Kate Llewellyn-Waters is the resident nutritionist for the Channel 5 series You Are What You Eat and the author of ‘The Immunity Cookbook’. The first and most ‘crucial’ advice shared by the nutritionist was to ‘avoid ultra-processed snacks with high sugar content’.
Kate explained: “Ultra-processed high-sugar snacks cause powerful spikes in blood sugar which can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and weight gain.
“During the perimenopause period, many women report that they have started to crave more of these high-sugar, high-calorie foods like sweets, cakes, and chocolate, which can have an even greater detrimental effect. on our hormones.
“Subsequently, with hormonal imbalance, less energy and lower mood, many women also report exercising less during this time, making weight gain more likely.”
She said it was crucial to avoid these ultra-processed sugary snacks and instead recommended replacing them with other delicious alternatives such as a “piece of fruit, oatmeal cakes with peanut butter or almond, or homemade pancakes where you can control how much added sugar goes into the recipe”.
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Second, it is also very important for women to take care of their gut during menopause. Why is that?
Kate explained that gut health and the balance of beneficial gut bacteria “can have huge implications for our mood, immune function, blood sugar balance as well as our weight.”
She added: “In addition, the gut can be the source of hormonal imbalances, particularly around perimenopause, so ensuring a balanced, nutrient-dense diet that supports optimal gut health is essential for hormonal health and weight management during this time.
“Including foods high in prebiotic fiber, such as apples, bananas and cauliflower, as well as fermented foods high in probiotics (live bacteria) such as live natural yogurt, sauerkraut and soy, will keep your gut healthy. in pristine condition,” she advised.
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Kate continued: “Since we make hormones from the foods we eat (and hormones are made from fat), we also need to ensure adequate intake of healthy fats in our diets, such as salmon, sardines , avocado, flax seeds and olive oil.”
Eating leafy green vegetables (like kale and broccoli) provides people with an important nutrient called I3C that helps with detoxification. “So be sure to include leafy greens in your daily diet for optimal detoxification,” Kate says.
“Excess alcohol, undiagnosed food intolerances, stress and lack of sleep can all cause inflammation in the gut, which has a significant and negative effect on hormonal health, as well as our weight. “
The nutritionist advised: “Avoid chronic stress as much as possible, make sure you get enough sleep and get any suspected food intolerances checked.”
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Kate said it’s also essential for women to reduce their caffeine and alcohol intake if they want to lose weight fast.
She explained, “It’s also a good idea to reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake during perimenopause (sorry!) as women often find they are more sensitive to stimulants that disrupt sleep cycles or sleep cycles. mood during this time, which can impact our nutritional choices and motivation to exercise.
“In addition, alcohol and caffeine relax the capillaries which promote hot flashes.
“Also, now would be a very wise time to quit smoking, as research has shown that smoking can increase the risk of early menopause and double the risk of menopause between the ages of 44 and 55.”
Women should focus on including a variety of essential foods in their daily diet to slim down this summer, including:
Legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils)
Different colored vegetables and fruits (all loaded with nutrients and dietary fiber)
Good quality protein sources (eggs, salmon, sardines)
Healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, seeds)
All of these will “reduce the risk of weight gain, hormonal imbalance and also developing chronic diseases during this important time.”
“With good nutrition and adequate daily exercise, many women find that they can manage the premenopausal period much easier than they think,” explained the nutritionist.