The menopause can often be an uncomfortable time for women, viewed as something to be embarrassed about or ignored, we often try to suppress symptoms and hide them from others rather than embrace the change as a natural part of life. In many cultures, the menopause is seen as a time of wisdom where women are respected for the change and their gained clarity, in our culture however, it is not so positively considered. It further doesn’t help matters that the menopause has been classified as a ‘serious health condition’ since when was ageing a serious health condition? Well, for some, the experience can be so unbearable that it does indeed feel like a serious health condition so hopefully these tips will help gain some relief.
For some women, there may be underlying imbalances which make this experience even more uncomfortable and that’s when a bespoke nutritional and lifestyle consultation will benefit. Have a look at my services page for my details.
Around the menopause, our ovaries stop producing oestrogen so our adrenal glands take over for a while, these are our petrol tanks and having to do a job they wouldn’t normally do means they can run out of gas quicker leading to feeling tiredness.
We also have oestrogen receptors in our brain so when we run low on oestrogen, we can literally feel like we are losing our minds as our brain is starving for oestrogen.
Our hypothalamus (part of our brain responsible for many things such as temperature control) also has oestrogen receptors so when we starve our hypothalamus of oestrogen, we get hot flushes.
Our joints and the collagen there as well as in our skin also has oestrogen receptors and we may see changes when oestrogen levels decline. Also making our risk of fractures greater.
So, what do we need to support our bodies when going through the menopause?
- Eat more phytoestrogens (plant based oestrogens) such as flaxseeds.
- Consume sage and sage tea which reduces hot flushes.
- Reduce sugar in the diet as this suppresses oestrogen production further.
- Eat good quality proteins at every meal to support hormone transport within the body.
- Eat steamed greens to support the detoxification of hormones to avoid uncomfortable side effects of hormone byproducts.
- Eat foods which contain fermented soy such as tempeh and miso.
- Consume calcium rich foods to maintain bone density during menopause such as: cruciferous vegetables, beans and pulses.
- Maca powder, whilst expensive, can increase production of oestrogen so is good to take when peri menopausal.
- Lots of water!
- Good gut bacteria to help metabolise phytoestrogens into the active form- taking a probiotic or probiotic rich fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi are great.
What to avoid?
- Over cooked barbecued meats
- Trans fats such as margarine, biscuits, cakes, chocolate.
- Refined sugars.
- Stimulants which drain our adrenal glands further such as: Caffeine alcohol and smoking.
How does exercise help?
- Walking 30 mins 4-5 times a week stabilises blood sugar which supports the adrenal glands.
- Weight bearing exercise helps improve joints and maintain bone density.
Meals and snack ideas:
Miso soup with vegetables
Sautéed greens with sage
Roasted tempeh with Chinese greens
Lentil and beans stews
Poached eggs with asparagus and courgette soldiers
Herbal teas such as sage, raspberry leaf, green tea for antioxidants and amino acids, liquorice and nettle.
Visit my page again soon for menopause specific recipes!