Maximise optimal nutrition:
We have heard all of this before, but it is true – the most effective medicine that exists is in the food that you eat!So you should strive to eat a balance of good fats, complex carbohydrates, proteins and plenty of fruits and vegetables at every meal, including breakfast. Have a good ratio between raw and cooked foods and reduce refined carbohydrates and sugars.Phytoestrogens are oestrogen hormone-like chemicals found in plants that bind with oestrogen receptor sites in the body cells, increasing the total oestrogenic effect and helping to keep hormones a little more balanced, particularly when the body’s own supply of oestrogen is low, such as post menopause. In countries where the population consume a predominately plant-based food diet, hot flushes and hormonal symptoms are thought to be minimal. Foods with the highest levels of phytoestrogens are flaxseeds and soy products (such as soy milk, soy yoghurt, tofu and tempeh).This study shows the analysis of 121 food types by Canadian researchers for their phytoestrogen content.
Herbal remedies: Plants and herbal remedies are used to treat menopausal symptoms around the globe. When choosing from the range of natural remedies for menopause symptoms, it can be difficult to know which is right for you and which one will be most effective for your symptoms. Choosing the right option depends on a number of factors including your symptoms, medical history, and individual concerns. As herbs have different actions in the body it is best to get professional advice from a naturopath or herbalist.Some herbs that can help reduce menopause symptoms include sage, black cohosh, red clover, chasteberry, wild yam, zizyphus, etc. It might take time to find the right combination of herbs for you – so just be patient!
Exercise to reduce the fat that can upset oestrogen and progesterone ratios A common symptom of menopause is weight gain, particularly around the abdomen. Fluctuating oestrogen levels tend to cause your body to hold on to fat, and fat produces oestrogen, which can then create more fat – it’s a vicious cycle!Physical activity during and after menopause offers many benefits.Try these health and fitness tips:
Prevent weight gain
Women tend to lose muscle mass and gain abdominal fat around menopause. Even slight increases in physical activity can help prevent weight gain. Watch the amount and type of fat in your diet and cut back on sugar. Eat more complex carbohydrates and fibre in your diet, as they will help to balance blood sugars and keep you feeling full for longer.
Strengthen your bones
Physical activity and weight bearing exercise can slow bone loss after menopause, which lowers the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Too much phosphorus in the diet accelerates the loss of minerals such as calcium and magnesium from the bones. Phosphorus is found in red meat, processed foods and carbonated soft drinks. Reducing the amount of sodium such as salt, caffeine and protein (particularly proteins that come from animal products) can help the body maintain calcium stores.Choose more alkaline foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds to maintain calcium stores and eat foods rich in magnesium and boron to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Boron works in bone cells to preserve bone density. Good sources of boron are chickpeas, apples, pears, grapes, dates, raisins, avocado, broccoli, legumes and nuts such as walnuts and almonds.
Reduce the risk of breast cancer
Physical activity during and after menopause can help you lose excess weight or maintain a healthy weight, which may offer protection from breast cancer. Reduce or eliminate foods high in saturated fats, sugar and dairy. Increase foods high in fibre and anti-oxidants.
Reduce the risk of other diseases
Menopause weight gain can have serious implications for your health. Excess weight increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Regular physical activity can counter these risks and moving your body will improve your overall health. Choose an activity you like, even if it is gentle activity!
Boost your mood and relieve stress
Stress can be a major cause of imbalances in hormones and neurotransmitters that affect mood as well as mental function, thyroid function, digestive function, and especially blood sugar imbalances. Symptoms such as hot flushes and low libido have been lined to stress. Physical activity can improve your psychological health at any stage of life.
Dietary and lifestyle solutions that may help during menopause
Hot flushes:Some foods, such as coffee, alcohol, chocolate and spicy foods, can trigger or worsen hot flushes and night sweats . If you can’t stand the hot flushes and night sweats then it’s worth giving these things a miss.
Avoid snacking on sugary foods – these cause a rise and subsequent fall in blood sugar levels leaving you feeling tired and drained. Try fresh fruit, vegetable sticks or nuts.
Avoid alcohol and stimulating food and drinks in the evening; try calming and sedating teas such as Chamomile, Valerian, Vervain and Zizyphus one hour before bed. Yoga, tai chi, and meditating have all been shown to help you sleep.
Legumes, nuts and seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower and almonds contain vitamin E, zinc and calcium. These nutrients and the oils in nuts and seeds may help prevent dry skin and normalise hormone levels. Hydrate from the inside and drink more water.
Hair loss Eating a balanced diet rich in phytoestrogens (see above), vitamins and minerals is one of the most important ingredients for healthy hair. Essential fatty acids play a key role in maintaining your hair health and can be found in foods including salmon, tuna, herring, flaxseed oil, walnuts and almonds. Chemicals in perms and some dyes can be harsh on your hair so consider natural hair dyes and styles that complement your hair type. Avoid heat-based treatments like hair dryers and straighteners as they can compromise your scalp and hair health.