Almost every day of my life I hear horror stories about women who are at their wits end when they reach menopause. In my latest survey, of over 1,100 women, 96% said they weren’t prepared for menopause and 68% said they were shocked by it.
The good news is that published medical research clearly shows that menopause doesn’t have to be the beginning of the end of quality life, because, with a little science-based knowledge, it can be the beginning of a whole new, fulfilling chapter in a woman’s life. For over 27 years I have been successfully helping women become symptom-free and feel better than they can remember.
Whether women are suffering with frightening panic attacks and palpitations, melting with hot flushes, battling insomnia due to night sweats, aches and pains making them feel prematurely old, vaginal dryness and low libido taking sex off the menu or scary brain fog, making dietary and lifestyle changes is a viable option for women at the time of their menopause, as detailed in the NICE Guidelines on Menopause.
Women usually hear about hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but they are often not familiar with their alternative options.
Here are some of my top line recommendations to manage menopause naturally.
Adapt your diet for menopause
Research indicates that hormonal balance can be affected by the levels of nutrients in our body, and it’s widely acknowledged in medical literature that women often have low levels of important nutrients.
One key nutrient to include is magnesium, which we found to be in short supply in between 50% – 80% of women. When taken together with other essential nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and fatty acids, it has shown a positive influence on brain chemistry and hormone function. Good sources of magnesium include fresh fruit and vegetables, especially green ones.
Essential fatty acids – like those found in vegetable oils and oily fish, like salmon – also play a big role in hormone health. Those who consumed a diet rich in omega-3s had less mood swings, better libido and far more energy.
Try taking phytoestrogens
Consume Mother Nature’s phytoestrogens throughout the day and evening to satisfy the needs of the oestrogen receptors in our cells. These plant foods have a molecular structure so similar to our own oestrogen, we can fool the brain into thinking we have normal levels of oestrogen, again resulting in the thermal surges we know as hot flushes and night sweats disappearing altogether. Phytoestrogen has been hailed by many as the natural alternative to HRT, and can be found in everyday foods like soya, flax seed, and supplements of red clover.
Supplements of isoflavones
As much as we try, it’s not always possible to achieve all the nutrients we need by diet alone. That’s why I recommend scientifically-based supplements that support your body nutritionally.
For many years, I have recommended the isoflavone-rich supplement, Promensil, which is a natural, standardised red clover product. It contains high concentrations of the isoflavones genistein, daidzein, formononetin and biochanin. Red clover is the richest known source of these four estrogenic isoflavones. It has up to 10 times as much of these isoflavones as the next richest source, soya and has a better bioavailability and therefore absorbs better in your body.
Exercise can release endorphins
Exercising regularly releases the happy hormones called endorphins, which help relieve menopause symptoms, making irritability and mood swings easier to cope with. Even going for daily walks or doing some yoga stretches can help keep your body functioning well. As a bonus, exercise helps to speed up our flagging metabolism at midlife, burning up fat rather than it setting around our middle.
Practice some relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visual imagery, and mindfulness can help to significantly reduce hot flushes and relieve other menopausal symptoms including anxiety, insomnia and fatigue.
Taking these tips on board can help relieve your symptoms, leaving you feeling happier, more focused, less irritable and much more like your old self.