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Protein and Perimenopause

Mar 18, 2024   •   
Protein and Perimenopause

How Protein can help women in Perimenopause and Post Menopause

Midlife changes – are you noticing weight gain, cravings, low energy and mood? Are these changes coinciding with changes in your cycle (length/duration/intensity?). These could be a sign that you have entered the period of time before menopause (when your periods stop for 12+ months) called Perimenopause. And, if so, protein might be a missing piece of your current health puzzle.

What is Protein?

Protein is a vital nutrient that plays a key role in our body. It is composed of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscles, organs, hormones, and enzymes. Protein has many benefits for ALL women such as increasing their metabolism, improving satiety, and preserving muscle mass. But it becomes even more important as we transition into perimenopause and in our post menopause years.

Midlife metabolism & Protein

Metabolism is the process of converting food into energy, and it determines how many calories the body burns throughout the day. When we hit the years around menopause, as our hormone levels begin to change, fat begins to appear on our body, particularly our belly.

Protein has a higher thermic effect than that of carbs or fats, which means that it requires more energy to digest, absorb, and use. This means that eating more protein can help
women kick along their metabolism to burn more calories, even at rest to combat that belly fat.

My cravings are out of control

When women experience low energy and tiredness, which can happen even more during perimenopause, we tend to reach for quick, sugary snacks to give us a boost. Protein can lower the levels of hunger hormones and increase the levels of fullness hormones. These hormones can help women feel more satisfied and less hungry after eating, therefore reducing their cravings. Protein is a powerful ally in perimenopause. Have you noticed the difference when you have a high
protein breakfast to start your day?  If you have a good hunger awareness you will notice that you won’t be needing to reach for sugary snacks, trying to boost your energy levels. But of course, old habits/patterns can override that, so start being aware of what your body is asking for before you eat.

Protein in Perimenopause

I’m not as strong as I once was

We often hear women say that they have gotten weaker with age. And there is a truth to this as women over 40 years lose 3-8% of their lean muscle mass per decade. This also increases significantly post menopause due to the dramatic drop in oestrogen.

Muscle is important for strength, endurance, our immune system and metabolism. Protein can prevent muscle loss and promote muscle growth by providing the amino acids that the muscles need to repair and rebuild keeping you strong and independent as you age.

Are you consuming enough protein?

The Australian Dietary Guideline recommendations for daily protein intake for women is
approximately 0.75grams per kg of bodyweight per day. Depending on your activity level, health status, specific dietary requirements and age, you may require more than this. You can
achieve your daily intake requirements by eating protein-rich foods at every meal and snack.
Women should also balance their protein intake with a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and water.

Perimenopause/ post Menopause Women can complement their protein intake with regular exercise, especially resistance training, which can stimulate muscle protein synthesis and enhance the effects of protein on the body.

See our other articles on Perimenopause on the MumSafe website 

Melissa Neilsen runs Melissa Neilsen in Queensland, . Learn more about Melissa and Book your Trial today.

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