Menopause Weight Gain and Chronic Inflammation | Galveston Diet (2023)

Galveston Diet / Menopause Weight Loss / Menopause Weight Gain? Inflammation May Be The Culprit

by: Dr. Mary Claire Haver

Menopause Weight Gain and Chronic Inflammation | Galveston Diet (1)

Menopause Weight Gain? Inflammation May Be The Culprit
(And 5 Things You Can Do About It Right Now)

It’s apparent that weight loss is much more than just calories inand calories out,1,2 so what are the other variables involved?

Table of Contents

Current research is finding that chronic systemic inflammation is a key player in not only weight gain in midlife but also many chronic disease states.3,4

When inflammation is present, even those with the most disciplined nutrition and fitness routines can struggle to maintain or lose weight.5 You can’t see it or feel it, but chronic inflammation is slowly damaging your body, especially in menopause.

Chronic inflammation increases as part of the aging process. As our cells lose their efficiency due to aging, inflammation naturally increases.6 Estrogen is protective against chronic inflammation – and when our levels start naturally declining in midlife during perimenopause, chronic inflammation increases again.7

The early effects of systemic inflammation in menopause may be ambiguous and go undetected for an extended period of time.

You may feel tired or run down, your sleep patterns may change, your moods may deteriorate quicker than usual, and you may notice you are gaining weight – especially belly fat, and be confused as to why these changes are happening, especially with no changes in your nutrition or exercise habits.

(Video) Perfect Storm: How Inflammation And Menopause Lead To Weight Gain And What You Can Do About It

How Can I Test For Chronic Inflammation

These tests are great ways to see if you are inflamed and then use them as a marker after nutrition/lifestyle changes to track progress. However, these markers are nonspecific, meaning that abnormal levels can show that something is wrong but not the exact cause. Since nutrition and lifestyle changes fight so many of the causes of chronic inflammation – it is worth testing.

hsC-reactive protein (CRP)

CRP is naturally produced in the liver in response to inflammation. A high level of CRP in your blood can occur due to several inflammatory conditions.8

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)

The ESR test is rarely performed alone, as it doesn’t help pinpoint specific causes of inflammation. Instead, it can help your doctor identify that inflammation is occurring. It can also help them monitor your condition.9

Plasma viscosity

This test measures the thickness of blood. Inflammation or infection can thicken plasma.10

Menopause Weight Gain and Chronic Inflammation | Galveston Diet (2)

What’s Your Nutritional Inflammation Score?

Take our Nutritonal Anti-Inflammation Quiz to determine your relative degree of inflammation based on your nutritional choices.

Take Quiz

What can I do to reduce the risk of chronic inflammation?

You can control — and even reverse — inflammation through a healthy,anti-inflammatory dietand lifestyle utilizing these top 5 tips below:

1. Load up on anti-inflammatory foods

Your food choices are just as important as the medications and supplements you may be taking for overall health since they protect against or promote inflammation.

Fruits and vegetables are rich in natural antioxidants and polyphenols: protective compounds present in plants, such as blueberries, apples, and leafy greens.11

Studies have also linked nuts with decreased inflammatory markers and a lower risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.12

Coffee and green or black tea, which includes polyphenols and other anti-inflammatory substances, can defend against inflammation.13

(Video) The Anti-Inflammatory Diet Explained by a REAL Doctor | Reduce Inflammation with These Tips!

Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have tremendous anti-inflammatory properties. Some of the best sources of omega-3s are cold-water fish, such as salmon and tuna, and tofu, walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds.

Other anti-inflammatory foods include grapes, celery, blueberries, garlic, olive oil, tea, and some spices (ginger, rosemary, and turmeric).

2. Cut back or eliminate inflammatory foods

An anti-inflammatory diet, like the Galveston Diet, limits foods that cause inflammation.

Inflammatory foods include processed meats and trans fats, such as margarine, corn oil, high fructose corn syrup, deep-fried foods, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and most processed foods.

