Louise Minchin discusses her experiences with menopause

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Express.co.uk spoke to Dr Abimbola Babajide, a Clinical Research Physician at MAC Clinical Research, about which foods menopausal women should eat. It is worth making food swaps – adding some to your diet and avoiding others.

As is the case for all, it is recommended that middle aged women eat healthy, balanced meals, Dr Babajide explained.

She said: “Healthy, non-processed, low sugar foods should be the basis for all meals.

“Fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins are all good foods to have in your diet as they aren’t processed and contain more fibre.

“Swapping out butter for oils is also a useful trick to help manage weight.”

Olive oil is a key ingredient of the Mediterranean diet, which has been proven to greatly contribute to weight loss.

Adding olive oil to foods can improve one’s health, according to Dr Simon Poole, author of The Real Mediterranean Diet.

Eating foods containing a high amount of fibre is beneficial as these can help slimmers to feel fuller for longer.

A high in fibre diet or the Mediterranean diet are therefore good options for menopausal women, but Dr Babajide warned against other diets.

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She said: “Fad or crash diets are definitely one to avoid. Studies show that you’re more likely to end up heavier than when you started with these unrealistic diets.

“Eating nutrient rich foods is the key to managing weight, so I’d definitely advise avoiding processed foods that contain high levels of trans or saturated fats – for example, white bread, processed meats, and cakes.”

Instead of white bread, or other white carbohydrates like pasta, it is worth opting for wholegrain bread, pasta, and rice, Dr Babajide said.

She added: “Drinking fewer sugary drinks, such as fizzy drinks or juices, can also help as they tend to have a lot of extra calories.”

As for exercise, the doctor went on to say that “regular exercise is a great way to reduce the effects of the ageing process and keep fit after menopause”.

“Combining aerobic exercise and strength training will help build muscle and reduce body fat,” she explained.

“Low impact sports, such as yoga and pilates, are also a good way to build muscle with minimal wear on weight-bearing joints.

“Essentially, I’d recommend any exercise that builds muscle strength or decreases body fat by raising your heart rate.”

However, Dr Babajide stressed that “there’s no quick fix” when it comes to weight loss.

“Living a healthy and balanced lifestyle is the best way to manage your weight,” she highlighted.

“Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and building muscle strength are all great ways to stay in shape and manage weight gain.”

The doctor added: “Gaining weight is completely normal and a common effect of menopause and nothing to worry about.

“The hormonal changes your body is going through, specifically a drop in oestrogen levels, may make you more likely to gain weight, particularly around the abdomen.

“Additionally, weight gain can be a side effect of the ageing process. A reduced metabolism and loss of muscle tissue can all impact a woman’s weight.

“As you go through menopause your body is undergoing huge changes, so it’s likely you’ll see a fluctuation in weight.”

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