PREPARING FOR MENOPAUSE
If you are a woman enter your late 40s or early 50s, you may be wondering when “the change of life” will happen, and what it will be like. While the symptoms that women experience can vary, there are ways that you can prepare yourself emotionally and physically. Emotional support can come from sharing your story with other women who have gone through this period of their life and learning what has worked for them. It can also come from meeting with a counsellor. While the emotion swings are something to be expected, there is also the chance that they have a very real connection to what is already present in your life, and talking about them with a professional can help you to find healing, and alleviate the severity of the swings.
Eating for your health is also important in this phase, which is where Glenys Bowers comes in. Below she explains why it’s important to eat healthy during this phase in life, but also what types of food to be eating.
Also known as the “change of life”, menopause represents a major transition in the lives of most women, signalling the end of reproductive function. For many women, this can be an uncomfortable, annoying and unpredictable experience. Typically, menopause occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 when the ovaries begin to gradually slow down the production of estrogen and progesterone. At this time, hormonal imbalances can start to occur resulting in symptoms such as irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, emotional swings, headaches, depression, insomnia, loss of sex drive and weight changes. It’s no wonder why many women dread this time in their lives. However, with proper nourishment of the body, mind and spirit, many symptoms can disappear or be dramatically reduced, thus allowing this transition to be embraced rather than resisted.
A diet rich in whole foods (especially those that nourish the liver) and proper supplementation supports a stronger life force and the ability to better handle the changes occurring during this time. A fully functioning liver is crucial for good health during menopause. It provides vital energy for all the body systems, helps regulate digestion, assists the release of toxins and waste, improves metabolism, balances hormones and nourishes hair, skin, nails, eyes and cells. Whether you are currently in the throes of menopause or not quite there yet, you can benefit from the foods and supplements listed below:
Fruits (organic if possible) - Apples, bananas, all berries, dark grapes, figs, lemons, papaya, pineapple Fresh organic berries can be expensive. Buying a bag of frozen ones may be a better value. Use them in smoothies, yogurt or cereal.
Vegetables (organic if possible) - Alfalfa, asparagus, basil, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, collard, cucumber, dandelion greens, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, kale, kelp, onions, radish, romaine lettuce, seaweed, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip roots, watercress, yams
Whole grains - Amaranth, brown rice, millet, oats, quinoa
Nuts & Seeds - Almonds, flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds
Legumes - Aduki beans, kidney beans, lentils, soybeans, split peas, tofu
Protein (free range, organic or wild) - Cold-pressed oils, eggs, fish, plain yogurt, poultry
Additions - Black cohosh & sage tea or sage tincture (for hot flashes); Dong quai “female ginseng” & Agnus castus, also known as Vitex, (helps to rebalance hormones); calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D & E
It is also important to drink plenty of good quality water to replace lost fluids due to perspiration during hot flashes and this can also help to prevent or minimize them. Avoid alcohol, fried and processed foods, caffeine, sugar and spicy foods which can trigger hot flashes and aggravate mood swings.
When mood swings occur, remember they are only temporary. Some ways to improve your mood might include exercising outdoors (walking, hiking, swimming, tennis, golf), connecting with friends, volunteering, adopting a pet or immersing yourself in a hobby. By accepting, loving and blessing your body for where it is right now, you can minimize any fears of aging or not being good enough. You are a creative and powerful woman who accepts all bodily processes as normal and natural.
Glenys Bowers, R.H.N. firstname.lastname@example.org 604-375-9471
References – Staying Healthy with Nutrition, by Elson M. Haas, MD; Prescription for Dietary Wellness, by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; You Are What You Eat, by Dr. Gillian McKeith