Posted on Apr 24, 2018, 11 p.m.
All ladies experience ups and downs in regards to menstrual cycles ranging from mood swings, cravings, acne, to cramps. Often ladies dream about the days without these common symptoms and wish for them to be no more, but one should be careful what you wish for as menopause will follow which can be a real treat as well, as published in the Journal of Women’s Health.
Ladies experienced in menopause can tell you it may be a bumpy ride, each person has a unique experience, but typically has similar symptoms. Menopause signifies the end of the menstrual cycle once and for all as the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, it is a transitional phase women gradually undergo typically beginning around 50 years of age, with symptoms including hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, and nights sweats, among others. Close to 90% of women seek help from healthcare professionals. While the symptoms can be challenging you are not powerless, what you consume can significantly influence how you feel.
It is not a massive secret that diet and health go hand in hand. To alter the way you feel you must alter your lifestyle, and that begins with diet. You can’t ward off menopause but you can do things to change your body, which will influence everything from sleep patterns to regulating emotions.
Water is still important, even more so during this time, be sure to get at least 8 glasses a day to maintain skin moisture and offset dryness caused by decreasing estrogen levels. It will also decrease bloating during perimenopause.
Walnuts are just like turkey and bananas offering a rich source of serotonin via tryptophan, which if the amino acid that produces this happy brain chemical. Serotonin levels drop during menopause causing moods swings, low energy, poor sleep, and cause cravings.
Fermented foods will directly impact the gut and serotonin. The gut is often called the second brain containing 95% of the serotonin in the body, which can influence feeling of anxiety and depression. Consuming more probiotic foods such as kimchi, kombucha, miso, kefir, and cultured vegetables will be of benefit.
Keeping up with calcium needs can’t be stressed enough as menopause loss of estrogen can speed up bone loss, aim to get at least 1,200 milligrams each day.
Green tea is not a magic cure but it has been shown to reduce bone fractures among menopausal women. Catechin which is an antioxidant and flavonoid within green tea has been shown to improve symptoms of overactive bladders in menopausal women.
Flaxseed contains lignans which is a phytochemical which has estrogenic effects on the body, and has been shown to decrease menopause symptoms and increase quality of life in studies.
A study of 116,000 women found that high consumption of vitamin D and calcium cut risk of early menopause by 13-17%. Higher intakes of omega-3 reduce severity of symptoms. These reasons make eating oil fish a great food choice as it is rich in essential nutrients.
Dark leafy greens offer a wide range of nutrients including iron, folate, calcium, vitamin K, improving digestive health while lowering risk of osteoporosis. Magnesium rich choices help level hormones, so be sure to eat lots of things like mustard greens, watercress, spinach, kale, and collard greens.
Soy can help relieve hot flashes, so you might want to try some tofu or edamame. Whole grains such as barley, quinoa, brown rice, and steel cut oatmeal provided much needed iron and fiber to help boost energy, manage stress, and boost digestive system functions.
The sooner you change your diet the better, it’s never too late or too early. If aiming to alleviate menopause symptoms focus on low fat, as close to vegetarian as possible, cutting out most animal proteins, sugary foods, processed foods, spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine.
Becoming more physically active will help control weight and promote heart health while strengthening bones, helping to prevent fractures as it improves bone density. So enjoy that walk, take the stairs, ride that bike, garden, try yoga, every bit helps, and remember fruits and vegetables make great low calorie snacks as a win win to fill you up and help meet nutritional needs.
Keep in mind each woman has a unique menopause journey, so it’s important to try and listen to your body, keep a positive open mind, an active body, and wholesome diet, healthy lifestyle choice can go a long way.
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