Limit or avoid simple carbohydrates, such as white flour, white rice, refined sugar, and anything with high fructose corn syrup.14

3. Make time to exercise

In menopause, to avoid osteoporosis and sarcopenia (loss of bone and muscle mass with age respectively), and decrease inflammation, make time for 75 – 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, divided into three sessions. It is also important to include 10 to 25 minutes of weight or resistance training at least four to five times per week.15

4. Work on a healthy gut

To minimize inflammation, improving the gut’s microbial barrier is critical because it will deter potential irritants from getting into the bloodstream through the intestinal wall. To keep the gut biome healthy, try to incorporate fermented foods such as tofu, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, or kimchi.16

5. Manage stress

Chronic stress contributes to inflammation through elevated cortisol levels. Use meditation, yoga, biofeedback, guided imagery, journaling, exercise, or other methods to manage stress throughout the day.

These five changes in your diet and lifestyle can lower inflammation. If you are unsure of your inflammation levels, we created our very own Nutritional Anti-Inflammation quiz. Check your Daily Inflammation Score here. This quiz will help you determine your relative degree of inflammation for the past 24 hours. The great news? You can take the quiz as many times as you’d like. Please remember that you can make changes slowly for long-term results. The Galveston Diet is about creating new habits that last!

Menopause Weight Gain and Chronic Inflammation | Galveston Diet (3)

What’s Your Nutritional Inflammation Score?

Take our Nutritonal Anti-Inflammation Quiz to determine your relative degree of inflammation based on your nutritional choices.

Take Quiz





(Video) 6 Menopause Busting Foods From The Galveston Diet














If you are interested in learning more about the science behind the Galveston Diet, Click Here.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition, Menopause Weight Loss

With an anti-inflammatory approach to nutrition, Dr. Haver has found an innovative solution that actually works at this time in our lives. The Galveston Diet can help women in menopause feel more confident in their skin.

learn more about the program

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This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.

Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency room immediately.

The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other institution with which the authors are affiliated.

While the information on the site was prepared to provide accurate information regarding topics related to general and specific health issues, the information contained in the site is made available with the express understanding that neither Dr. Mary Claire Haver,,nor the other experts on the site, nor the site itself, nor members of the Site are dispensing medical advice and do not intend any of this information to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment.

(Video) The Galveston Diet: What REALLY Works



How can I lose weight with chronic inflammation? ›

Exercising regularly will help you lose excess weight and naturally fights inflammation. Getting plenty of quality sleep will help you feel more energetic and balance your hormones so you can stay active and reduce inflammation.

Is an anti-inflammatory diet good for menopause? ›

Eating a good diet is extremely important for peri and post-menopausal women, for managing inflammation symptoms, protecting against longer term health conditions, and preventing weight gain.

What is the best diet for menopause weight gain? ›

Choose more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, particularly those that are less processed and contain more fiber. In general, a plant-based diet is healthier than other options. Legumes, nuts, soy, fish and low-fat dairy products are good choices.

Can constant inflammation cause weight gain? ›

There is an association between increased weight gain and increased inflammation. More weight can mean more inflammation. However, reducing excess weight also tends to mean less inflammation. Gut inflammation may also be a contributing factor and can lead to weight gain.

What are the 5 classic signs of inflammation? ›

Based on visual observation, the ancients characterised inflammation by five cardinal signs, namely redness (rubor), swelling (tumour), heat (calor; only applicable to the body' extremities), pain (dolor) and loss of function (functio laesa).

How long does it take to lose weight on anti-inflammatory diet? ›

Starting an anti-inflammatory diet isn't a magic pill. Your results will vary based on the severity of your intolerance and inflammation. “Drastic changes never lead to long-term success, so give yourself three to six months to make diet changes and to begin to see results,” Zumpano advises.

Can you lose weight on an inflammation diet? ›

Also, an anti-inflammatory diet was not developed with weight loss in mind, but it is likely that eating a diet high in many low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, like fruits, vegetables and beans, and low in processed foods and added sugars, will lead to weight loss.

Can menopause cause chronic inflammation? ›

Menopause is also linked with an abundance of additional changes, including increased central adiposity and inflammation.

What are inflammatory foods in menopause? ›

In contrast, foods which promote inflammation (pro-inflammatory diet) include foods that have low nutrient content, as well as refined foods such as high sugar, high fat and high salt foods. These types of foods trigger chronic inflammation and also promote weight gain, which can also induce inflammation.

