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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > March 2016 > The Menopause-Friendly Diet

The Menopause-Friendly Diet

It may be natural, but this stage in every woman’s life can be at best trying, at worst debilitating. We look at how diet and lifestyle changes can help with symptoms and your future health

HOT FLUSHES, night sweats, sleep disturbances and mood swings? Welcome to the menopause. HFG expert and GP Dawn Harper says these are among the most common complaints she hears from women of a certain age visiting her surgery.

A recent survey confirms Dawn’s day-to-day observations. The most common symptoms among women experiencing menopausal problems are hot flushes (40%), night sweats(17%), insomnia (16%), vaginal dryness (13%), mood disorders (12%) and weight gain (12%). Symptoms last, on average, two years, but for some they can last for over five. They also vary from woman to woman in type and extent, severely affecting quality of life for some.

WHEN DOES IT HAPPEN?

THE AVERAGE AGE at which most women find their periods come to an end is 51, but it may be any time between 40 and 58. ‘Early menopause tends to happen to smokers and to women whose mothers went through an early menopause, but I’m afraid we have no way of predicting how severe or prolonged the symptoms will be,’ says Dawn. ‘Plus, of course, how well we cope with those symptoms also depends on our personality, the pressures we’re under and our support network.’

Women vary hugely in how they experience the menopause. ‘About 80% of women experience some symptoms due to the significant fall in oestrogen levels, but that means one in five lucky ladies simply stop their periods and know no more about it!’ says Dawn.

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About Healthy Food Guide

This month our experts advise on looking after your gut health, the foods that can ease menopause symptoms, and whether the low fat diet is still relevant. Plus, we share the latest research on coconut oil, tasty lower sugar bakes and innovative ways to use up your leftover roast
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