Some women sail through menopause while others find that is dominated by disruptive symptoms such weight gain, joint pain, night sweats, irritable bowel, mood swings and depression, and hot flashes. It doesn’t have to be like this if the imbalances are identified.
Applying diet, lifestyle changes and supplementation can have a powerful influence to dampen down the changes to hormonal balance with age.
This can also be a time for women to be transformed by menopause in other ways: emotional healing, the emergence of a new understanding of who they are and what they want, expression of dormant creativity, and even total reinvention. This is your time to explore emotions and dreams you may have put on hold or buried away and forgotten long ago. This is also a time to approach life positively and brings a wonderful opportunity to get to know our bodies and ourselves in a much deeper way and to use the information we gain to chart a new course for the second half of our lives.
Like all big opportunities, however, it requires understanding, interpretation, planning and consistency. If you are feeling down or discouraged about the state of your body and/or your life, I want to reassure that there is hope. You can get your symptoms under control and feel good again.
It’s important at all times, but especially during times of transition such as menopause, that we make the best choices we can to nourish and support our bodies and our lives. Eating whole foods, organic when possible, and not packaged or processed foods forms the foundation of a sensible diet. Home cooking is also recommended as you have control over fat, protein, carbohydrate quality as well as cooking methods.
Balance is key and your plans can be designed to keep your metabolism fully charged and well supported with healthy proteins, fats and fiber. An important component is to consume healthy fats in the form of olive oil, avocados, grass-fed butter, fish oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds.
If your hormones are out of balance, additional plant-based support and supplementation to restore that balance is also suggested to help speed relief and heal and restore balance. Results can be amazing!
If you have digestive concerns of any kind, a probiotic is often a great boost as the gut flora can have quite an impact on digestion, mood and immunity
Making even small dietary changes and some basic lifestyle shifts such as getting more sleep can reduce stress and help with insulin induced anxiety. Looking to find the right exercise for our body shape and what we enjoy is crucial for long term commitment. As we age, resistance is the key and not cardio as benefits younger people.
If your menopause is becoming more than just a set of annoying symptoms and disrupting your life, consulting an integrative clinician is a great investment. Looking at hormone balance, food intolerances, brain activity, sleep, low energy and fatigue are all sensitive health issues with strong links to foods and nutrient imbalances.
- Cheng, Chao-Chun, MS; Hsu, Ching-Yun, MD, PhD; Liu, Jen-Fang, MD, PhD(2018) Effects of dietary and exercise intervention on weight loss and body composition in obese postmenopausal women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Menopause:25(7):772-782.
- Hajirahimkhan A, Dietz BM, and Bolton JL (2013) Botanical modulation of menopausal symptoms: Mechanisms of action. Planta Med. 79(7): 538–553.
- Samir T et al(2014) Nutritional status and dietary habits of menopausal women. Food in health and disease, scientific-professional journal of nutrition and dietetics.3(2): 116-125