Nutrition can empower women through menopause alongside medicine

THERE’S A SENSE of gathering momentum round menopause which may be very thrilling after so a few years the place girls have suffered in silence.

We’ve had an fascinating debate within the UK, following Davina’s documentary and I see that you simply’re having related discussions in Ireland.

I feel that we’re the primary technology unwilling to “put up and shut up” and the advantages of this open dialogue round menopause are large as a result of it’s so vital that ladies have quick access to all of the completely different choices which are out there to them. 

One of the very well-kept secrets and techniques round menopause is that it begins a lot earlier and lasts for much longer than you would possibly count on. Although we use the time period “menopause” as a catch-all time period for the entire transition part, technically the menopause is simply in the future – that day when it’s been 12 months since your final interval.

After that, you’re formally post-menopausal, though signs should still linger for a short while as your physique adjusts to the hormonal change.

Nutrition as help

The perimenopause is the pre-menopausal part and that is when all of the enjoyable and video games actually begin. Hormonal adjustments will be happening within the background out of your early 40s onwards and progesterone is usually the primary hormone to begin to fluctuate which might result in cognitive and psychological signs comparable to nervousness, low temper or mind fog.

While these are sometimes an early warning signal that the menopause is on its approach, many ladies don’t instantly make the connection, as a result of they assume they’re too younger and so they’re nonetheless having common intervals.

One factor that emerged within the latest Liveline conversations round menopause is the surprising variety of perimenopausal girls prescribed antidepressants by their medical doctors when a hormonal method might have been extra acceptable. The perimenopause can go on for a number of years with various levels of signs as a result of ups and downs of oestrogen and progesterone. 

As a dietary therapist who specialises in girls’s well being and the menopause, it’s been a continuing supply of frustration to me that there isn’t sufficient accessible info on the market, particularly across the essential function that weight-reduction plan and life-style play in serving to to stability hormones and relieve menopause signs.

This is why I launched my podcast The Happy Menopause and went on to jot down my ebook The Happy Menopause: Smart Nutrition to Help You Flourish.

Not each girl can take hormone alternative remedy (HRT) so a dietary method is essential in these instances and even if you’re taking it, a balanced weight-reduction plan supplies your physique with the instruments to optimise the motion of HRT, in order that it really works as successfully as attainable.

Either approach, specializing in weight-reduction plan and life-style is a win-win for ladies in midlife!
It’s vital to do not forget that menopause isn’t one thing new – girls have been going via this for millennia and naturally, Mother Nature has a backup plan to help us via the transition and preserve us match and effectively. 

Blood sugar balancing act

The human physique is a fancy and intelligent high-performance machine, so it takes motion as oestrogen manufacturing within the ovaries begins to say no. This job is taken over by the adrenal glands, that are two peanut-shaped glands that sit simply above the kidneys and so they’re programmed to launch a weak type of oestrogen post-menopause. 

The catch is that the adrenal glands additionally produce our stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline and since the physique will all the time prioritise the lifesaving “battle or flight” response, persistent stress can disrupt the back-up technique for oestrogen manufacturing.

I see so many midlife girls in my clinic who’re juggling the pressures of labor with a busy household life, caring for aged kin and usually being the glue that holds all the pieces collectively – it’s a troublesome mixture which will be immensely aggravating, and this ongoing stress has a direct influence on the severity and longevity of menopause signs. 

From a scientific diet perspective my first method is to concentrate on a hormone-balancing method which regulates ranges of stress and intercourse hormones. For me, the primary place to start out with that is blood sugar stability.

Every time your blood sugar drops, the physique releases the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which can merely exacerbate the hormone imbalance and make all the pieces worse. 

The finest method to stability blood sugar is to keep away from sugary meals and refined carbohydrate which trigger a spike and purpose for a mix of complicated carbohydrate (e.g. wholemeal bread, brown rice or greens) and protein (e.g. meat, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts & seeds) with each meal and snack.

The physique burns via complicated carbohydrate extra slowly, conserving you going for longer. Protein is difficult to digest, so it slows down the discharge of the carbohydrate even additional, sustaining that stability and serving to to maintain sugar cravings at bay. I dedicate a complete chapter to blood sugar stability in my ebook, as a result of getting these fundamentals proper could make an enormous distinction to managing menopause signs. 

Here are three easy adjustments you may make to enhance your well being and wellbeing in midlife:

  1. Eat extra protein – not solely will this stability your blood sugar (see above), but it surely helps in a number of different methods. Women can lose as much as 40% of muscle mass by the point they’ve gone via the menopause and we’d like protein to construct muscle tone. It’s additionally very important for sturdy bones and lack of bone density is a critical concern for ladies post-menopause. Our pores and skin, hair and nails are all manufactured from protein, so we have to give our physique the constructing blocks to maintain them sturdy and wholesome. 

  2. Eat two handfuls of inexperienced greens – comparable to spinach, rocket, broccoli, kale or cabbage every single day. These are a one-stop store of menopause-friendly vitamins: they’re a very good plant supply of iron, related for ladies coping with heavy intervals and flooding; they include twice as a lot calcium per 100g as milk, which helps to construct sturdy bones; they’re filled with vitamin C, which the physique makes use of to make collagen, a key element of wholesome bones and plump, elastic pores and skin; they’re wealthy in magnesium which helps muscle operate, metabolises calcium and performs a key function in vitality manufacturing and a wholesome nervous system. 

  3. Add a tablespoon of floor flaxseed to your morning cereal or smoothie. This incorporates phytoestrogens known as lignans, that are plant compounds that affect our oestrogen receptors. Although the proof base is inconclusive, some research counsel that common consumption of flaxseed will help to cut back sizzling flushes and evening sweats. As flaxseed can be stuffed with protein and fibre to stability blood sugar, in addition to being a superb supply of omega 3 fatty acids which promote coronary heart well being, it’s an ideal wholesome possibility in any case. 

These easy steps are simply among the many ways in which weight-reduction plan and life-style will help to advertise your well being and wellbeing in the course of the menopause.

I’d like to see a world the place diet sits centre stage alongside the medical method, as a result of it’s such an vital piece of the jigsaw and will make an actual distinction to so many ladies.

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Momentum is rising and because the first technology to talk out in regards to the menopause, I consider we’re laying the groundwork for our daughters and granddaughters to have a a lot happier time of it.

Of course, there’s a lot to construct on, however the present conversations are permitting us to maneuver on from the errors of the previous and recognise simply how vital it’s to supply simply accessible well being info and help to girls in midlife. 

Jackie Lynch is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and Founder of the WellWellWell diet clinic the place she specialises in girls’s well being and the menopause. She is the host of the favored weight-reduction plan and life-style podcast The Happy Menopause and her ebook The Happy Menopause: Smart Nutrition to Help You Flourish is out now. Follow her on social media at @WellWellWellUK.


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