Heart Health and Menopause
Cardiovascular disease is more prevalent in women after menopause. The hormonal changes that occur during menopause can bring increased cardiovascular risk in the form of higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Post-menopausal women have higher total body fat mass, fat% and large waist circumference than pre-menopausal women, as reported by some studies.
How oestrogen protect a women's heart? Oestrogen acts on the liver to cause an overall reduction in the total amount of cholesterol in the body. Oestrogen increases HDL ( good quality cholesterol) and reduces artery -clogging LDL cholesterol.
Oestrogen helps to keep blood pressure down by helping women arteries to be more flexible and strengthening their interior walls. This allow arteries to expand and relax to blood flow.
Menopausal changes are a natural part of the ageing process. Although they cannot be reversed, medical treatment and lifestyle approaches can help reduce the severity of symptoms. It is important to review and alter youraccommodate diet as you approach menopause so that your body is able to cope with all hormonal changes.
Too much saturated fats in your
diet can increase your blood cholesterol levels. High blood cholesterol levels have been proven to worsen heart health.
The right balance of dietary fats is key to a healthy heart. Unsaturated fats,when enjoyed in moderation, offer significant benefits for heart health. Rather than aiming for a low-fat diet, the focus should be on making smart choices in fat consumption.
The most beneficial step you can take is to reduce the intake of saturated fats, commonly found in animal products and processed foods, and replace with heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
This simple shift in your diet can lead to improvements in cholesterol levels and contribute to overall health.
Saturated fats are predominantly found in animal foods: all meats, animal fats e.g., butter lard, suet, duck fat, full-fat dairy products, cakes, rich biscuits, creamy sauces etc.
Unsaturated fats are mainly found in plant foods like vegetable oils and spreads, nuts, seeds, avocados and oil-rich fish such as sardines, pilchards, trout, salmon.
Nuts are nutritional powerhouses, providing fibre and vitamins and minerals. They are especially great for heart health because they provide heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
Oats and barley contain a type of fibre, beta-glucan, which has been proven to lower blood
cholesterol when consumed in the right quantities.
Other than Fats
Keeping salt intakes to a minimum – not more than one teaspoon(5g) of salt per day – can help maintain normal blood pressure, which is important for heart health. Most of the salt in our diet comes from highly-processed foods such as processed meats (salamis, tinned meat, pies, sausages, bacon and sausage rolls), soups, sauces, fast food, takeaways and savoury snacks.
Cut out Alchohol, which is high in calories and plays havoc with hormonal imbalance. Heavy drinking can lead to depression and exacerbates smenopausal symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats and insomnia.
Get more Active : Midlife women who exercise regularly have lower weight, BP, and blood glucose levels, as well as healthier cholesterol levels.
Quitting smoking: Smoking makes LDL (the bad kind) ‘stickier’ – so it clings to your artery walls, clogs them up and lowers HDL cholesterol levels (the good kind), which normally takes cholesterol away from the artery walls. Smoking damages the walls of your arteries, and cholesterol collects in the damaged areas.
THE MENOPAUSE CAN BE A CHALLENGING TIME, BUT IT’S ALSO A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE STOCK OF YOUR DIET & LIFESTYLE.
If you need more tips for better heart health, Download this infographic