In honor of World Menopause Day- Sunday October 18th, 2020
Menopause: a time that marks both the end and the beginning of major life chapters. It’s not just about the end of your period, it’s about the beginning of your “golden years,” even when it comes to your sexual life. Although some consider this time an uncomfortable, emotionally challenging transition, many enjoy it and stay both physically and sexually active throughout it. A key factor in the smooth transition is using nature’s bounty of herbs and foods that alleviate some of menopause’s less desirable symptoms.
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Irregular periods
- Difficulty sleeping
- Heightened anxiety or depression
- Decreased sexual desire
- Physical changes
- Hair thinning
- Weight gain
- Urinary incontinence
- Joint stiffness
- Vaginal dryness
Tell-tale signs that menopause is on the horizon are irregular periods and hot flashes. Once you haven’t had a menstrual period for 12 months, you’ve officially entered menopause. It typically occurs in the 40’s or 50’s, with the average age being 51. Most women spend up to a third of their lives in this transition phase, so it’s important to find ways to relieve symptoms and maintain vitality. Here are a few ingredients to consider for your premenopausal and menopausal diet.
Damiana: A wild shrub native to Central and South America, this adaptogenic herb is used to help restore desire in women, support mood, and alleviate premenstrual symptoms. In addition, it alleviates menopausal symptoms like vaginal dryness, hot flashes, urinary incontinence, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression. It is known for being soothing yet stimulating, as it has calming effects and improves energy simultaneously. Libby includes it at the same levels used in clinical studies.
Protein: The decrease in estrogen levels may cause your body to have lower bone density and muscle mass. You can even experience a breakdown of muscle called sarcopenia. Women with sarcopenia have more than double the risk of fracturing a bone or falling. Fight back by increasing the amount of lean protein in your diet. Adequate dietary protein is linked to improved muscle and bone health. Fish, soy-based foods, eggs, legumes and yogurt are all great sources to include. Guidelines suggest women over 50 eat 20-25 grams of protein per meal.
Whole Grains: Eating more whole grains and less refined grains has been linked to a number of beneficial health outcomes. Decreased body weight and body fat in older populations are just a few. In fact, aging women even have less risk of stroke and heart disease when they eat whole grains regularly. In comparison to refined grains, whole grains include more fiber and other key nutrients like Vitamin D. From whole-wheat toast to quinoa, there are many easy substitutions that will increase your whole grain intake. Watch out for nutrition labels, which may try to trick you by using words like “enriched, fortified, or multi-grain.” These are refined grains and should be avoided whenever possible.
Fruit: Including at least two to three servings of fruit in your daily routine is good for just about everyone, but especially important during menopause. Berries in particular have been shown to help with a range of issues due to their high content of soluble fiber. Eating the recommended amount of fruit fiber has been shown to improve bone mineral density. Women tend to lose bone density in menopause, so including fruits as part of each meal is beneficial. Plus, they’re delicious. Try adding a mix of berries into a bowl with lemon juice and honey for a sweet treat after dinner.
DIM: Otherwise known as Diindolylmethane, this long-winded phytochemical comes from the digestion of cruciferous vegetables. Yes, eating your vegetables is still important. Think broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage. DIM is vital in helping the body metabolize estrogen without increasing estrogen levels. The result is fewer hot flashes and night sweats. It also helps maintain a balance of estrogen and testosterone.
A Word About World Menopause Day
To raise awareness and support options available for those undergoing menopause, World Menopause Day began in 1984. While this has been celebrated for over 30 years, many women still don’t have access to the tools they need to help them through this phase of life. World Menopause Day seeks to change that through education and awareness. This year’s theme is Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI). If you would like to learn more about World Menopause Day or POI, visit https://www.imsociety.org/education/world-menopause-day/wmd-2020/