Simple Tips To Combat The Menopause
So this blog has taken a little longer than I had hoped, but now Christmas has been and gone and we have moved house, I can finally sit down and write up our successful Menopause talk.
Thank you to the 26 women who came and had a giggle at the little and large show, helping Imelda and I to raise over £175 to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. As promised, we have summed up the talk into 'take home pointers' so those who missed it can hopefully learn something new, and for those of you who came we have given the top tips and strategies that we covered - enjoy.
Firstly, how do you know you have had your menopause - simply put, it is 12 months without a period, which happens at the average age of 51 but bear in mind that 1 in 100 reach this point before they are 40. As many of you will have either heard or know, menopause can bring along some not so pleasant symptoms, in fact 70% of women will have menopause symptoms. These vary from:
These are a common, unpopular side effect of the menopause and normally last about 2 years, but some ladies can suffer for over 15 years. So how can you combat them - well known options are to lose weight if you are obese, and cut down on your alcohol and caffeine. However some other options include include soy into your diet (if your body can tolerate it). Soy can reduce hot flushes, but it is also known to increase calcium absorption in the intestines - great for improving bone density. A sage supplement, flax seeds and believe or not wearing a magnet in your pants (yes you read that right) can also reduce hot flushes!! One thing to remember is that every women’s menopause is unique to her, so what works for one person may not work for another, so keep trying different options, making sure you only try one at a time so you know which is working.
Basically you can experience symptoms similar to how you felt as teenager (great time to get your own back on your girls ;-) ) To help improve your mood here are a few simple options:
- Make sure you don’t cut out all carbs as your brain needs these for energy, just opt for more complex versions.
- Increase your vitamin B intake as this group of vitamins are involved in many aspects of brain function, so opt for eggs. oily fish, brown rice, cheese, fish and offal.
- Aim to control your blood sugar, so combine your complex carbohydrates with lean protein, and eat regularly - avoiding skipping meals.
- One of the proteins you may wish to increase in your diet is your tryptophan levels as this amino acid helps to increaseserotonin, so eat more turkey, cheese, oats and legumes
Sleep disturbances can be caused by many menopause factors - hot flushes, changes in hormone levels and night sweats, which all work to increase your adrenaline levels, keeping you awake at night. There are many strategies to help you sleep. One of them is to make sure you eat complex carbohydrates before you go to bed, and avoid high levels of protein, sugar, fat and liquids just before bed. Other nutritional tips are to reduce alcohol and caffeine (sorry). Another area to think about your sleep habits - we only have one body clock so the best way to regulate it is to go to bed and get up at round the same time every day. That way your body clock can get into a regular rhythm. You could also opt for a warm bath before bed, valerian root tea, or lavender spray on your pillow.
As our hormone levels change, it affects our joint health, and can commonly cause problems for backs, hips, knees, wrists and fingers. This area is a little trickier to deal with, but by using foam rollers and balls, introducing a stretch regime and making your muscles as balanced as possible, you are helping your joints as much as you can. And don’t forget your posture
Reduces Bone Density
1 in 2 women post menopause will suffer with osteoporosis, the silent disease. Due to the changes in our hormones, the balance between bone building cells and bone clearing cells alters causing more clearing away of bone and less building. The most important factor is to include some weight bearing and resistance training activities in your exercise routine as this helps to boost bone density. This doesn’t always need to be gym based, you can get gardening and digging, brisk walking, running, aerobics or any toning work. Nutrition wise increase your calcium levels and vitamin K levels ( cabbage, cashew nuts, dairy products, kale and sesame seeds), whilst also reducing your phosphorous levels that can be found in red meat, processed foods and fizzy drinks.
Sadly this is due to those pesky hormone changes again, making it easier to gain weight and harder to get rid of, especially around the waist. I could write a whole blog on this easily, but to sum up on the key areas you may want to look at addressing -
- Reducing stress levels as this increases your cortisol levels, which tells your body to store fat rather than burn it, especially around the tummy
- Use interval training where you can as this burn the most calories and also has some other great health benefits (reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke etc)
- Think how much you are eating - are you eating too much - passed the point of no longer being hungry. If you eat healthier but think you may over eat, look at mindful eating
- Look at what portions make up your plates - aim for a fistful of complex carbs, a palmful of lean protein, a handful of veg and a thumb end of healthy fat.
- To repeat myself - include some form of toning and/or weight training as this helps build lean muscles, which in turn burns more calories in everyday life.
There are many other menopause symptoms, but we have just touched the iceberg with the 6 big ones. But remember, don’t suffer in silence - there is plenty of help out there, just ask us if you need pointing in the right direction