Jane is in early perimenopause and she is overweight. She has complained of severe hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep problems.
I explained to Jane that the cause of these symptoms, in perimenopause, is fluctuating hormone levels …. particularly estrogen and progesterone. They surge and recede during perimenopause. Sometimes they are higher than usual and sometimes they are lower. The ratios between them are also changing.
I also explained to her that there are other hormones in her body that come into play, as well. The levels of these other hormones affect the levels of estrogen and progesterone in her body. The levels of these other hormones are, in turn, affected by how often she eats.
My Menopause Symptoms Can Reduce If I Eat More Often?
As your menopause symptoms become more severe and more frequent when your hormones change, in terms of their levels and their ratios to one another, it is important to understand that how you eat plays a significant role in this. Here is an excerpt from an article that will help you to understand this
Insulin may be one of the most well-known hormones affected by your diet. When you eat carbohydrates, the glucose from these carbohydrates travels into your bloodstream, triggering your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin attaches to the glucose molecules and carries them to your cells, where they are used for energy.
Glucagon is another pancreatic hormone with the opposite effect of insulin. When a woman goes without eating for an extended period of time, the pancreas releases glucagon, which signals the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose. The sugar is then secreted into the bloodstream, where it serves as an energy source until the body receives more food. This physiological feedback system is designed to keep blood sugar levels steady.
Insulin resistance is a condition in which the pancreas produces insulin normally, but the muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond to it properly. To compensate for this, the pancreas produces more insulin in an effort to help glucose travel into the cells. When a woman goes through menopause, the body changes from gynoid, or pear-shaped, to android, or apple-shaped. The accumulation of abdominal fat is believed to have an important role in the development of insulin resistance.
So how can your menopause symptoms reduce if you eat more often?
When you go without eating for an extended period of time, your blood sugar (glucose) level falls to a low level. When this happens insulin kicks into action. A large amount of it is produced by your body.
When you next eat, your body coverts the food into blood sugar and the insulin helps your body to absorb it for the energy that you need…..but the body only takes the amount of blood sugar that it needs. The excess insulin causes your body to store the remaining blood sugar as fat on your body.
This is how you get fat. If you allow your blood sugar to go low, your body will produce excess insulin, which causes you to store fat.
When you are overweight, the excess fat on your body produces estrogen, which distorts the hormone balance even further and worsens your menopause symptoms.
You can regulate your blood sugar (prevent it from going low) by eating something every 2 – 3 hours. “Little and often” means eating a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and supper (eating small to moderate portions) and eating something between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and supper, and maybe something 2 – 3 hours after supper. That something can be fruit or nuts or some other nutritious snack.
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