Written by Erin Dresser
Keto Diet for Perimenopause and Hormonal Imbalances
Perimenopause is a transitional period in a woman’s life when her body reduces the production of the female reproductive hormones, namely estrogen, and progesterone. This change in the body results in a hormonal imbalance that can cause a variety of symptoms that can vary in severity and frequency.
While the symptoms experienced during perimenopause are not completely avoidable, there are lifestyle modifications and small changes you can make to help alleviate or reduce the frequency or severity of some of the symptoms. Adjusting your diet to be more health-centric and balanced, incorporating regular physical activity, and engaging in intentional self-care are some of the most attainable ways to manage and alleviate symptoms as well as improve overall health and wellness.
Is Keto the Best?
While there is no “one size fits all” diet, there are popular eating habits that many turn to when seeking to lose weight. Over the last few years, the standard ketogenic (keto) diet (SKD) has become one of the most popular dietary approaches for weight loss and improved energy levels.
The keto diet is a diet that focuses on high protein and moderate healthy fat intake, with reduced carbohydrate consumption. The goal is to induce a state of ketosis in the body, in which the body’s primary fuel source transitions from carbohydrates to fats. While achieving a state of true ketosis is incredibly difficult, adopting the main concepts of the keto diet may help alleviate some of the perimenopause symptoms and aid in overall health and wellness.
Some common benefits of the keto diet can include weight loss, improved blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity, increased satiety, and improved cognitive function. Furthermore, ensuring that you are consuming enough protein and healthy fats during perimenopause is essential for overall health and symptom management (read our article on protein and perimenopause here).
Keto: Pros and Cons
The keto diet can offer a variety of both pros and cons for women experiencing perimenopause. Some of the key benefits include improved hormonal balance, weight loss or improved weight management, increased energy levels, and decreased mood swings.
Following a keto diet may improve hormonal balance by helping to regulate estrogen and progesterone levels, which could potentially reduce some of the common perimenopause symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and fatigue.
Mood swings and fatigue symptoms may also be improved due to the improved stabilization of blood sugar levels and increased insulin sensitivity.
Additionally, the keto diet may increase weight loss or improve weight management by increasing feelings of satiety, reducing blood insulin levels, increasing insulin sensitivity, improving blood sugar stabilization, and promoting fat burning.
While there are several benefits that the keto diet can offer for women in perimenopause, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks and risks associated with adopting the keto diet as well.
As with any diet change, it is important to ensure you are consuming sufficient amounts of each of the essential nutrients and minerals, taking special care for the nutrients most essential during perimenopause (see our article on dieting during perimenopause ).
This includes ensuring you consume adequate amounts of lean proteins, healthy fats, and essential carbohydrates, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, which offer fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, as well as whole grains, which improve satiety and provide fiber and energy.
Keto diets can be restrictive and may not provide an adequate amount of each essential nutrient. This could result in potential nutrient deficiencies, exacerbate perimenopause symptoms, and further affect irregular menstrual cycles.
Following a keto diet may require supplementation to ensure you are receiving adequate amounts of each nutrient. Consult a registered dietitian or healthcare professional to receive tailored recommendations and support during this transitional period.
Tips for a Keto Diet
Adopting a keto diet can be very overwhelming and confusing. What’s important to remember is that a highly restrictive diet can often cause more harm than good, so adopting key concepts of a diet and focusing more on overall balance is essential in long term maintenance of health and wellness.
Transitioning to a keto diet can be made easier by adjusting gradually, rather than all at once. First, focus on substituting healthier alternatives for carbohydrates, then slowly reducing the amounts can make this transition easier. Simultaneously, seek healthier fat sources and gradually increase the amounts.
Perimenopause can offer unique challenges in adopting a new diet, such as increased cravings, decreased metabolism, and decreased gut health. Ensuring that your diet is balanced and fully supplies each essential nutrient can help combat these symptoms. Additionally, ensure that you are staying hydrated, participating in regular physical activity, are getting adequate rest, and are intentionally engaging in self care. To learn some tips to help manage cravings, read our article on Dieting During Perimenopause here.
While the benefits of a keto diet are tempting, it is highly recommended to consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional before making any major dietary changes, especially if you have any other medical conditions. These professionals can provide personalized recommendations, continued support, and symptom management throughout perimenopause and can help determine your specific needs through each stage. Each woman has a unique experience with perimenopause and symptoms vary in occurrence, frequency, and severity from woman to woman.
Continue below to view a 5 Day Meal Plan Jumpstart to Keto Diet Guide to support perimenopause symptom management.
Be sure to modify the recipes below to suit your personal needs and preferences. Remember, it’s always recommended to consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional before starting any new diet, especially if you have specific questions or concerns regarding perimenopause or any other health conditions or dietary requirements.
|Day 1||Spinach & Mushroom Omelette||Greek Salad with Chicken||Celery Sticks in Almond Butter||Baked Salmon with Roasted Asparagus and Cauliflower Mash||Keto Chocolate Avocado Mousse|
|Day 2||Chia Pudding with Berries and Almonds||Zoodles with Grilled Shrimp in Lemon Garlic Butter||Hard Boiled Eggs||Southwest-style Cauliflower rice with Ground Beef||Keto Peanut Butter Cookies|
|Day 3||Green Smoothie||Caprese Salad||Mixed Nuts||Grilled Chicken Thighs with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Mash||Keto Berry Cheesecake Bombs|
|Day 4||Keto Pancakes with Sugar-Free Syrup and Bacon||Chicken Caesar Salad||Sliced Cucumbers with Guacamole||Beef Stir Fry||Keto Lemon Bars|
|Day 5||Spinach and Mushroom Frittata||Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps||Green Smoothie||Baked Chicken Thighs with Roasted Cauliflower and Steamed Green Beans||Keto Coconut Macaroons|
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