Let’s face it, ladies. Menopause sucks. For those going through it, it’s exhausting, unwanted and often embarrassing. For those yet to experience it, the prospect fills us with dread. But it’s not all doom, gloom and hot flushes. In this article, I explore some of the ways women can help themselves through this challenging life-stage.
The ups and downs of menopause
If you’re aged between 40 and 58, you’re statistically ripe to experience menopause. The average is around 51. And how it presents – or it’s endocrinological and clinical features – are numerous. Weight gain. Hot flushes. Mood swings. Insomnia. Fatigue. Memory lapses. Even reading the list is exhausting.
Although it’s important to remember not every woman will experience all these symptoms all at the same time, the bad news is you are likely to experience most of them at some point. But before things get too bleak, let’s look at ways to minimise some of the worse aspect of menopause.
The power of exercise
Exercise is great at any stage of life. But it’s particularly helpful for peri-menopausal or menopausal women wanting to manage symptoms. There are many benefits for women to exercise into menopause, so supporting yourself nutritionally to help you stay as active as possible is vital.
Some of the benefits are of exercising include:
Eat to treat
Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms that often increase before menopause, peaking two to three years after onset before tapering off again.
Some of the triggers include obvious factors, like stress, smoking, a high BMI and SSRI’s. But even coffee, spicy foods, alcohol, sugar and citrus fruits can all contribute. So it’s important to keep an eye on what you consume.
Studies have shown that consuming 50-100 mg/day of isoflavones from food seems to be a safe amount to help relieve hot flushes. And not hard to find isoflavones in several delicious forms and relatively small quantities:
A small note: it’s best to get isoflavones from food rather than supplements. Isoflavone supplements might interfere with thyroid function and inhibit mineral absorption, so stick with whole food sources wherever possible.
Build them bones
Osteoporosis is another concern for menopausal women. Understandably so. But there are plenty of ways you can preserve bone mass before and during menopause:
Swing your mood to the positive
Mood swings can be a common symptom of menopause. But smart nutritional choices can play a foundational role in stabilising the most extreme mood swings.
Above all, don’t take The Change lying down. There’s plenty you can do – and plenty to look forward to.
If you’d like to learn more about how nutrition can be used as a potent tool to help alleviate menopausal symptoms, then contact me to book a consultation.
Vegan. Plant-based. Same-same, right? Well, that would explain why both are so often used as easy substitutes for each other. But not so fast. There’s a huge difference between the two. In this article, we pick them apart.
Think about all the diet and health posts you’ve come across in the past week or so. Now try to remember how many had the words ‘vegan’ or ‘plant-based’ in them. Chances are, both terms appeared side-by-side, as if one and the same. They’re not. And the fundamental difference is that veganism encompasses more than just a way of eating.
Veganism is a life choice that categorically declares, “I refuse to use animal products. Period.” And this extends beyond simply diet. We’re talking clothing, body care products and holding a firm ethical stance against product testing on animals in any form.
But let’s bring our focus back a little. To that of diet. And in this sense, ‘plant-based’ and ‘vegan’ are kindred spirits. Both abstain from eating animal products and instead eat plant foods in their most natural forms. I know some vegans can get caught up in the whole ‘processed food and vegan treats’ debate. So, for this post I’m calling it a ‘plant based vegan diet’ (PDVD).
And PDVDs have so much going for them. Let me count the ways:
Published studies that show women in countries where they eat very little meat and animal products have much lower rates of breast cancer. Studies into men with prostate cancer have also shown that early intervention with a vegan diet can result in a reversal or decrease in the progression of the cancer. And there have been several studies showing that people following a vegan diet live on average 3-6 years longer than those who are not.
So, exactly how do you implement a PBVD? Well, it all begins with the biggest fundamental of any diet: meeting your nutritional and caloric requirements. And that’s all about planning and understanding what your body needs.
People who find they do not thrive are usually the ones who skipped doing their research. Or avoided seeking professional help to make sure they are covering all their macro- and micronutrient requirements. Because if you are consuming a wide-enough variety and a large-enough quantity of plant foods, your nutritional needs can easily be met.
And the benefits are impressive. Increased energy. Clearer skin. A reduction in PMS, allergies and migraines. More information and research is becoming available almost daily on PBVD benefits. And with so much going for them, it’s small wonder people are switching to PBVDs at rates never previously seen.
If you’re interested in adopting a PBVD (but don’t know where to start) or you already eat this way (but aren’t entirely sure if it meets your entire dietary requirement), contact me for a consultation today.