During menopause women tend to gain a bit of weight. While this isn’t awesome it is actually pretty common and there are many reasons why.
Two reasons why women gain weight during menopause…
Reduced muscle mass. Muscle mass uses energy (burns calories) so when there is less muscle mass the body burns less energy overall, which in turn leads to weight gain.
Unfortunately, this weight gain might appear as increased belly fat.
There is an increase in the hunger hormone “ghrelin” during menopause. What comes with an increase in this hormone in the tendency to feel hungrier. Not only this but menopause also decreases the “satiety” hormone called “leptin”. It is that helps us feel full after eating which can lead to overeating.
More ghrelin and less leptin = increased hunger and a decreased feeling of fullness…that is not a good combination!
But you are probably thinking, ‘what does all of this have to do with breakfast?’.
Well, eating the right type of breakfast has been shown to help maintain muscle mass, balance levels of ghrelin and leptin, aid weight loss and maintain a lower weight.
So what makes a food “optimal” for breakfast during menopause?
Foods that help to increase metabolic rate, fill you up, and keep you feeling fuller longer.
Let’s have a look at the characteristics of these foods now.
Eating protein is critical for women in menopause so be sure you are getting some protein in the mornings.
Protein helps to slightly increase your metabolism and dish out the amino acids that your muscles need to stay strong. Protein also helps keep you feeling fuller longer which is awesome to try to offset that hunger hormone “ghrelin” mentioned above.
Protein also helps to reduce bone loss that can happen very fast during this time.
Which foods are high in protein?
- Meat and poultry
- Fish and shellfish
- Beans and lentils
- Nuts and seeds (contain more fat than protein but still a great source of amino acids)
Keep reading and check out the delicious breakfast recipe you can try tomorrow morning. It contains eggs which a lot of people say are the “perfect protein”.
Fibre is super important as it helps stabilize your blood sugars to reduce cravings. This is particularly important during menopause because the risk of diabetes and heart disease increases after menopause due to a build up of visceral fat in the abdomen. (Yep, I’m talking about the infamous “heart attack fat”!).
Also, did you know that some fibres you eat actually feed your friendly gut microbes? The same ones that help you digest food and even make nutrients for you?
So, which foods are high in fibre?
Here are just some of the foods you could add to your diet to bump up fibre intake.
- Vegetables (squash, peas, sweet potato, artichokes, collard greens, pumpkin, parsnips, Brussels sprouts etc.)
- Fruit (pears, avocados, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries etc.)
- Nuts (almonds, pistachios, macadamia, hazelnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, walnuts, dried coconut etc.)
- Seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax etc.)
- Gluten-free grains (oat, quinoa, wild rice etc.)
- Beans and lentils
If you already get at least some of you daily fibre from flax your doing your body a great service. Flax not only contains fibre but it is also a fantastic source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. An added bonus is that flax has been shown to help reduce both hot flashes and the risk of breast cancer. Win-win!
The “optimal” foods for breakfast in menopause are the ones that give you good amounts of protein and fibre.
Recipe (Protein and Fibre): Vegetable Egg Muffins
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red pepper (diced)
2 cups baby spinach (chopped)
1 cup mushrooms (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon flax (ground)
Preheat oven to 175 degrees.
Grease or line a 12 serving muffin tin.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add oil and sauté diced pepper until tender (about 5 minutes).
Add mushrooms and garlic to frying pan and cook for an additional minute.
Whisk eggs and flax together in a medium bowl.
Place veggies into prepared muffin tin.
Pour the egg/flax mixture over the veggies.
Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch and eggs are cooked.
Serve & Enjoy!
Tip: Use pastured eggs whenever possible.