Nutrition for Menopause

Nutrition for Menopause

If you suffer from hot flashes, bloating, brain fog, lack of sleep, or any of the many other side effects of menopause - some simple healthy habits could help. Let's explore.


What is the menopause?

The menopause is the stage in every woman’s life when they stop menstruating. This transition usually begins a few years before they have their final period, known as peri-menopause, and lasts until some time after - known as post-menopause.


The average age of a female entering menopause is 51 and it most often occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. However, it can also begin before and after these ages.

Here is a summary of each of the three stages of the menopause.

  • Pre-menopause - For the first few years during pre-menopause the menstrual cycle will typically become irregular, with some people suffering heavier periods than normal. In time, menstrual cycles shorten and become less regular.

  • Menopause - Occurs when the body stops producing the hormones that cause periods altogether, and so it is no longer possible to fall pregnant. A person is menopausal when they have gone a full year with no periods.

  • Post-menopause - Any time after menopause - when periods have ended and the body is no longer ovulating (producing eggs). During this phase, women can often still experience menopausal symptoms - but they tend to get better over time.

What is going on inside?

You may be wondering what exactly is going on to create so many symptoms that are impacting your daily life!


The menopause can start suddenly and last for some time, so it helps to understand exactly what is going on in the body to make peace with it.


Much of the menopause can be explained by fluctuating hormones...

Progesterone levels fall rapidly as you stop ovulating as regularly. Although estrogen levels are likely decreasing too, they're falling at a slower rate. This means that you can become estrogen-dominant - which is often the culprit of many menopausal symptoms.


Cortisol, a stress hormone, can also increase (particularly if you’re used to spinning too many plates), making sleep difficult and also contributing to weight gain.

Lowering estrogen levels can affect levels of thyroid hormones. Low thyroid hormones can bring mood changes, poor digestion, and a sluggish feeling.


A combination of all of the hormonal changes above is usually the underlying root cause of most menopausal symptoms, which include:

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Mood swings
  • Brain fog
  • Poor memory
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating

What can you do to support your menopause?


If you're thinking that this all sounds a bit negative, don't despair!

Supporting your nutritional and emotional well-being during this process can provide a better bodily environment so that this hormonal ebb and flow can be experienced as a positive transition. 


Here are some of the ways you can make the menopausal journey run as smoothly as possible.



Lifestyle Changes


Stress can have a significant influence on your experience of the menopause. To help manage stress, set aside regular time to do something that you love which makes you feel good, or try to find a hobby; and don’t feel guilty for spending time on yourself.


Set aside time for stress-relieving practices such as walks in nature, breath work, meditation, and yoga. 


Be mindful of environmental estrogens that may act as harmful hormone disruptors. To minimize these don’t cook or heat foods in plastic – use glass or crockery instead. Use pots or frying pans made of steel or non-toxic cookware. Minimize the use of chemical-based cosmetics and household cleaning products, opting for natural alternatives instead.


We also recommend keeping active with regular exercise, which can help to maintain a healthy weight and also relieve symptoms such as anxiety, low mood, and brain fog. 

Nutrition

We are what we eat and paying close attention to your diet throughout each stage of menopause can help to nurture better female health from within.

Here are some of our top tips for eating well to nurture your inner superwoman during the menopause.

 

  • Phytoestrogens
  • Phytoestrogens or ‘plant estrogens’ have a similar structure to human estrogen, although their impact on our body is much weaker.

    There is some evidence that consuming phytoestrogens a few times per day over a few months may help to ease menopausal symptoms like hot flushes, for some women.

    Phytoestrogens occur naturally in some plant-based foods such as soybeans and soya-based foods, chickpeas, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, barley, berries, apricots, grapes, garlic, and tea.

     

  • Healthy fats
  • are essential for many bodily functions and can help with symptoms like vaginal dryness and hot flashes.

    They are also anti-inflammatory and help to reduce the risk of both heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

    You’ll find omega-3 fatty acids in avocados, coconut oil, algae & seaweed (and supplements containing these), nuts, seeds, and oily fish if you eat it.

     

  • Nutrients to protect your bones
  • Declining estrogen levels during menopause can increase the rate at which bone tissue breaks down.

    It is estimated that one in three postmenopausal women has osteoporosis. This is a condition that weakens the bones, making them more fragile and prone to fracture.

    Diet can play a big role in improving bone health and preventing this. Important nutrients for our bones include

    Protein: Include high-protein foods at every meal. Good sources include dairy, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds; and meat, fish, and seafood if you eat them.



    Calcium: Good sources of calcium include dairy, calcium-fortified plant-based milk, tofu, dried figs and tinned sardines (with bones if you eat them).



    Vitamin K: Vitamin K helps to bind together the proteins used to make bone. It also increases the activity of osteoblasts, which mineralize and strengthen the skeleton. You can increase your intake of Vitamin K by eating foods including turnip, broccoli, spinach, kale, dairy, meat, and chicken.


    Magnesium: Getting enough magnesium helps to increase bone mineral density, which reduces the risk of fractures and also osteoporosis. Good sources of magnesium include pumpkin seeds, whole grains, spinach, almonds, beans, and legumes. 

     

  • Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugars
  • Eating well for menopause is as much about the foods that we should avoid, as it is about those we should get more of. Three things that we should try and limit in general include sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.


    Excess refined sugar in the diet can lead to blood sugar imbalance, which can throw off hormone imbalance even more, worsening menopausal symptoms. Try to limit your intake of fizzy drinks, processed foods, sweets, and pastries to keep your sugar intake down.

    Alcohol can be a trigger for hot flashes, and can also harm our mental health and sleep quality. Try to keep your alcohol intake to a minimum, enjoying alcohol-free alternatives to your favorite tipple instead.


    Caffeine can trigger hot flashes for some women, but this varies between individuals so it is best to experiment to see if caffeine impacts your symptoms.

    If you’re looking to reduce caffeine intake, we would recommend Shroom Coffee which is made with premium arabica coffee but contains only 50mg caffeine per cup - around half that of a regular cuppa.

     

    Forest Pink Balance: Your daily elixir for female balance 🌸

    PINK Balance was formulated to help provide a natural, root-cause solution to help manage stress and promote optimal female health.

    It includes two potent adaptogens: Ashwagandha and Maca Root. They each help to improve a number of menopausal symptoms such as anxiety, low libido, memory issues, hot flashes, and more.

    Adding a teaspoon of Pink Balance to healthy meals and drinks, or even just a glass of water, is a great way to help manage every stage of menopause with a daily healthy habit.

    If you'd like to learn more about Pink Balance, please check out our blog posts below.

     

    🌱PINK BALANCE: Nature's superfood solution to better female health

    🌱 The Best adaptogens for female balance

     

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