Why am I gaining weight so fast during menopause? ›

Contributors to weight gain at menopause include declining oestrogen levels, age-related loss of muscle tissue and lifestyle factors such as diet and lack of exercise. Treatment options include a healthy diet, regular exercise, strength training and menopausal hormone therapy.

How do you get rid of menopause belly fat? ›

Start with a mix of moderate and vigorous exercise to burn off menopausal weight gain. Your routine should include aerobic exercises like swimming, walking, bicycling, and running, as well as resistance or strength training. “What you want to employ now is high-intensity interval training (HIIT),” Dr. Peeke says.

How do you stop hormonal weight gain? ›

Additionally, improving dietary choices, increasing physical activity, getting more sleep, managing stress levels effectively, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol are all ways to decrease and avoid hormonal weight gain.

Why does my body hold so much inflammation? ›

Possible Causes

The most common reasons for chronic inflammation include: Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, where your body attacks healthy tissue. Exposure to toxins, like pollution or industrial chemicals. Untreated acute inflammation, such as from an infection or injury.

What vitamin helps with inflammatory? ›

Vitamin C. Vitamin C, like vitamin D, is an essential vitamin that plays a huge role in immunity and inflammation. It's a powerful antioxidant, so it can reduce inflammation by neutralizing free radicals that cause oxidative damage to your cells ( 55 ).

How long does it take to reduce chronic inflammation? ›

Practice makes perfect, at home or eating out

More good news: Making a few changes — like choosing whole grain breads instead of white bread, or adding a few fruit servings — can start making an immediate difference, though it may take up to six weeks for some people to see a significant change.

How do you know if your body has chronic inflammation? ›

How do you know if you have chronic inflammation? A blood test measures a protein produced by the liver, C-reactive protein (CRP), which rises in response to inflammation. A CRP level between 1 and 3 milligrams per liter of blood often signals a low, yet chronic, level of inflammation.

How do you test for chronic inflammation? ›

These are four of the most common tests for inflammation:
  1. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (sed rate or ESR). This test measures how fast red blood cells settle to the bottom of a vertical tube of blood. ...
  2. C-reactive protein (CRP). ...
  3. Ferritin. ...
  4. Fibrinogen.
29 Mar 2022

How do you know if you have too much inflammation in your body? ›

Common symptoms of chronic inflammation can include: body pain. constant fatigue and insomnia. depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
Symptoms of common inflammatory conditions
  • joint pain, swelling, stiffness, or loss of joint function.
  • fatigue.
  • numbness and tingling.
  • limited range of motion.
19 Dec 2018

What is the most anti-inflammatory diet? ›

The Mediterranean diet is ranked high among doctors and dietitians, and for good reason. Studies show it protects against diseases linked to inflammation, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.

What are the 10 foods that fight inflammation? ›

Top 10 foods that fight inflammation
  • Berries, including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and more.
  • Salmon, tuna and other fatty fish (yes, sardines, too).
  • Nuts, including walnuts and almonds.
  • Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil.
  • Peppers, including bell and chili peppers.
15 Apr 2021

Do eggs cause inflammation? ›

Consuming eggs regularly can lead to an increased amount of swelling and joint pain. The yolks contain arachidonic acid, which helps trigger inflammation in the body. Eggs also contain saturated fat which can also induce joint pain.

What foods should I avoid with chronic inflammation? ›

What foods cause inflammation?
  • Red meat and processed meats, including bacon, hot dogs, lunch meats and cured meats.
  • Refined grains, including white bread, white rice, pasta and breakfast cereals.
  • Snack foods, including chips, cookies, crackers and pastries.
  • Sodas and other sweetened drinks.
  • Fried foods.
29 Jun 2022

How do I get rid of menopause inflammation? ›

Eat a diet rich in natural anti-inflammatory foods. Be sure to include nutrient rich fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and omega-3s.

What hormone triggers inflammation? ›

High levels of prostaglandins are produced in response to injury or infection and cause inflammation, which is associated with the symptoms of redness, swelling, pain and fever. This is an important part of the body's normal healing process.

