The Positive Side of Menopause

The Positive Side of Menopause

Women, it’s a good thing to look forward to getting older. You most likely will have more time to plan out your meals, exercise and enjoy life more than when you were younger. Menopause is clearly a time to pause and smell the roses.

Women go through this natural process called menopause in their lives when the ovaries begin to age and change producing less reproductive hormones. The word menopause originates from the Greek words “menos”, which means month and “pause” meaning to stop. Basically, it means that the menstrual cycle that women get comes to an end.

This is a gradual period of time where women may have symptoms of mood swings, reduced energy, night sweats, or hot flashes as hormones reduce in the body.

Women have an opportunity to embrace this season and have a good attitude toward this next chapter in their lives.

Research shows that women who have a positive attitude regarding menopause have a good transition. Exercising, eating well, taking supplements and taking time for oneself can make menopause a wonderful time in a woman’s life. This can make one experience a great shift as they are getting older.

Diet

During this special time of a woman’s life, it is important that she eats a variety of foods, especially plant based and should not forget about calcium rich foods for bones. Skim milk, soy or almond milk that are fortified with calcium are good and yogurt and low fat cheeses. Women need to eat and drink 2 to 4 servings a day of calcium rich foods.

Exercise

Regular exercise can help women with menopausal symptoms, especially to relieve stress and improve life. It helps to maintain weight, increase muscle mass and increase blood circulation through all the important organs. Aerobic exercise is a vigorous activity, but if one has medical problems, they should check with their doctor first.

Nutrients to support women during menopause

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine HCL) and Folic Acid (as folate)

Vitamin B6 and folate (folic acid) are 2 B complex vitamins that have been shown to be important for cognitive function in women who are aging and also going through menopause. They may have a positive effect on brain neurotransmitters effecting mood.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, which has important antioxidant properties. It can help women during the menopausal transition time. It is necessary for red blood cells, skin and eyes and provides support to the immune system. It can be found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals and supplements.

Bone supporting nutrients are important during menopause

Bone health is extremely important for women during menopause since bone is broken down faster than being rebuilt during this time later in women’s life. This leads to weaker and more porous bones. Supporting nutrients for bone health include calcium, magnesium and boron.

Calcium

Calcium is an essential mineral found in bones and also in teeth. It is critically important during menopause to consume enough in the diet and through supplementation.

It is necessary for metabolic purposes and muscle contractions. It is needed for the muscles, heart and nerves to perform their functions. It is found in dairy foods and supplements.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral necessary for functioning of cellular metabolic pathways and is a cofactor involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions. It is used by the body for bones, nerve function, muscles, blood sugar and blood pressure. Foods with a good source of magnesium include pumpkin seeds, almonds and cashews, spinach and whole wheat cereals or supplements.

Boron

Boron is a trace element that has been shown to support bone health and calcium metabolism. Women need the mineral support for bones with aging. Foods with good sources of boron are apples, dried beans, milk and potatoes and can be found in supplements.

Botanical extracts to support women during menopause

Black Cohosh

Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemose) is a flowering plant that’s grown in North America. Its roots and flowers have been traditionally used by Native American Indians to aid women during menopause and for hormone balance. It has bioactives called triterpene glycosides that have demonstrated to be the reason for Black cohosh’s positive effects improving quality of life and reductions of menopausal symptoms.

Red Clover blossoms (trifolium pratense)

Red clover is a perennial herb which produces purplish-pink tubular flowers found in Europe and Asia. The leaves are consumed in salads and the flowers are dried for teas. Traditionally the Chinese have used it for health benefits with the isoflavones known to be its bioactives to support women’s hormones.

Chaste Tree berry (Vitex angus-castus)

Chaste tree is a native plant of Mediterranean countries with a long history of traditional use for women’s health. Research goes back to 1991 in Iran. It has been used during menstruation, as well as for women during menopause with positive benefits. Chaste tree has bioactives called agnosides and research shows the extract improves mood by having an effect on dopamine in the brain.

Dong Quai root (Angelica sinensis)

Dong quai root has been used for more than a thousand years as a tonic, spice and for medicinal purposes in Asian countries. It is still used as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for women’s hormones. The bioactives, lingustilides are believed to be key for its benefits.

Pomegranate seed (Punica granatum)

Pomegranates are a beautiful red fruit containing seeds, which are known for their antioxidant properties to quench free radicals.

Wild Yam root (Dioscorea villosa)

Wild yam is a plant with the root and bulb used traditionally for medicinal benefits. It is native to North America, some regions of Asia and Mexico. The phytosteroid diosgenin has been identified as a marker which is believed to aid women during menopause and is supportive toward hormones.

Stinging Nettles leaves (Utica dioica)

Nettles is a plant with leaves that have fine hairs. It has a long medicinal history used in medieval times in Europe. It has been used by women for water balance and joint support.

If you have a health condition and or take medication, it’s always best to check with your healthcare provider prior to starting an exercise program and/or taking supplements.

References

Mehrpooya M, et al. J Educ Health Promot. 2018;7:36.

Milart P, et al. Prz Menopauzalny. 2018;17(4):175-179.

Naseri R, et al. Korean J Fam Med. 2019;40(6):362-367.

 

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