The menopause is a natural stage in your life and there a number of top tips to help you through this transition easily and comfortably.
The menopause is a time of change and your female hormones are going to be fluctuating up and down as you go through this stage until you come out the other side and into the postmenopause, when your hormones will stabilise. The more gradually you go through the menopause, the less hormone fluctuations you experience and the easier the transition. What you eat at this stage can make the difference between having a difficult or easy menopause.
There are a number of key points which should be emphasised for menopausal women.
- Stabilise blood sugar levels by reducing the amount of sugar and refined foods in the diet and eating little and often to reduce the toll on the adrenal glands
- Reduce or eliminate caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee which contribute to the blood sugar problem but also act as diuretics depriving the body of vital nutrients and trace elements
- Ensure a good intake of essential fatty acids from oily fish, nuts and seeds which help lubricate the joints, skin and vagina
- Avoid soft fizzy drinks which contain high levels of phosphorus and increase the risk of osteoporosis by increasing urinary calcium excretion
- Include a good intake of phytoestrogens in the diet from many sources and not just soya
Hot flushes and night sweats are among the most common and uncomfortable symptoms and their frequency and severity can vary from woman to woman. Certain foods and situations can trigger some hot flushes and these can include spicy foods, caffeinated drinks, alcohol and stressful situations.
Phytoestrogens can help alleviate menopausal symptoms so make sure you include plenty in your diet. Phytoestrogens are found in almost all fruit, vegetables and wholegrains but they are most beneficial when they are found in legumes, such as soya, lentil, peas and chickpeas.
You can use herbs to help with the menopausal symptoms. Black cohosh is the herb of choice for menopausal symptoms with the most research behind it. Dong quai has been found very helpful for menopausal problems such as regulation of hot flushes, and it is reported to help relieve mental and emotional upset. Agnus castus is helpful for general hormone balance through the perimenopause and menopause but especially for the mood swings. Sage can also reduce sweating associated with menopausal hot flushes. (see NHP’s Black Cohosh Nutrition Support www.naturalhealthpractice.com)
I always recommend that women take a good-quality multivitamin and mineral during the menopause. This supplement should contain vital nutrients for bone health, good levels of antioxidants to help slow down the ageing process, and other important vitamins and minerals, such as the B vitamins and chromium, to help keep blood-sugar levels balanced.
Are you getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids?
What many women think of as symptoms connected to the menopause can actually be related to not having enough essential Omega 3 fatty acids. The deficiency symptoms can include:
Dry, lifeless hair
- soft, easily frayed nails
- painful joints
- cracked skin on heels or fingertips
- depression and mood swings
- poor wound healing
- dry skin
- difficulty losing weight
- lack of motivation
Omega 3s vs Omega 6s
It is estimated that we are getting twenty five times more Omega 6 fats from our diet than Omega 3. Many of the women I see in the clinic have been taking evening primrose oil supplements – an Omega 6 fatty acid – for years and have not been eating enough Omega 3 oils, or taking them in supplement form, to counterbalance this. (You can now have a simple finger prick blood test to tell you if you have the correct levels of Omega 3 to Omega 6 in your body – see www.naturalhealthpractice.com)
The risk of osteoporosis increases with age especially after the menopause when oestrogen levels decline. Other risk factors are a family history of the disease, having a small frame and digestive problems. Some of these risks, like your family history, can’t be changed but there are plenty of things you can do to help prevent it.
The most important nutrients for your bones are without doubt calcium, magnesium and vitamin D so be sure that you eat foods rich in these nutrients. Trace minerals such as boron and manganese also play a role in calcium metabolism.
Calcium is the key component of bone, and essential for bone health throughout our lives. Calcium is found in dairy products but don’t forget that you can also get plenty of calcium from dark green leafy vegetables, like broccoli, fish with bones, tofu, nuts and seeds.
Vitamin D is necessary for healthy bones and teeth because it helps maintain good levels of calcium, which it does by increasing calcium absorption from food, as well as controlling how much calcium you lose in your urine. Much of your vitamin D is synthesised in your skin on exposure to sunlight but this manufacture will be blocked by sunscreen.
Magnesium is also essential for calcium to be absorbed properly in our bodies and bone density to be maintained. About 60% of the magnesium in our body can be found in your bones.
Finally, as well as eating a healthy, bone building diet a regular exercise programme is crucial for warding off osteoporosis. This is because the more physically active we are, the more bone we will build. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes exercise five times a week.
Menopause Retreat at Champneys – 21-23 August 2015
Natural Solutions to the Menopause and Prevention of Osteoporosis
Are you worried about the menopause, concerned about the side effects of HRT and want to learn how to prevent and treat osteoporosis naturally? If so you will want to spend this retreat with the UK’s leading nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD.
Come to this retreat to learn how to boost your energy, improve health, eliminate night sweats and hot flushes, vaginal dryness, mood swings, headaches, aching joints and increase your sex drive. Is soya good or bad? Find out the truth about ‘natural’ bioidentical hormones like progesterone.
For more information or to make a booking, please visit www.champneys.com or call 0843 316 2222
Glenville Nutrition Clinic, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD is the UK’s leading nutritionist specialising in women’s health. She is the Former President of the Food and Health Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine and the author of a number of internationally best selling books including her new book ‘Natural Solutions to the Menopause’ and also ‘Fat around the Middle’, ‘Osteoporosis – how to prevent, treat and reverse it’ and ‘The Natural Health Bible for Women’ or go to www.marilynglenville.com. Dr Glenville runs a number of clinics in Harley Street, London, Kent and Ireland. If you are interested in a consultation, you can contact Dr Glenville’s clinic on 01892 515905 or by email: email@example.com.