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Navigating Menopause

Perimenopause, also known as the menopausal transition, signals the onset of changes within your body. While it typically occurs in your 40s, don’t be surprised if you notice signs as early as your mid-30s. As your menstrual cycle becomes irregular and unpredictable, these shifts hint at the approaching menopausal milestone.

Anticipating menopause might seem unconventional, but it is crucial for managing symptoms effectively and ensuring a smoother transition. That’s why we’ve partnered with Nutritional Solutions. With their expertise and guidance, you’ll discover the secrets to proactively preparing your body and mind for this transformative phase.

Here are five ways that you could use nutrition and diet to minimise menopause symptoms:

1. Phytoestrogen Power:

A big part of the symptoms experienced is because of the sharp drops in oestrogen that trigger menopause. Plant-based substances known as phytoestrogens have been shown to mimic the physiological effects of oestrogen in the body – which can be a wonderful thing to help reduce hot flashes. Legumes, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, and soy products (such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame beans) are rich in phytoestrogens (1). Love some legumes and throw chickpeas into curries or lentils into mince dishes or sprinkle your brekkie with flaxseeds or sesame seeds.

2. Focus on Fluids:

Drinking enough water throughout the day is crucial since dehydration can exacerbate hot flashes. Focus on fluids to help reduce the frequency or intensity of hot flashes and controlling body temperature. Aim for one glass (250mL) of water per 10 kg that you weigh. Remember that water (plain or sparkling), Rooibos tea and herbal teas like peppermint all count as part of your water quota for the day.

3. Keep it Cool:

Certain foods are said to have cooling qualities that can help reduce hot flashes. Cucumber, watermelon, mint, and leafy greens offer up a feeling of coolness, likely due to their high water content. Think watermelon, mint and ice granita? Or what about a cucumber and baby spinach salad?

4. Balanced Blood Sugar:

Did you know that fluctuations in your blood sugar can aggravate menopausal symptoms? Balance out your sugar levels with regular meals that are made up of a balance of complex carbohydrates (e.g., brown rice, oats, high-fibre bread, high-fibre grains like bulgur wheat or wholewheat couscous, fruit) healthy fats (e.g. olives, olive oil, avocados, unsalted nuts and seeds), and lean protein (e.g. fish, skinless chicken, eggs, dairy, legumes). It is also a good idea to steer clear of processed foods refined sweets and pastries for steady blood sugar control.

5. Mind Over Matter:

Hot flashes can be worsened by stress, so it makes sense that it might be helpful to practice stress-reduction methods like deep breathing, meditation, and frequent exercise. In addition, mindful eating – which focuses on savouring every bite and paying attention to indications of hunger and fullness – can aid in digestion and relaxation, which may lessen the frequency or intensity of hot flashes.

When the heat is on, pay attention to your body and try various methods as you figure out what works best for you, keeping in mind that what works for one might not work for another. If you need some extra help, chat with a medical professional or registered dietitian before making any big dietary changes or starting herbal remedies, especially if you have underlying medical concerns or are on chronic medication.

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