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Menopause: 'Crucial' you replace common snack for delicious alternative to lose weight

Daily Express logo Daily Express 08/07/2022 Andrea Blazquez
Menopause weight loss © Getty Menopause weight loss

Kate Llewellyn-Waters is the resident nutritionist on Channel 5 series You Are What You Eat and author of 'The Immunity Cookbook'. The first and most "crucial" tip the nutritionist shared was to "avoid high-sugar ultra-processed snacks".

Kate explained: "Ultra-processed snacks high in sugar cause powerful spikes in blood sugar that can lead to an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain.

"During the perimenopausal period, many women report that they began to crave more of these high-sugar, high-calorie foods like sweets, cakes and chocolate, which can lead to an even greater adverse effect on our hormones.

"Subsequently, with hormonal imbalance, less energy and lower mood, many women report also doing less exercise during this time, which makes it more likely that weight gain will occur. "

She said avoiding these ultra-processed sugary snacks "is crucial" and instead, she recommended replacing them with other delicious alternatives such as "a piece of fruit, oatcakes with peanut or almond butter, or homemade flapjacks where you can control the amount of added sugar going into the recipe".

READ MORE: How to lose weight in time for summer 'without skipping meals'

menopause drink coffee © Getty menopause drink coffee

Secondly, it is also very important women look after their gut during menopause. Why is that?

Kate explained the health of the gut and the balance of the beneficial gut bacteria "can have huge implications on our mood, immune function, blood sugar balance, as well as our weight".

She added: "Also, the gut can be a root cause of hormonal imbalances, especially around the perimenopause, so ensuring a balanced, nutrient-dense diet that promotes optimum gut health is vital for hormonal health and weight management during this period.

"Including foods that are packed with prebiotic fibre, such as apples, banana and cauliflower, as well as fermented foods that are rich in probiotics (live bacteria) such as live natural yoghurt, sauerkraut and soy will keep your gut in tip-top condition," she advised.

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Kate continued: "Since we make hormones from the food that we eat (and hormones are made from fats) we also need to ensure an adequate intake of healthy fats in our diet, such as salmon, sardines, avocado, flaxseeds and olive oil."

Eating leafy greens (such as kale and broccoli) provides people with an important nutrient called I3C that helps detoxification. "So make sure you include leafy greens in your daily diet for optimal detoxification," Kate said

"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, ensure sufficient sleep, and get any suspected food intolerances checked out."

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Calorie burning exercises. © Express Calorie burning exercises.

Kate said it is also essential women cut back on caffeine and alcohol if they want to lose weight fast.

She explained: "It is also a good idea to reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake during the perimenopause (sorry!) as women often find they are more sensitive to stimulants that disrupt sleep cycles or mood during this period, which in turn can impact our nutritional choices and motivation to exercise.

"Additionally, alcohol and caffeine relax the capillaries which encourage hot flushes.

"Also, now would be a very wise time to stop smoking, as research has shown that smoking can increase the risk of early menopause, and doubles the risk of menopause between ages of 44-55 years."

Women should focus on including a variety of essential foods in their daily diet to slim down this summer, including:

Wholegrains

Legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils)

Different-coloured vegetables and fruit (all of which are loaded with nutrients and dietary fibre)

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," the nutritionist explained.

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