The first step on your road to natural menopause is to eat a healthy, hormone-balancing diet.
Reduce saturated fat Keep down your intake of red meat (such as beef) and cheese because these foods are high in saturated fats – which are not good for your heart. Saturated fats also make your body more acidic. Acidity encourages calcium loss, which in turn can increase your risk of bone disintegration and, ultimately, osteoporosis.
Boost essential fats Found in nuts, seeds, oily fish, and even eggs, essential fats help lubricate your body from the inside out, so are beneficial for dry skin, vaginal dryness, painful joints, high cholesterol, and a sluggish metabolism.
Stabilize your blood sugar During menopause it’s more crucial than ever that you keep your blood sugar stable. As your ovaries produce lower levels of estrogen, your adrenal glands will take over, pumping out an alternative form (there are many types) of estrogen for your body. If you’re on a blood-sugar roller coaster, your adrenal glands will have to work harder, tiring them out.
Boost natural fiber Have a good intake of natural fiber from fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. In addition to the well-known beneficial effect on your bowels, fiber helps keep your blood-sugar levels table. Fiber is also important for efficient detoxification because it helps your body eliminate “old” estrogen and other waste products through your bowel.
Eat more phytoestrogens It is recommended that you eat phytoestrogens on a regular basis. Changing just ten percent of your diet to include more of these phytoestrogenic foods makes a big difference. In Asian cultures, such as in Japan, women tend to eat more phytoestrogens. Many doctors and nutritionists believe that this factor directly contributes to the lower rates of menopausal symptoms (and breast cancer) in Asian countries when compared with those in the West. Certain phytoestrogens, including legumes such as soy, chickpeas, lentils, and so on, contain isoflavones. These seem to work like the menopause drug SERMS in that they stimulate certain estrogen receptors and block others. Soy, in particular, contains two main isoflaonves (called genistein and daidzein), which are thought to have the most significant effect on menopausal symptoms. The strongest and most effective forms of soy are miso and tofu.
The overall result is that phytoestrogens can help balance hormones and reduce symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
It is recommended that you take a good-quality multivitamins and minerals whatever your age, but doing so is especially important during menopause.You need to make sure you have adequate vital nutrients for your bone health, good levels of antioxidants to help slow down the aging process, and other important vitamins and minerals, such as the B-vitamins and chromium, to help keep your blood-sugar levels balanced. The easiest way to do this is by taking a good, all-around multi-vitamin and mineral supplement designed specifically for menopause. Remember, though, that multivitamins should never replace a well-balanced diet and you must eat healthily, too.
In addition to your multi-vitamins and minerals, you may also want to consider taking the following supplements to help ease the symptoms of menopause. Before taking individual supplements, first check the amount contained in your multi and top up to the total recommended daily amount. If you have specific symptoms, add in the supplements (or herbs) listed to treat these symptoms, and also keep taking a multi-vitamin and mineral.
• B-Complex (containing 25mg of each B-vitamins, daily) If you suffer from severe mood swings, irritability, tension, anxiety, depression, and crying spells, and if your energy levels are low, you could be lacking in B-vitamins.
• Vitamin C with bioflavonoids (500mg, twice daily, as magnesium ascorbate) Vitamin C can significantly reduce hot flashes, and is needed or your body to produce collagen, a major part of the bone matrix, helping to keep your bones strong. Vitamin C also helps maintain the elasticity of tissue in your skin, vagina, and urinary tract. Bioflavonoids help strengthen the capillaries, improving blood flow and so reducing hot flashes.
• Vitamin E (400iu, daily) Vitamin E supplements can help reduce hot flashes and improve vaginal dryness.
• Magnesium (300mg, daily) Take magnesium, which has a calming effect on the body; if you feel anxious or tense, or suffer from insomnia. It can also help if you’re getting muscle cramps or twitches.
• Omega-3 Fatty Acids (1,000mg fish oil, containing at least 700mg EPA and 500mg DHA, daily) Essential fats can help combat dryness in your skin, hair, nails, and vagina. They’re also anti-inflammatory, so can relieve aching joints, and they are important for good brain function. (Use flax seed oil if you’re vegetarian).