How to lose weight in time for summer: Foods women should ‘make sure to include’ in diet

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Kate Llewellyn-Waters is the resident nutritionist on Channel 5 series You Are What You Eat and author of ‘The Immunity Cookbook’. She exclusively shared with her top tips, including what to eat and when to exercise, to lose weight before the summer break.

Kate’s main tip is to “focus on your diet” more than ever.

She explained: “Some of the easiest, most effective nutritional interventions that can help weight management during this often tricky time, include increasing your intake of plant-based foods.”

This can be chickpeas, lentils, beans, tofu or miso.

The nutritionist recommended “aiming for five servings of veg and two servings of fruit per day”.

“Variety is key, so make sure you include different vegetables and fruit in your daily diet,” she explained.

What other foods should women be eating?

Kate recommended opting for “complex carbohydrates” such as wholegrain bread, brown rice and wholewheat pasta, “rather than white pasta and bread, as the wholegrain varieties contain more fibre, vitamins and minerals than their white counterparts”.

“They also take longer to digest, which means they have less of an immediate impact on blood sugar, therefore, causing it to rise more slowly.

“Complex carbs foods that are high in fibre, also help make us feel fuller for longer, so we are less likely to reach for a high-sugar, high-fat, high-calorie snack in between meals,” she explained.

Kate said exercising regularly is also “key” to losing weight faster.

She said: “Just walking every day for 30 minutes can be incredibly beneficial, with the added and well-known benefits of boosting heart and bone health, promoting positive mental wellbeing and helping you to manage your weight.”

The nutritionist added that this will also help with other menopause symptoms: “Exercising regularly has been shown to be hugely beneficial for easing perimenopausal symptoms. One hypothesis is that impaired endorphin activity in the hypothalamus (a region of the brain) may provoke hot flushes.

“Endorphins are chemicals produced naturally by the nervous system to cope with pain or stress, and they are often called ‘feel-good’ chemicals because they can act as a pain reliever and happiness booster.

“Research shows that regular physical activity decreases the frequency and severity of hot flushes, and that exercise may also obviate the need for HRT.

“Recently, one study demonstrated that women with no hot flushes spent three and a half hours a week exercising. “

Finally, the nutritionist said that ensuring sufficient calcium intake is essential during menopause, especially to reduce the symptoms.

Kate explained why: “Diseases that become riskier for women over the age of 50 include: cardiovascular diseases (strokes, high blood pressure and heart disease), osteoporosis and cancers (breast, ovarian, uterus and cervical).

“In addition, since osteoporosis rates also increase after the age of 50, so it is important to ensure you are including adequate calcium in your daily diet.

“Calcium is an essential mineral for bone health and sufficient calcium intake prevents the onset of osteoporosis.

“Women need roughly 1500mg of calcium per day to meet their metabolic needs, and good non-dairy food sources include: anchovies, sardines, tofu, soybeans, chickpeas, spinach, chard, almonds, hazelnuts and oranges.”

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