The last thing I want to do is admit that I need to be thinking about peri menopause or menopause. But, I am a 47 year old woman. Here's the thing: of all the annoying aspects of menopause, almost every single one of them can be improved with quality nutrition. I mean, we should want to eat healthy anyway, this is just like the icing on the cake.
Just to prove my point, here is the list of some of the "crap" that comes along with menopause:
loss of control
A pelvic health physical therapist is your go to for control issues, but HYDRATION can really help with the bladder infections.
2. BODY COMPOSITION
Our change in hormones leads to a change in shape. Unfortunately, we will experience a decrease in lean mass and an increase in body fat......and more belly fat.
Quality Nutrition and Regular Exercise are our tools to combat this one.
3. BRAIN FUNCTION
trouble remembering things - oh boy....is this me!
Exercise, adequate sleep and recovery, managing stress and quality nutrition are what we need.
4. BREAST HEALTH
Our breasts and nipples may become more lumpy and tender. Unfortunately, our risk for breast cancer increases.
What can we do for this? Quality nutrition, decrease alcohol consumption, and exercise.
5. DIGESTION AND BOWEL FUNCTION
Well this is pleasant.
We may notice more heartburn, gas and constipation.
But..... eating right can help!
6. DISEASE RISK
This one is interesting. Our female hormones have decreased our risk of certain disease such as cardiovascular disease and cancer throughout our life. BUT, now that our hormones are decreasing, our risk for these diseases increases.
Managing stress, exercise and quality nutrition is helpful to lower our risk.
7. Dizziness and Vertigo
We may feel that we are spinning or the room is spinning.
Staying hydrated helps. Other helpful strategies are vestibular physical therapy and talking to your doctor to see if any of your medications may be causing the dizziness as an unwanted side effect.
Unwanted facial hair.... and less on the scalp.
Sorry, nutrition doesn't help this at all. But, the unwanted hair removal industry is thriving. :)
9. MENSTRUAL CYCLES
Change is the name of the game here. It may be more or less, heavier or lighter, more painful or less painful.
And honestly, we can't do much to affect the flow. BUT, exercise and nutrition can affect related symptoms such as cramps.
While there may be some relief following menopause, the hormone fluctuations during perimenopause and menopause may exacerbate headaches symptoms and conditions.
Nutrition can help.
11. MOOD AND MENTAL HEALTH
increased depressive feelings and overall "blah"
difficulty getting motivated
a sense of overwhelm
increased feelings of anxiety, worry, or fear
crying or other emotional outbursts
increased mood swings
more intense emotions whether positive or negative
or maybe you feel like everyone is a jerk. That's probably a good sign that it is menopause and not reality. ;-)
Unfortunately, a quality diet isn't going to help here. But, it is important to find ways to manage stress. A counselor or coach can help. Make sure you have a good social network.
12. PAIN AND INFLAMMATION
As sex hormones decrease, you may notice changes in joint, muscle, and other chronic pain concerns.
Luckily, there are some things you can to to combat this. Like, eat a healthy diet, exercise, decrease alcohol consumption, manage stress and promote good sleep and recovery habits.
13. SEXUAL FUNCTION
fluctuations in libido
Some strategies to deal with these unpleasant effects are stress management, vaginal gels containing hyaluronic acid, and physician prescribed estrogen creams and lubricants.
Skin may become drier or oilier. Acne, wrinkles, skin sagging and changes in skin pigmentation may appear.
Strategies to make your skin healthier include eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and recovery, and hydration.
Stop smoking and engage in good oral care to help your teeth.
16. TEMPERATURE REGULATION
I mean hot flashes are pretty much synonymous with menopause, right? Need I say more? (except let you know hot flashes last 3-5 years on average....sorry)
But, what can help you may ask? Well, let me tell you. QUALITY NUTRITION and breathing exercises!
So, at this point, you are probably wondering....What IS quality nutrition?
Carbohydrates: They get a bad rap, but most of us can and should eat 1-2 cupped handfuls of slow digesting carbs at each meal.
Proteins: Our protein needs go up (not down) as we age. We should eat at least one palm sized portion of protein at each meal.
Drink plenty of water. Most of us need 2L, but add a L if you exercised that day or are in a hot climate.
Vitamin D: Get outside or supplement. But, getting outside each day is good for out mental health too!
Flaxseed: Flaxseed helps decrease menopause symptoms. I like to add mine to my power balls or sprinkle on Greek yogurt.
Omega 3 fatty acids: These can be found in cold water fish (and flax and chia).
Calcium: 1200 mg/day- it's best to get this from food sources, such as dairy, dark leafy greens, bone-in canned salmon or calcium fortified foods.
In conclusion, I am not super excited about menopause but I know it is coming whether I am ready or not. I feel encouraged that a healthy lifestyle minimizes the negative effects of menopause. If you are interested in learning more about a healthy lifestyle, please check out my Facebook page and website. I am also hosting an online Nutrition Basics for Women Class on 5.1.22. If you are interested in a more personalized approach, you can book a complimentary Nutrition Coaching session.
I don't know about you, but I plan on aging gracefully and enjoying all the phases of life.