Protein in Perimenopause Nutrition

As you approach perimenopause, your body undergoes various changes, and one essential aspect to focus on is your nutrition. The right diet can significantly impact your experience during this transitional phase. In this blog, we’ll delve into perimenopause nutrition, exploring topics such as protein intake, the best foods to support your body, and how to create a balanced perimenopause diet plan.

 

Protein in Building Muscle During Perimenopause 

The menopause transition is often accompanied by a slippery slope of muscle loss. Protein, often referred to as the essential building block of our muscles, plays a significant role in averting this loss. To effectively assemble these building blocks into robust muscle, you need to focus on two key considerations. By combining strength or resistance exercises with the right dietary habits, you are positioning yourself for success in perimenopause nutrition. 

 

Why Muscle Matters for Menopausal Women 

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass as we age, and research has shown that we lose approximately 1% of muscle per year from the age of 30 (1). This is not a rollercoaster I want to be on, so how can we slow this process down?! Partaking in strengthening exercises such as lifting weights or even doing calf raises or bodyweight squats in your sitting room can help prevent frailty and help you live longer. 

If these aren’t reasons enough to keep yourself nimble and active while you age, the process of muscle building can also enhance our bone health and body composition. Strengthening exercise increases our metabolism, which can help to maintain our body weight and improve metabolic health, such as reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, which are common in later life. 

 

Bone Health & The Role of Strength Training

Perimenopausal women with low bone mass are at an increased risk of osteoporosis (2). Strength training can help to preserve bone mass which is extremely important for all women in helping to prevent frailty. It is important to harness the powers of protein, vitamin D and calcium-containing foods together in addition to strength training to maintain bone health but also in maintaining muscle mass. Like the right key to a lock, the influence of fuelling your body with the right foods can unlock powerful benefits for both muscle and bone health. 

 

High-Protein Snacks to Support Your Perimenopause Nutrition

Here are some high-protein snacks to help fuel your day: 

  • Protein yoghurt with nut butter and fruit
  • A generous glass of fortified milk and a handful of your favourite unsalted nuts
  • Scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast with a sprinkle of cheese
  • Sliced vegetable sticks dunked in hummus

 

Protein for Perimenopause Nutrition

As we have already alluded to, protein is the key to building muscle from a diet perspective. You should aim to have protein-rich foods with every meal and also 2 – 3 times per day as snacks to help stimulate muscle growth. Irish research has shown that breakfast is the most common meal –  which people often fall short of having enough protein (3). 

Think of swapping out that bland bowl of cereal for a gourmet Greek yoghurt bowl with your favourite fruit and nuts for a tantalising taste explosion or even switching up your usual toast and butter combo for avocado and eggs on wholegrain bread for a powerful punch of protein! That extra kick of protein at the start of your day might give your muscles the helping hand they need to transform. 

 

Planning Your Perimenopause Nutrition with Protein Punch

When considering ways to increase your protein intake, think about adding to meals rather than taking away from meals. A firm favourite of mine is adding chickpeas or lentils to a curry dish and lashing on some roasted cashew nuts for good measure! Or, another tasty treat with added protein I like to indulge in is adding almond butter, Greek yoghurt and honey to my toast in place of butter – trust me when I say, don’t knock it till you try it! This can help add variety to your diet and get some extra plant-based protein to your meals. Below are some examples of protein-rich foods which you can help to build your meals and snacks around.

 

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, during perimenopause, paying attention to your nutrition, especially protein intake, can make a big difference in maintaining muscle and overall health. A balanced diet full of natural foods is your best friend during this time. If you want personalised advice on your perimenopause diet and protein needs, it’s a good idea to talk to a nutrition expert. By focusing on what you eat and staying active, you can approach perimenopause with energy and well-being.

 

Unsure about the best diet for perimenopause?

Feeling like you could use some individualised nutrition advice to power up your life? Booking a consultation with one of our Registered Dietitians can help empower you to flourish through the frenzy that is perimenopause. Also, our CEO, Gillian McConnell, has developed a fantastic 12-week online community-based perimenopause and menopause course.  

➡️ Click here to discover how we can guide you through this transitional chapter.

Sources of Information 

  1. Volpi E, Nazemi R, Fujita S. Muscle tissue changes with ageing. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2004. Doi: 10.1097/01.
  2. Management of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women: the 2021 position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Menopause. 2021. 
  3. Hone M, Nugent AP, Walton J, McNulty BA, Egan B. Habitual protein intake, protein distribution patterns and dietary sources in Irish adults with stratification by sex and age. 2020.