If you’re a woman in your 40’s or 50’s, you might be experiencing hormone-related changes in your menstrual cycle or physical symptoms like weight gain, hot flashes or trouble sleeping. Perimenopause and menopause is a time to take care of yourself by making healthy lifestyle choices. Eating well and being physically active can make this transition easier. Here some are ways to naturally support four common symptoms of menopause.
Consume more naturally cooling and hydrating foods like soy, cucumber, zucchini, dark leafy greens, berries, coconut water, apples, watermelon, cantaloupe, and peppermint.
Foods to avoid include spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol which can exacerbate hot flashes.
Drink lots of water, sparking waters and herbal teas. If you must have caffeine, green tea and white tea are lower in caffeine than coffee.
Lifestyle changes, including regular physical activity, weight loss if needed, and smoking cessation may help reduce the risk of hot flashes too. Some research has found that weight training may be especially helpful with easing hot flashes.
Green tea and chili peppers may increase metabolism. Include protein from poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, low fat dairy, legumes like soy, nuts and seeds to support lean muscle growth. Also, be sure to eat plenty of lower calorie, high fiber foods like fruits and vegetables.
Regular aerobic exercise like hiking, biking and dancing will help to burn excess calories. Include a strength-building exercise like weight training at least twice a week to support muscle tissue growth which has a higher metabolic rate than fatty tissue.
Some women may experience anxiety, depression and irritability as their hormones change. Foods that support a positive mood include dark chocolate, salmon, green tea, oysters, blueberries and dark leafy greens.
Incorporating regular exercise and stress reduction techniques like deep breathing and meditation can also have mood boosting effects.
Sleep can be impacted during menopause as well which may be due to reduced progesterone levels, hot flashes or medications.
Almonds, walnuts, kiwi, cherries, and fatty fish like salmon all may help support better sleep. Some research has shown that eating 1-2 kiwis before bed may help with sleep because of their serotonin content. Sweet cherries are a source of melatonin so drinking a glass of cherry juice before bed may also help improve sleep.
Avoid eating a large meal too close to bed, limit alcohol which can disturb sleep and aggravate hot flashes and avoid screens about an hour prior to bedtime.