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Why Protein Should Be a Priority for Women Going Through or Having Gone Through Menopause

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Menopause brings a host of changes that can affect a woman’s body in various ways, from hormonal shifts to changes in metabolism and bone density. Amid these changes, maintaining a diet rich in protein

becomes crucial. Here's why prioritizing protein can be particularly beneficial for women dealing with the symptoms of menopause:

1. Maintaining Muscle Mass

As estrogen levels decline during menopause, women can experience a reduction in muscle mass and strength. Protein is essential for preserving and building muscle tissue, helping to counteract this natural loss. Incorporating high-quality protein sources like lean poultry, such as chicken breast and turkey breast, can provide the necessary building blocks to maintain muscle health.

2. Supporting Bone Health

Post-menopausal women are at an increased risk for osteoporosis due to the decrease in estrogen, which is vital for bone density. Protein plays a significant role in bone health by supporting the structure and strength of bones. Consuming Greek yogurt, which is rich in both protein and calcium, can help fortify bones and reduce the risk of fractures.

3. Managing Weight and Metabolism

Protein is known to be more satiating than carbohydrates and fats, which can help in managing weight gain that often accompanies menopause. It boosts metabolism by increasing the thermic effect of food, meaning your body burns more calories to digest protein. Foods like fish, particularly salmon and tuna, provide high-quality protein and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that support metabolic health and weight management.

4. Balancing Blood Sugar Levels

Protein helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels, which can be particularly beneficial during menopause when fluctuations in blood sugar can be more pronounced. Legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, and black beans, are excellent sources of plant-based protein and fiber, which work together to maintain steady blood sugar levels and improve overall digestive health.

5. Supporting Cognitive Function

Menopause can sometimes bring about cognitive changes, including memory lapses and difficulty concentrating. Protein sources rich in essential nutrients, like **eggs**, provide choline, which supports brain health and cognitive function. Whole eggs and egg whites are versatile protein sources that can be easily incorporated into various meals.

Incorporating Protein into Your Diet

Here are some practical ways to ensure you're getting enough protein:

- Start Your Day with Protein: Include eggs or Greek yogurt in your breakfast.

- Add Legumes to Your Meals: Incorporate lentils or chickpeas into salads, soups, and stews.

- Opt for Lean Poultry and Fish: Choose chicken, turkey, or fish like salmon and tuna for your main meals.

- Snack Smart: Keep high-protein snacks like Greek yogurt or a handful of nuts handy.

Prioritizing protein intake during and after menopause can significantly improve your overall health and well-being. By incorporating a variety of protein sources, such as lean poultry, legumes, fish, Greek yogurt, and eggs, you can support muscle mass, bone health, weight management, blood sugar balance, and cognitive function. Making protein a central part of your diet will help you navigate the challenges of menopause more smoothly and achieve lasting health benefits.

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