From hot flushes and mood swings to insomnia and weight gain, menopause can be a challenging time. To alleviate some of the unpleasant side effects of this major biological shift, we’ve pulled together some natural remedies to help you continue to enjoy life.
Menopause occurs because our ovaries produce less oestrogen (the main female hormone) as we age. In the UK, the average age for menopause is 51 years but it can vary either way by around six years.
While some women breeze through the changes, others need help to ride the hormonal rollercoaster. At this mid-life time, it is important not only to look at replacing the oestrogen levels but also to find a way of dealing with factors such as increased heart disease risk, low energy and mood swings. If we think holistically we can look after our body, mind and emotions.
Food and diet
Daily green smoothies and fresh berries will help strengthen the body through a concentrated vitamin, mineral, amino acid and enzyme boost. Vegetables such as kale and wheatgrass, fruits such as bananas and pomegranate, and eggs, fish and shellfish contain plenty of the seven vital B vitamins needed. The menopause makes our bodies less effective in absorbing them so we need to compensate by making sure our diet is providing enough.
Plenty of grains, seeds, beans and pulses are also highly recommended as they minimise the need for animal protein. Research shows that arthritis can be exacerbated by a high intake of animal protein. Increasing grains and seeds also helps keep your digestive system in good working order. You’ll find vitamin E-rich essential fatty acids in seeds and nuts.
Weight gain is common during menopause so it makes perfect sense to monitor your intake of fats, particularly saturated. However, healthy fats such as linseed oil are very important and will not contribute to gaining weight. Linseeds are phytooestrogenic and help keep your hunger at bay. Try tofu and roasted soya beans too. Research from Japan has shown that a high intake of soya products leads to reduced symptoms of menopause.
Flaxseed oil is another healthy fat we should be consuming on a regular basis. One study by the Mayo Clinic found the incidence of hot flushes was reduced as much as 50 per cent by consuming flaxseed. There is also evidence that it is helpful in reducing hot flushes, vaginal dryness and mood disturbances.
Some women find that their energy levels flag more easily during the menopause. Vegetable smoothies are fantastic and are natural energy and immune boosters. Peppers and carrots are rich in carotenoids and are great for snacking on and they help protect the skin from free radicals, which cause signs of skin ageing.
Evening primrose + borage (starflower oil)
Great for renewed hair, skin and nail health as well as painful periods and breast tenderness.
Particularly important during menopause as it helps protect against heart disease.
Magnesium + calcium
It’s important to get the balance between these two minerals right and this is easier to achieve if you get your intake through natural foods. Spinach, kale and wheatgrass are recommended.
Can help improve mood
Beneficial for early signs of arthritis.
Effective against hot flushes and vaginal dryness specifically.
Regular weight-bearing exercise
This means exercise such as brisk walking, aerobics, dancing, running etc. Exercise helps because the pulling and tugging on the bones by the muscles helps to stimulate bone-making cells and strengthens them. Exercise can also be a powerful sleep aid, combating the sleep disturbances and hot flushes many women complain about.
Reduce your alcohol intake
We metabolise it more slowly than men and this slows even further in menopause
If you’re a member of our Juice Club don’t forget you can have a free 15-minute phone consultation with me where I’d be happy to give you more menopause-coping advice!