Can low estrogen cause inflammation in the body? ›

Conclusion. There is increasing and compelling evidence showing that estrogen decline during the menopausal transition drives a systemic inflammatory state.

What reduces inflammation and balance of hormones? ›

Eat good fats daily

Eating good fats is essential for hormone production as it is these fats that build our hormones as well as reduce inflammation. So always include a portion of fat in each meal which can come from olive oil, flaxseed oil, avocado oil, raw unsalted nuts or seeds, nut butter and avocados.

Which food is not recommended during menopause? ›

Foods That May Worsen Menopausal Symptoms
  • Processed Foods.
  • Spicy Foods.
  • Fast Food.
  • Alcohol.
  • Caffeine.
  • Fatty Meats.
18 Apr 2019

How can I reduce estrogen inflammation? ›

Treatment for high estrogen
  1. eating an anti-inflammatory or vegetarian diet.
  2. eating more soy, flaxseed, and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and kale.
  3. getting more omega-3 fatty acids in the diet or taking a supplement.
  4. maintaining a moderate weight.
  5. reducing stress.
  6. limiting or stopping alcohol consumption.

How long does menopause weight gain last? ›

Most people gain 5-8% of their baseline body weight in the first two years of menopause. This is due to slower metabolism and lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise. Prevent fat gain by eating smaller portions, avoiding added sugars and adding fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet.

How much weight does the average woman gain during menopause? ›

If you've noticed weight gain during this transition, rest assured that you're not alone. It is quite common during menopause. In fact, the average woman gains about 5 pounds during this time. Your hormones change during menopause, and this may contribute to weight gain, but there are also other factors.

Why can't I lose weight in menopause? ›

As your estrogen levels decrease, your metabolism slows down. This makes you gain weight — even if you haven't changed a thing about the way you eat or move — and makes it harder to lose weight.

Why is my stomach so big during menopause? ›

This is likely due to a decreasing level of estrogen, which appears to influence where fat is distributed in the body. The tendency to gain or carry weight around the waist — and have an "apple" rather than a "pear" shape — might have a genetic component as well.

What are the 5 foods that burn belly fat? ›

7 Foods that Burn Belly Fat
  • Beans. “Becoming a bean lover can help you lose weight and whittle your middle,” registered dietitian Cynthia Sass told Today. ...
  • Swap your beef for salmon. ...
  • Yogurt. ...
  • Red bell peppers. ...
  • Broccoli. ...
  • Edamame. ...
  • Diluted vinegar.

How many calories should a menopausal woman eat to lose weight? ›

Speaking of calories: A sedentary older woman in her 50s and 60s should consume about 1600 calories per day. If you're more active, bump that up to 1800 calories. To lose one pound per week, you need a daily 500-calorie deficit, either through diet or exercise.

What diet is best for hormonal weight gain? ›

Yet another hormone found in the gut that has to do with appetite control, PYY needs to remain at relatively high levels in order to prevent overeating. Make sure you focus on a low-carb diet, with plenty of protein and fiber. This type of eating ensures the healthy balance of PYY to help prevent weight gain.

How do you reset your hormones to lose weight? ›

Eating enough protein causes the creation of peptide hormones, some of which decrease hunger and make you feel full. Other ways to reset hormones include regular exercise, reducing sugar consumption, minimising stress, and getting enough sleep.

How can a woman reset her metabolism? ›

Here are 9 easy ways to increase your metabolism.
  1. Eat plenty of protein at every meal. Eating food can temporarily increase your metabolism for a few hours. ...
  2. Drink more water. ...
  3. Do a high intensity workout. ...
  4. Lift heavy things. ...
  5. Stand up more. ...
  6. Drink green tea or oolong tea. ...
  7. Eat spicy foods. ...
  8. Get a good night's sleep.

What are the 3 main causes of inflammation? ›

These are the most common:
  • Pathogens (germs) like bacteria, viruses or fungi.
  • External injuries like scrapes or damage through foreign objects (for example a thorn in your finger)
  • Effects of chemicals or radiation.
23 Nov 2010

Does coffee cause inflammation? ›

Research suggests that coffee does not cause inflammation in most people—even if your norm is more than one or two caffeinated cups. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Coffee may have anti-inflammatory effects in the body.

