The menopause is a natural part of female ageing and it starts when a woman’s period alters in frequency, duration and volume, before ultimately stopping altogether. It occurs when oestrogen levels start to fall, usually between the ages of 45 and 55, and approximately two thirds of women experience unfortunate symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, low mood and fatigue.
There are a few diet and lifestyle factors that can help to reduce unwanted menopausal symptoms, and the most influential are as follows:
What you eat has the potential to have a huge impact on how you feel, look and perform. When it comes to overall health and sustained energy levels it is essential to eat regular meals which include a source of protein (such as chicken, lentils, beans or a meat alternative), fibre (including salad and vegetables), healthy unsaturated fats (such as olive or rapeseed oil, nuts, seeds, oily fish and avocado) and slow release energy (including wholegrains such as wholemeal pasta, brown rice and oats).
You ideally should eat 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day, a portion being a handful (or 80g), in addition to 3 portions of calcium containing foods a day including dairy (milk, cheese and yoghurt) and calcium-fortified foods such as cereal and bread. Calcium is particularly important during the menopause because the rate at which our bones lose calcium increases. In addition to calcium, vitamin D is an essential nutrient to take on board because without it calcium cannot be absorbed. Food sources of vitamin D include oily fish, red meat, fortified cereals, butter and eggs.
Regarding foods that we should be eating fewer of, the government advise that we limit ‘free sugar’ to no more than 5% of our total energy intake, which works out to be 25g (6 teaspoons) a day. Free sugars, which provide only a short burst of energy, include sugar added to drinks and foods as well as the sugar found in honey and fruit juice; the latter of which should be kept to no more than 150ml a day. In practice this means eating fewer biscuits, cakes, and sweets and swapping sugary drinks for their no added sugar equivalents. Nothing however beats water or fruit teas as the top beverage as choice as they are both sugar as well as caffeine free.
Your activity levels and sleep pattern
Exercise helps to boost serotonin (the happy hormone) and energy levels, and ideally, we should be taking part in 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week, in addition to two strength-based sessions. Activity also helps to preserve lean muscle mass, prevent unwanted weight gain and improve sleep quality; another essential competent in regulating energy levels the following day.
Everyone in the UK should take a supplement containing at least 10mcg of vitamin D a day, particularly in the Autumn and Winter months. Cleanmarine MenoMin contains the required daily 10mcg of vitamin D in addition to Soy Isoflavones which may help to reduce menopausal symptoms, omega 3 which is essential for a healthy heart and a range of B vitamins which help to regulate energy levels.
The menopause is a natural part of a women’s life and although some of the symptoms may be unwanted, they can be managed with a healthy diet as well as adequate fluid levels, enough sleep and regular activity. Although some women choose to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT), many choose not to, in favour of more natural supplements, such as Cleanmarine Menomin, which are designed to support the body’s own natural processes.