During menopause, the woman’s body changes. This is partly due to strong fluctuations and a decrease in the amount of female hormones. It’s known that serious complaints can arise, such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and weight gain. It’s less well known that the menopause can also have a negative impact on the blood sugar level. The menopause not only increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, but can also lead to high or highly fluctuating blood glucose levels in women who already have type 2 diabetes. Very frustrating of course! In this blog you can read why and what to do best.
Even though women continue to eat the same as before, they often gain weight during the menopause. As you get older, muscle mass decreases. Muscle mass uses energy. With less of mass, you also use less energy and gain weight faster, if you don’t adjust your eating behavior. Especially, if you also exercise less. As a result, the amount of fat in the body increases. And due to the decrease of the hormone estrogen, that fat is mainly stored around the organs in the abdomen. This increases the risk of getting health issues.
This belly fat makes the woman’s body less sensitive to insulin. Insulin ensures that your blood sugar is absorbed into the body cells after eating a meal. If that’s less successful, the sugar level in your blood will remain too high. This can eventually lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Do you already have this disease? Then it can become more difficult to control your sugar level during menopause. Your level can suddenly be higher and fluctuate more strongly.
Due to the strong fluctuations and eventual decline of female hormones during menopause, sleep quality is also affected. You might sleep worse and less deeply, suffer from hot flashes and night sweats. This considerably disrupts your night’s sleep. Due to bad sleep, your body becomes more resistant to insulin and this accordingly results in higher sugar levels.
What can you do best to keep your sugar levels under control during the menopause?
Choose a food pattern that mainly contains unprocessed foods. Eat enough vegetables, fruit (no juice), whole grains, unsweetened (plant based) dairy, egg, nuts, seeds, legumes, oils, fish, chicken and little unprocessed meat or meat substitutes. If necessary, reduce your portions to limit your weight gain and do not eat too many products that are high in sugar or fast carbs like cookies, soft drinks and white bread.
Stay or become active. Especially during menopause. Exercising increases insulin sensitivity, lowers your sugar level and strengthens your muscles and bones. In addition, it helps limit your weight gain, and makes or keeps you fit and vital. Choose something you like. Exercising half an hour a day already has a positive effect. And if you would do that after a meal, it will immediately have a lowering effect on your blood sugar.
Get enough sleep
Try to go to bed and get up at a fixed time as often as possible, and skip your nap in the afternoon. Make sure you relax and are active during the day. Not late in the evening, as this can actually make you active and awake, making it harder to sleep. Also don’t eat or drink (definitely no caffeine) 3 to 4 hours before bedtime. This promotes a good night’s sleep.
Limit the intake of alcohol
Alcoholic drinks often contain a lot of carbohydrates (sugars) and therefore cause higher sugar levels. They also contain a lot of energy (calories), meaning that they can easily lead to weight gain and an increase in abdominal fat due to the fact that a women’s body needs less energy during menopause. Besides this, alcohol worsens the sleep quality. This all makes the body (even) less sensitive to insulin, which can increase your sugar levels even further. Therefore, do not drink or drink a maximum of 1 glass of alcohol per day.
Check your blood sugar yourself