Menopause can be a long, difficult transition for many women. It can begin in some women as early as there thirties and symptoms can last for years. Dealing with these changes myself for years, I have searched for ways to ease the uncomfortable changes with menopause. Aside from hormone therapy, exercising and good nutrition can make a difference in how you feel during and after menopause.
Optimizing the intake of specific nutrients together with small lifestyle changes can help to maintain health and comfort through this challenging life change.
A decrease in estrogen during menopause can cause dry skin. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day can help maintain your skin’s moisture. Drinking water also helps with the bloating that occurs with hormonal changes.
Your calcium intake needs to increase during menopause due to the loss of estrogen speeding up bone loss. Most women should be getting between 1,000-1,200 mg a day. Calcium can be added through calcium-rich foods and calcium supplements. Getting enough Vitamin D and Magnesium are also important for bone health and helps with calcium absorption.
-Yogurt, sardines, broccoli
-Oily fish, lentils, eggs, brown rice
-Halibut, nuts, grains, green leafy vegetables
It can be a challenge to avoid weight gain during and after menopause. Low fat, nutritious foods including fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins in proper portions can help you maintain your weight.
Eating fiber-rich foods, 25-35g a day, can help you feel full and satisfied as well as maintain a healthy cholesterol balance and stable blood sugar levels.
-Beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, avocados, pears, oatmeal, raspberries, quinoa
Free radicals play a role breaking down muscles in the aging process and are constantly formed in most cells and tissues. Antioxidants, such as Vitamins A, C and E, can help protect cells from the damage of free radicals.
-Carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, pumpkin
-Oranges, kiwi, lemon, berries, peppers, kale
-Avocado, almonds, hazelnuts, spinach, olive oil
Alcohol, sugar, caffeine and spicy foods can trigger hot flashes, urinary incontinence and mood swings. Stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine can hinder the absorption of nutrients and produce heat in the body. Too much sugar can contribute to imbalances in blood sugar as well as weight gain. Foods high in saturated and trans fats can reduce absorption of the omega-3 and 6 fats and may also hinder calcium absorption.
Power of Exercise
Keeping physically active can help with appetite, digestion, weight control, agility, heart and bone health, and most of all… your emotional health! A combination of exercise is important to create the balance necessary for overall health.
Bone Density and Lean Muscle
Heart Health and Circulation
Core Stability and Flexibilty
-yoga, pilates, stretching
Hormone Balance Power Foods
The drop in estrogen levels which occurs during menopause leaves women more at risk for cardiovascular disease. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, seem to have the ability to regulate and lower cholesterol levels in the blood, as well as improving the ratio of good and bad cholesterol. They can also help relieve depression and anxiety, often experienced with menopause
Sardines and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids, and sardines are also a good source of calcium. Calcium is essential to a woman’s health we age, since it helps to build strong bones, thereby reducing the risk of osteoporosis, a condition common among menopausal women. Most women should get at least 1,000 to 1,500 mg of calcium from food per day.
Fatty fish contains vitamin D. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Levels of vitamin D can decline, as you get older, so ask your doctor whether you need a supplement.
NUTS & SEEDS:
Nuts are a great source of vitamin E, especially almonds and hazelnuts, which may help for vaginal dryness, skin and hair condition.
Most nuts and seeds contain calcium, which keeps bones strong and also magnesium, which is the second most commonly deficient mineral in women. It is important in the absorption of calcium that will help protect against osteoporosis during menopause.
Nuts and seeds are good sources of essential fats. Flaxseeds and chia are rich in omega-3 fats. They contain plant-based estrogens that may help reduce symptoms of menopause.
Whole grains contain zinc and magnesium for libido and mood boosting. Magnesium also helps with calming and bone health. Zinc is also needed to boost the immune system and helps to build strong bones, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
Beans are loaded with complex carbohydrates, as well as calcium, iron, folic acid, B vitamins, zinc, potassium and magnesium. They contain large amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol and normalize blood sugar.
Yogurt contains calcium and magnesium for bone health.
Eggs contain magnesium, vitamin D, and iron to help fatigue.
Vitamin-C rich fruit can help to minimize hot flashes and fluid retention. Dried fruits, such as figs and apricots, contain calcium and iron. Phytoestrogens are plant chemicals that are very similar in structure to estrogen, and may trick your body into thinking it has more estrogen than it really does, potentially reducing some of the discomforts caused by lower estrogen levels during menopause.
Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants and also help to reduce bad LDL cholesterol.
Tomatoes contain potassium and vitamin C important for your immune system and skin health.
Leafy greens and onions are high in vitamin-C, which can help with fluid retention and weight control and are also a source of calcium.
Sweet potatoes are rich in natural progesterone and vitamin E to help hot flashes.
Avocados are rich in vitamin C, E and calcium.
Broccoli can help protect against estrogen dominance and breast cancer.
Beets contain high levels of carotenoids and flavonoids, which are known to protect artery walls as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, they contain iron and also boost bone health, due to their calcium content, thus reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Cabbage is high in fiber, vitamin A and minerals, cabbage stimulates the immune system, kills bacteria and viruses, inhibits growth of cancerous cells, protects against tumors, helps control estrogen levels and promotes balance, improves blood flow and boosts sex drive.
Try this Hormone Balance Smoothie