What Is Menopause?
The menopause is caused by a fall in the amount of the hormone estrogen produced by the ovaries. Menopause is a time of transition, the end of the fertile years and an individual experience for every woman.
The decline or absence of estrogen can mean changes to energy levels, memory, bone health, hormones, urinary and heart health.
Good nutrition and small lifestyle changes can help to maintain a healthy menopause. Exercising and eating right can make a real difference to how you feel – and can help to maintain health during and after the menopause.
Nutrition And Menopause
Researches are focused on the effects of optimal nutrition on the health and well-being of women around the time of the menopause.Taking specific nutrients, together with small lifestyle changes can offer significant help in maintaining a healthy menopause and make a real difference to how women feel.
Balance Your Hormones
Phytoestrogens such as soy Isoflavones found in soya beans, tofu, soya milk, soya flour and other soya based products are associated with a wide range of positive health benefits.
Soy’s two prominent isoflavones are genistein and daidzein. Once in the digestive tract, isoflavones are converted to the phytoestrogen composition by bacteria. While weaker than the body’s estrogen, these ‘phytoestrogens’ may help to maintain health at menopause.
New research demonstrates that soy isoflavones also act as antioxidants – helping to inhibit the production of free radicals, which are associated with ageing.
As estrogen levels diminish in the female body during the menopause, bone density may lessen and can contribute to osteoporosis (brittle bones).
Increasing calcium intake ( in milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines or small fish with bones, vegetable such as broccoli, as well as nuts and seeds) may help support a healthy bone density.
Boost The Immune System
Besides Vitamin C,zinc, iron,copper,vitamin E and B-complex can also help to maintain a healthy immune system.
Selenium and vitamins A, C and E act through their antioxidant action, while zinc, magnesium and copper act as co-factors in antioxidant enzymes.
Immune System Nutrients
Here you can find which nutrients can improve your immune system.
You can find it in: shellfish, liver, oxtail and corned beef, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, nuts, and cheese.
You can find it in : heme-Iron from; meat and fish sources – beef, pork, lamb, eggs and seafood, (pick red meats that are lean). Non-heme iron from: green leafy vegetables, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, collard greens, mustard greens, kale, parsley, cabbage, dried beans and certain fortified foods – cereals, oatmeal.
Dried fruits : apricots, raisins, dates – prunes, figs.
You can find it in:liver, sesame seeds, raw cashews, soybeans, barley, raw sunflower seeds
You can find it in: Brazilian nuts,wheat germ, kidney and liver, oily fish including tuna, sunflower seeds, lentils, cashew nuts)
Free Radicals are an important factor in the ageing process and are constantly formed in most cells and tissues. They are typically scavenged by antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E.These antioxidants may help support the body from free radical damage.
Vitamin E is thought to help maintain the heat regulation capacity of the body and reduce the breakdown of the body’s progesterone, hence it may help to maintain a healthy body temperature as well as have benefits to the cardiovascular system.
Where To Find Them
- liver (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish)
- broccoli(especially in the leaves)
- sweet potatoes
- leafy vegetables
- rose hips
- berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries)
- spring greens
- nuts( such as almonds or hazelnuts and seeds)
- spinach and other green leafy vegetables.
- vegetable oils like sunflower and olive oil
- wheat germ, wholegrain foods, milk and asparagus
Other Nutrients For A Healthy Menopause
- brown rice
- whole grain flour (rye or wheat)
- pork liver (beef or pork)
Avoid Mood Swings
B vitamins play an important role in the central nervous system,helping to maintain emotional balance during the menopause.
Vitamin B6: good sources include meats, whole grain products, vegetables, and nuts.
Vitamin B12: meat, dairy products and eggs.
Vitamin B3(niacin):essentially found in meat, wheat germ, dairy products, and yeast
Folate found in leafy vegetables such as spinach, turnip greens, lettuces, dried beans and peas, fortified cereal products, sunflower seeds and certain other fruits and vegetables. Liver and liver products also contain high amounts of folate.
Omega-3-rich foods you should try to work into your diet: up your intake by working oily fish (salmon, tuna, sardines), flaxseeds and/or flaxseed oil into your diet.
Soothe Hot Flashes
The Mediterranean diet which includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil and even a daily glass of red wine—is associated with healthier hearts and slimmer waists.
Additionally, new research shows that menopausal women who eat a Mediterranean-style diet are about 20 percent less likely to report hot flashes and night sweats.
In contrast, women eating a high-fat, high-sugar diet are more likely to experience those symptoms.
Researchers believe that the high fiber content of a Mediterranean diet may stabilize estrogen levels, which in turn can lessen symptoms. The diet also helps keep blood sugar in an optimal range, which may be a factor in relieving menopause discomfort as well.
These recommendations are given to sooth the menopause symptoms so women can handle that period in their lives more easily.
- Eat little and often to maintain blood sugar levels. Complex carbohydrates, such as oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice, may help sustain energy release, as blood sugar levels may have an effect on menopausal symptoms
- Avoid sugary foods, junk food/ highly processed food, which can be high in salt and additives as well as sugar which can contribute to imbalances in blood sugar as well as weight gain
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit, most are rich in potassium to help support a healthy fluid retention. Fresh vegetables, especially dark leafy vegetables, which provide micro nutrients
- Drink plenty of filtered water, to ensure good hydration and help maintain body temperature and fluid balance. Soy milk, a good source of protein, and may also contain phytoestrogens. Freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juice. Herbal teas such as red clover
- Limit stimulants such as alcohol, coffee and tea – which can hinder the absorption of nutrients and produce heat in the body
- Limit or moderate your intake of salt, too much can affect blood pressure and water retention
- Limit saturated fat – which can affect blood lipid levels, the arteries and heart health
- Avoid spicy foods and hot foods and drinks and these can often make menopausal symptoms worse
- Exercise more:keeping physically active during this time of change can help with many different health aspects: appetite, digestion, weight control, agility, heart health and bones health – and can have a powerful, positive effect on emotions, mental health and your love life.
- Give up smoking (it’s a big risk factor in osteoporosis and smoking doubles your odds of developing heart disease)
- Maintain a healthy body weight and lean body mass
- Keep a positive attitude. Get emotional support.Chat to friends or your doctor if necessary.
- Stress control : learn to relax, take 30 minutes each day to do something just for you
- Sleep in a cool room
- Dress in layers for easier temperature control
- Carry a small battery operated hand fan to help to cool down when needed. A water vaporiser spay may also be helpful, and carrying a small bottle of cool drinking water.
- Laugh and enjoy yourself!