How to manage weight during menopause with ayurveda

Menopause is a complex phase in a woman’s life when she starts gaining weight before and during menopause. One of the causes is a drop in estrogen and progesterone levels—two dominant female hormones. Low-quality sleep and age-related reductions in metabolism and muscle tone are also reasons for weight gain during menopause. The weight usually tends to accumulate in the abdomen.


Ayurvedic approach to menopause

Losing weight is quite challenging during menopause, but Ayurveda could help women win this challenge. According to Ayurvedic principles, menopause causes Vata to become deranged. In fact, menopause is a culmination of all three doshas. Menses are caused by Pitta, while Kapha imbalance leads to weight gain. The mood swings and loss of sleep during menopause indicates imbalance in Vata dosha.


How to lose weight during menopause

Hormonal changes alone don’t cause menopause weight gain. Weight gain is also related to aging, lifestyle and genetic factors. For example, muscle mass diminishes with age, which slows the rate at which the body uses calories. This makes it difficult to maintain weight. So, if you continue to eat as usual and don’t increase your physical activity, you will gain weight. Lack of exercise, unhealthy eating and not enough sleep contribute to menopause weight gain.


There’s no magic formula to prevent menopause weight gain. To lose weight, you should cut down on calories. During menopause, the calories a woman burns during rest declines. Eating a very-low-calorie diet to lose weight will harm you more. Research shows that low-calorie diet leads to loss of muscle mass, which declines metabolic rate. So while very-low-calorie diet may help you to lose weight for a short time, the weight will come back again. Moreover, less calorie intake and decreased muscle mass may lead to bone loss. Hence, Ayurveda suggests adopting a healthy lifestyle that can be maintained weight for a long-term.


Two things play most important role in weight loss during menopause – diet and exercise. To ensure that your life doesn’t get interrupted by menopause, Ayurveda suggests a few changes to make in your diet choices.


Avoid spicy food. Chillis, pepper, and spices like garam masala should be avoided. Reduce packaged and processed foods, which are high on salt and sugar content. Instead, focus on plant-based foods. Ayurveda also recommends avoiding excess meat as they produce toxins and free-radicals in the body.


It’s good to have foods that have cooling effect. Also have foods that produce more estrogen like soya milk, soya beans and prunes.


Fresh fruits and vegetables help to eliminate toxins from the body. Begin your day with apples, prunes or figs, which are high on iron. They will help control mood swings. Throughout the day, you can munch on fruits.


Make sure you consume lots of green leafy vegetables like spinach, radish leaves, drumstick leaves (moringa), colocasia leaves (patra), and coriander.


Ayurveda stresses on herbs and spices like cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and ajwain. These are beneficial in dealing with stomach issues. Fenugreek seeds (methi), amaranth, black sesame, etc. are high on calcium and iron. You should also focus on lentils.

Do more physical activities like morning and evening walks, exercises, including aerobic exercise (brisk walking, jogging), and strength training. They help to shed extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight. As you gain muscle, your body burns calories, as a result, you lose weight.


Get enough good quality sleep. This is important for maintaining a healthy weight. People who sleep too little have higher levels of hunger hormone ghrelin, lower levels of the fullness hormone leptin, and are likely to put on weight.


Stress leads to elevated cortisol levels, which are associated with increased abdominal fat. Studies have found that yoga can reduce stress and relieve symptoms in women going through menopause.


Drink green tea and Ayurvedic herbal teas. The caffeine and EGCG in green tea help burn fat.

Drink plenty of water or eat a bowl of watermelon daily to keep your body hydrated and fat constantly moving through and out of your body.

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