketosis, where the body burns fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. By reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing healthy fats, the keto diet may help manage weight gain and improve body composition.
2- Hormone regulation
Hormonal imbalances are common during menopause, and these imbalances can cause symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Some evidence suggests that the keto diet may help regulate hormone levels, particularly insulin, and leptin, which are involved in metabolic processes and appetite control. By maintaining stable blood sugar levels, the keto diet could potentially alleviate some of these symptoms.
3- Improved energy levels
Many women experience fatigue and a decline in energy levels during menopause. The keto diet is known to stabilize blood sugar levels and provide a consistent source of energy by utilizing fat stores. By reducing reliance on carbohydrates, which can cause energy fluctuations, the keto diet may promote sustained energy levels throughout the day.
4- Reduced inflammation
Menopause is associated with increased inflammation in the body, which can contribute to various health issues. The keto diet has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects in some studies. By emphasizing whole foods and healthy fats, while limiting processed and sugary foods, the keto diet may help reduce inflammation and its associated symptoms.
5- Brain Health
Cognitive changes, such as brain fog and memory problems, are common during menopause. The keto diet has been studied for its potential benefits in brain health, including improved cognitive function and protection against neurodegenerative diseases. By providing an alternative fuel source for the brain (ketones), the keto diet may support brain health and potentially alleviate some cognitive symptoms associated with menopause.
6- Fewer cravings
As we’ve mentioned, with a keto diet you have better control of your hormones. Changing hormone levels during menopause can cause lower quality of sleep and fatigue, which can lead to craving hyper-palatable foods that are usually highly processed, and high in refined carbs and added sugar.
The ketogenic diet helps eliminate cravings since it keeps your blood glucose within optimal levels and stable. If your blood sugar is constantly fluctuating, as a consequence, your food cravings will increase. Also, keto helps suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin and it keeps you full for longer, so you have fewer cravings.
It's important to note that individual responses to the keto diet can vary, and there may be potential drawbacks or considerations to keep in mind. Before starting any dietary changes, especially during this period, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific health needs and goals.
How to go keto during menopause
If it’s done correctly, the ketogenic diet can be a great ally, not only in menopause but in general. However, you have to be committed and always go for the healthiest choice. Some people say that keto has a “side effect”, and that it can increase the risk of heart disease. However, this is because they’re following what we call the “dirty keto”. Dirty keto is a version of keto in which you can eat whatever you like, as long as it fits your macros. Most people who follow this version of keto do not pay attention to the quality and nutritional value of the foods they eat. This means that they eat fast food and a lot of other highly processed foods containing preservatives, trans fats, additives, and even diet sodas. And these can cause all of the side effects. However, if you follow a clean keto diet, you’ll only get the benefits of it, with no nasty parts.
If you were wondering how to go keto during menopause, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We want to share some tips and tricks to ease your way into a keto lifestyle and forget about all the menopause struggles.
1- Slowly cut out carbohydrates
It may be a good idea to gradually reduce your carb intake instead of going all in. You can start by just avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages and foods like soda, fruit juice, etc. Also, if you are a snack person, try to choose homemade low-carb snacks. Try to prioritize animal foods, they provide you with protein and healthy fats and this will keep you full for longer.
2- Focus on healthy fats
Healthy fats play an important role for women during menopause. Try to add more omega-3 fatty acids to your daily nutrition. They will help you reduce cardiovascular disease risk by reducing triglycerides and increasing HDL cholesterol.
3- Daily movement
By now we all know how good daily exercise is to us. By working out daily you’ll be promoting weight loss and preserving muscle mass. Protecting your lean muscle as you age not only helps you increase your metabolic rate, but also improves cognitive function.
4- Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting has plenty of benefits in general, but especially for women. The main benefits are weight loss, anti-aging (due to autophagy), decreased inflammation, and mental clarity. When combined with a keto lifestyle, the benefits are greater.
However, it’s recommended to ease your way into intermittent fasting by starting with a short fast, and increasing it once your body is used to it. Fasting is generally safe, although you should consult a doctor beforehand.
5- Practice stress reduction techniques
It’s important to incorporate stress relief strategies into your life, at any age. Depending on the individual these techniques will change. Some helpful ideas include meditating daily, journaling daily, creating a relaxing morning and nighttime routine, spending more time in nature, spending time alone, etc. Each individual needs to find their own way to recharge their soul.
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