What are the strongest natural anti inflammatories? ›

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids , which are abundant in fatty fish such as cod, are among the most potent anti-inflammatory supplements.

What removes inflammation from the body? ›

Follow these six tips for reducing inflammation in your body:
  • Load up on anti-inflammatory foods. ...
  • Cut back or eliminate inflammatory foods. ...
  • Control blood sugar. ...
  • Make time to exercise. ...
  • Lose weight. ...
  • Manage stress.
15 Jan 2020

Does magnesium help with inflammation? ›

Magnesium has been shown to help fight inflammation by reducing markers such as CRP and interleukin-6.

What is the fastest way to reduce chronic inflammation in the body? ›

To reduce inflammation fast, limit your intake of sugar and processed foods. Perhaps, more importantly, though, pursue exercise, stress-reducing behaviors, a good night's sleep, and a diet full of colorful, anti-inflammatory foods.

Does apple cider vinegar help with inflammation? ›

Apple cider vinegar is a strong anti-inflammatory so it can help decrease pain associated with an inflammatory condition, such as the multiple types of Arthritis. It also prevents lactic acid buildup in the muscles, which not only keeps energy high but also decreases soreness and achiness in the muscles.

Why does inflammation make it hard to lose weight? ›

Inflammation can also interfere with the body's response to leptin, a hormone that tells the brain when you've had enough to eat. If your brain doesn't receive this signal, it can cause you to eat more than necessary. Resistance to leptin is now thought to be a major driver of weight gain in humans.

How do you get rid of inflammation and belly fat? ›

7 foods to lower inflammation and reduce belly fat
  1. Legumes and wholegrain cereals. They control the insulin response; insulin resistance is connected to the increase of the body general inflammation. ...
  2. Omega-3. A diet based on a high percentage of omega-3 fatty acids reduces inflammation. ...
  3. Spices and herbs. ...
  4. Green tea. ...
  5. Water.
6 Mar 2014

How long does it take to clear chronic inflammation? ›

There are three distinct differences between acute inflammation that's a healthy part of your immune response and unhealthy chronic inflammation that is associated with disease: duration, cause and symptoms. Acute inflammation will only last a couple days to weeks, whereas chronic inflammation lasts months to years.

Does inflammation make you retain water? ›

People with long-term inflammation may experience water retention.

What causes constant inflammation in the body? ›

The most common reasons for chronic inflammation include: Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, where your body attacks healthy tissue. Exposure to toxins, like pollution or industrial chemicals. Untreated acute inflammation, such as from an infection or injury.

What foods are good for inflamed gut? ›

Suggestions for first foods after a flare include:
  • Diluted juices.
  • Applesauce.
  • Canned fruit.
  • Oatmeal.
  • Plain chicken, turkey or fish.
  • Cooked eggs or egg substitutes.
  • Mashed potatoes, rice or noodles.
  • Bread – sourdough or white.

What is a low inflammation diet? ›

To fight inflammation, go for whole, unprocessed foods with no added sugar: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans, lentils), fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, a little bit of low-fat dairy, and olive oil. "To these, many people add herbs and spices like cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric.

What are the 10 most inflammatory foods? ›

What foods cause inflammation?
  • Red meat and processed meats, including bacon, hot dogs, lunch meats and cured meats.
  • Refined grains, including white bread, white rice, pasta and breakfast cereals.
  • Snack foods, including chips, cookies, crackers and pastries.
  • Sodas and other sweetened drinks.
  • Fried foods.
29 Jun 2022


1. My Advice to Get Rid of Belly Fat
(Mary Claire Haver, MD)
2. Tips To Beat Menopausal Belly Fat
(Mary Claire Haver, MD)
3. Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition 101
(Mary Claire Haver, MD)
4. The What, Why and How of The Galveston Diet
(Mary Claire Haver, MD)
5. Perimenopause and Fasting
(Mary Claire Haver, MD)
6. What Supplements I Take In Menopause And Why
(Mary Claire Haver, MD)
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