Menopause icon in pink color. Symbol of menopause period. Medical, healthcare and feminine concept. Vector illustration in flat style

If you’re in menopause or you’re about to go through it, you may notice your body has changed.  There may be a little extra “pudge” in your belly that simply won’t budge despite your best efforts.

While this is frustrating, it’s comforting to know other women are going through the same thing.

Practically all women gain some weight during the menopause transition.  The good news is, though it’s not easy as it used to be, you can take control of your body through a healthy diet and exercise program.  It just takes commitment!

But it’s important to keep in mind extra pounds isn’t all you have to worry about during menopause.  There may be other health issues you need to address such as heart disease and osteoporosis. But you don’t have to worry that you’re doomed to be on prescription meds your whole life.   Including the right kind of foods in your diet can not only keep your insulin levels under control and thus your weight, your heart and bones will stay healthy as well.  Here are a few essential foods for every women approaching or transitioning through menopause.

5 Foods for Menopause

Fish rich in omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your risk of developing heart disease.  The American Heart Association recommends eating fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, and albacore tuna a minimum of two times each week for additional heart protection.

Low-fat dairy.  If you consume dairy products, you’ll be pleased to know studies show some dairy foods can keep weight gain at bay or even help you shed a few pounds.  Just make sure you choose skim milk and other low-fat products such as yogurt.  In addition to weight control benefits, the extra calcium and vitamin D in low-fat dairy is great for your bones.

Fruits and vegetables.  Every “diet” worth its salt recommends including more fruits and vegetables.  Not only are they low in fat they’re loaded with vital nutrients and antioxidants that do wonders for your health.  Some fruits and vegetables contain potassium, which can aid in blood pressure control.

Whole grains. The American Heart Association recommends plenty of high-fiber foods to decrease your risk of developing heart disease.  This includes whole grains such as whole wheat breads, brown rice, and whole grain cereals.  When it comes to cereals, make sure you check the label carefully.  While they may contain whole grains, they’re also often packed with sugar and that’s exactly what you don’t want.  Oatmeal is probably the healthiest choice if you want a cereal for breakfast.

Nuts.  The possibility of developing diabetes increases with age, so as you transition through menopause a healthy diet becomes critical to keep you blood glucose levels where they should be.  One study shows that adding nuts to your diet may reduce your risk for diabetes.  But go easy with them.  Many contain too much fat so snacking on them all day will defeat your weight loss goals.  Try having a few with your meals – sprinkle walnuts or almonds on your oatmeal or rice dish.

Though menopause means a significant change in a woman’s body, it doesn’t mean you have to just stand by and accept an extra 10 to 15 pounds.  The above five simple changes in your diet will make a difference.  Then you can approach the change with a shape you can be proud of and a body that’s possibly healthier than ever before.