Let’s face it – menopause is part of our lives! But that doesn’t mean we have to suffer! We are not helpless when it comes to unwelcome side effects and long-term health implications. You can embrace menopause and make this the time of your life. I assure you, it is possible.
This article will focus on what you can do yourself to help you through this time, reduce the side effects and possible future health issues. In addition, I will touch on weight gain because it’s a subject that concerns many women.
Besides the uncomfortable hot flushes, mood swings, dry skin, insomnia, and even anxiety, we have to deal with increased health risks. The good news is that you can help your body and protect yourself against the risks from Type 2 Diabetes 2, heart disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even dementia.
Lifestyle changes are significant in preventing and managing symptoms starting with the foods you eat. Follow the Mediterranean diet – fresh fruit and vegetables, pulses, olives, olive oil, whole grains, fish, small amounts of lean meat, nuts, seeds, eggs, and dairy. The Mediterranean diet will not only help you keep your weight in check, but it will also help your cholesterol levels and balancing blood pressure, too!
Phytoestrogens can help – these are foods that can affect you in the same way as estrogen produced by the body.
- cruciferous veg (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc.)
- sesame seeds
- ground flax and sunflower seeds
- almonds and walnuts,
- dried apricots (careful, they are very high in sugar!)
- tofu and edamame
You can add any food from this list to each meal and add some phytoestrogens to your diet every day!
You should also avoid white flour, trans fats in spreads, cakes, biscuits, and too much sugar. Be aware that coffee and alcohol can trigger hot flushes!
There is a whole range of nutrients to help with menopause symptoms, all of which I cover in my online course ‘Embrace your Menopause’ on Living Healthy List Academy.
Include Omega 3 in your diet for beautiful skin and a fit brain! You can find it in oily fish, chia seeds, and flax seeds. Help your bones with additional calcium from dairy products like milk and yoghurt, green leafy vegetables, and almonds.
Eat more B6 to support your calm mood and general mental wellbeing. You can find it in kidney beans, cauliflower, and broccoli.
Don’t forget Vitamin B12, which fights tiredness and mood swings. As you age, your body loses some of its ability to absorb vitamin B-12, and your risk of vitamin B-12 deficiency increases. Eat tuna, eggs, and lean meat on occasion.
Now that you know which foods to eat it is time to look at your lifestyle. Lifestyle is a big part of the list, too! If you smoke, now is a good time to stop. It triggers hot flashes. Listen to your body and its needs. Try meditation or breathing exercises to support your mental health and to avoid and reduce stress.
Most importantly, exercise regularly – daily would be good! And it doesn’t matter if you are active regularly or have never done any exercise before – now is the time to ramp it up! You will sleep better and protect yourself against conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Regular exercise can help reduce the loss of muscle mass, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight. It may also reduce symptoms of joint pain. And it’s the absolute best when you feel grumpy and irritable. Move your body. My mantra remains the same: whatever you do, do a bit more!
Menopause causes your body to reserve energy more, so you won’t burn calories and fat as efficiently, leading to weight gain. Even worse, menopausal women are also more prone to gaining weight around their midline, which may affect how your pancreas does its job of releasing insulin.
To help your pancreas, you need to increase your heart rate. All the gentle exercises like yoga and Pilates and walking are fine, but you must get out of breath, break a sweat and do that as often as possible!
Now is the time to regain your confidence!
Look not only on the physical side of things but on the mental side, too. Your body will change, your way of thinking and working may change. But that shouldn’t define you.
Don’t compare yourself – not with your younger self and not with other ladies. Even though you are all going through the same, your experiences will differ. Some women sail through menopause; others suffer physically and mentally. Look at what you have achieved: friendships, family, maybe a career, all the challenges you have conquered, and the years of life experience nobody can take away from you.
Lots of my clients tell me that now the children are out of the house, they finally have the time to look after themselves, eat well, exercise, find new hobbies and adopt new habits.
And don’t be shy. If you are suffering, speak to your doctor or a health professional. If you are fed up with being the victim of menopause and want to learn how you can support your body now and in the future, have a look at my online course or get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every step you take will make a difference!
You are not helpless!
HRT – yes or no?
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and can’t advise on HRT.
HRT works for many women and helps reduce menopausal symptoms and feel better. But HRT is linked to several health issues, including an increased risk of developing breast cancer and type 2 diabetes. Women are more prone to dementia because of the loss of estrogen that occurs during menopause. However, at this time, HRT is currently not recommended for dementia prevention.
Hormone therapy may or may not be the right choice for you. There are some encouraging findings of bio-identical HRT, too. In addition, there is a wide range of homeopathic and herbal remedies. It is essential to speak to your doctor if you decide to start any treatment or self-medication.
How will I know if I’m going through menopause if I’ve had a hysterectomy?
If you have undergone a hysterectomy, you may be unaware that you’re going through menopause unless you experience hot flashes. Additionally, if you’ve had an endometrial ablation and your ovaries are intact, you may also be unaware. Endometrial ablation is the removal of the lining of your uterus as a treatment for heavy menstruation.
If you don’t have any symptoms, a blood test can determine if your ovaries are still functioning and find your estrogen level, which may be beneficial if you’re at risk of osteoporosis. Your estrogen status may be important in determining whether you need a bone density assessment. Talk to your doctor or medical professional.
Alcohol also affects you when in menopause.
-increased night sweats and insomnia, mood swings and depression can worsen, increased risk of cancer, especially breast cancer, increased risk of weight gain, and heart problems are all associated with alcohol use.
I suggest that you cut down on sugar and caffeine, add more vitamin C to help hot flushes, Omega 3 and other healthy fats, B6 (cauliflower, banana, kidney beans), zinc, magnesium (almonds, cashew nuts, peas)
Difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Lastly, as I mentioned earlier women have a higher risk factor for dementia. What Is Dementia? Dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms, including impaired memory and thinking.
Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia, causing as many as 50-70% of all dementia cases. In fact, Alzheimer’s is a very specific form of dementia.
The best way to lessen or potentially avoid the negative side of menopause is to think positively, live a healthy lifestyle, eat right, exercise, and manage your stress. Many women will live 30 plus years after menopause and it can be a great time in life.
Carola is a forward-thinking Nutritionist, Fitness Instructor, and international speaker.
She designs workplace wellbeing programs with companies and organizations to help create healthier and happier teams. Wellbeing programs are designed around the needs of the organization, and empower people to take responsibility for their way of eating and living: for increased stress resilience, better performance, and mental health.
Carola is an international speaker and presenter, her passion is brain performance and mental wellbeing. Amongst her clients are the European Athletics Coaching Association, and she is a member of the complementary therapies team at University of Exeter.
Carola also runs luxury wellbeing retreats and corporate away days in the most stunning locations all over the world.
She personally looks after a small number of clients worldwide with her Exclusive Personal Nutrition Coaching.
Read Carola’s recent article: Why Nutrition is Vital for Mental Health. – https://www.carolabecker.com/blog/why-nutrition-is-vital-for-your-mental-health