October is World Menopause Month and the World Health Organisation has designated October 18th as World Menopause Day
There is increased media coverage of the menopause in our society and the taboos surrounding it are reducing and the focus is now for encouraging and informing women to take action to prevent health problems in later life.
Approximately one third of a woman’s life will be after the menopause where the age of the natural menopause in developed countries is 51 and in less developed countries the menopause occurs in the late 40s.
The decade following the onset of the menopause is critical to women who can be vulnerable to chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cognitive decline (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease) and cancer; so the early postmenopausal years provide the opportunity for women to take preventative action in their lifestyle choice to ensure a healthy future.
There is an abundance of advice out there for us to digest but the overwhelming counsel is to exercise, exercise and do more exercise. A sedentary lifestyle is disastrous for both mental and physical well being. A strong physical routine combined with a well balanced and focused diet is definitely a winning formula.
Some foundation foods which should be considered as a daily staple are;
Water: 8 glasses of water a day can help maintain good clear skin and offset dryness. Hormonal changes can often cause a bloated sensation which water helps alleviate.
Calcium: The menopause can cause a loss of oestrogen which can impact on bone density so Calcium rich food such as non fat yoghurts, cheese, seeds and sardines are vital. Calcium supplements are often recommended too.
Vitamin D: There is a good excuse to pack the bags and head for the sun, the source of Vitamin D and critical in the protection of our bones. During the Winter months it may be prudent to take a supplement if a trip to The Bahamas is not in the budget !!
Fruit and Vegetables: The metabolism begins to slow down as we get older and as energy levels diminish the chance of weight gain increases. By increasing the daily amount of fruit and vegetables this can help maintain a healthy waistline.
Whole grains: These can help boost energy and the digestive system which in turn can help to manage stress levels at a time when mood swings are prevalent. Folic acid and fibre found in whole grains help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Iron: Iron levels tend to reduce during the menopause and so the focus should be on lean meats, eggs high iron cereals and grains as women going through menopause often experience fatigue, and this could be due to an iron deficiency.
Flaxseed- This contains Omega-3 fatty acids which is easily added to meals as the fibre can keep arteries healthy by lowering cholesterol levels. Flaxseeds have powerful antioxidant and oestrogen properties which may help to prevent breast and other cancers.
What to Avoid
This is what we do not want to read – the list is not pretty.
Alcohol, sugar, caffeine and spicy foods all can contribute to the dreaded hot flush, urinary incontinence, mood swings and deterioration of the bones. While we may not want to make these sacrifices a modification to their intake may be prudent
Embrace the Menopause Time to Make the Change