Peri-menopause is the transitional period leading up to menopause. During this phase our bodies undergo hormonal fluctuations that can result in a range of symptoms such as hot flushes to mood swings. While these changes are natural, it is essential to prioritise our health and well being. One crucial aspect that I find is often overlooked, is the role of protein in supporting our bodies and our changing needs during our peri-menopausal years.
Protein plays a vital role in maintaining some sort of hormonal balance, which is so important during these years of fluctuating hormones. Oestrogen and progesterone both need adequate amounts of protein to support their production and regulation, helping to minimise the severity of symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings and sleep disturbances.
2. Muscle Health
As we age, our bodies naturally lose muscle mass. However, during peri-menopause this process is accelerated due to hormonal changes. Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass.
3. Weight Management
Weight gain is a common concern during peri-menopause, primarily due to hormonal imbalances and as slower metabolism. Protein-rich foods are known to increase satiety, reduce cravings and boost metabolism, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
4. Energy & Mood
The hormonal fluctuations experienced during peri-menopause can often leave us feeling fatigues and emotionally drained. protein plays a significant role in providing sustained energy throughout the day. it helps stabilise blood sugar levels, preventing energy crashes and promoting a more balanced mood. Including protein rich meals and snacks can help you feel more energised, focused and emotionally stable during this transitional phase.
5. Bone Health
As women age, the risk of osteoporosis increase. During our peri-menopausal years, the decline in oestrogen levels can further impact bone health. Protein is a key nutrient for maintaining strong and healthy bones. It aids in the absorption of calcium and other essential minerals, ensuring optimal bone density and reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
How Much Should I Have?
We are all different and have different nutrient requirements. Depending on our weight, our exercise levels, our jobs or lifestyle can all affect how much nutrition we need. As a general rule of thumb, I like to see my peri-menopause clients include:
Body weight in kg x 1.5 = protein in grams (eg 60kg x 1.5 = 90grams of protein per day) as a minimum!)
A typical day could look like: (as part of my 8 week Skin & Hormone Essentials Program)
Bacon & Spinach Omelette with 2 eggs (21g protein)
Triple Berry Protein Bowl (13g protein)
Healthy Caesar Salad (24g protein)
Creamy Dill Salad with Chicken (31g protein)
Detox Chia Lemon Water (2g protein)
In conclusion, during peri-menopause our bodies undergo significant changes that require extra care and attention. Protein, withe its numerous benefits, plays a crucial role in supporting our overall health and well-being during this transitional phase. From hormonal balance to muscle health, weight management, energy, and bone health, protein is a powerful ally in navigating the challenges of peri-menopause. By incorporating protein rich foods into our diet, we can optimise our health, minimise symptoms and embrace this transformative journey with confidence and vitality.