Our diet plays an important role in helping us to maintain our health and strength during menopause. Eating a wide range of healthy foods is important, as is drinking plenty of fresh water as well as maintaining gentle exercise, where possible, in the fresh air.
The following are some guidelines as to a recommended menopause diet. While you are finding herbs that help you with menopause symptoms, also ensure that your diet is rich in the following foods which can help you to maintain your health and strength during menopause:
- Vitamin D
- Fatty Acids
- Wheat germ
- Vitamin E
- Plus drinking plenty of fresh water
- Plus ensure you are getting gentle, regular exercise in sunlight
During Menopause, you may need to take calcium supplements as well as eating plenty of calcium in your diet. One extra important thing you should try to incorporate into your lifestyle is to exercise the body. This doesn't mean you have to go to the gym. There are many forms of exercise these days, but it can't be overestimated how important it is to get the body moving and to boost your blood circulation. The benefits are great.
For more information about the importance of calcium in your bones click here.
Calcium Rich Foods
Cow's milk, cheese, yoghurt, tofu, spinach, dried figs and many other foods supply us with a rich source of calcium. It is sensible to ensure that you increase your calcium rich foods during menopause.
Calcium and Vitamin D information
The mineral Calcium and the vitamin called Vitamin D actually complement each other and together they help strengthen all bones and skeleton structures. You may not realise it, but to have good absorption of calcium, your body needs Vitamin D. It is so important that one of the supplements recommended for people with weak, brittle or thin bones Vitamin D. Many people think of calcium under these circumstances, but more vitamin D improves this.
In most cases, an all round healthy diet, some exercise and some natural sunshine can provide all the calcium and vitamin D the body needs. However, it is vital that you evaluate the need for supplements yourself. Lots of food that we eat these days, even so called "healthy food" can often provide poor quantities of minerals and vitamins. This is because the foods are often grown in poor soil that has been stripped of many nutrients due to bad farming methods. Many choose to supplement their diet as form of safety net for the body. If you think your food sources are very good then maybe this isn't needed, but often it is. You may not realise it, but many of the Recommended Daily Allowance figures for vitamins and minerals are set at very low levels. These are the low levels that are assumed to stop major diseases occurring caused by vitamin deficiencies. However, there is a large gap between optimum health at the top and the avoiding disease at the bottom.
One of the most usual ways the body gets its Vitamin D is from exposure to sunlight. People often think all nutrition occurs from food but there are a few exceptions and one of them is Vitamin D. This is probably something that has evolved in the human body on this planet over millions of years.
Vitamin D is actually a class of vitamin called a "fat-soluble vitamin". This means that the body needs some fat or oil to help dissolve the vitamin D molecules. The human body stores some fat in the tissue layers of the skin. When the skin receives direct sunlight, this causes the production of Vitamin D. As we mentioned above, Vitamin D works with calcium to help maintain healthy bones and teeth. This is important for everyone, but especially for growing children, the elderly and for women going through menopause.
Click here for more information on Vitamin D and your health.
Taking an Acidophilus supplement may also be beneficial. Acidophilus or ‘acid-loving milk-bacterium’ is one type of Probiotic and sometimes refers to a combination of Acidophilus with other beneficial bacteria. Acidophilus has many health benefits, some of which have been known about for thousands of years including:
- Preventing the growth of potentially harmful bacteria
- Keeping the intestine clean
- Helping to produce Vitamin K
- Eliminating bad breath, flatulence, constipation and excessive body odour
- Improving the complexion
- Relieves fatigue and red eyes
- Guarding against intestinal upsets
Fatty acids are considered to be the ‘good fats’ and can be used for energy by most types of cells. They are found in oils and other fats that make up different foods. Flaxseed Oil is also high in Omega-3 fatty acids and is unsurpassed in bodily and health benefits for women passing through menopause.
You may wonder what is a saturated and what is an unsaturated fat? (or fatty acid).
Basically, a fatty acid is called saturated if all of the carbon atoms (C) in the molecule are joined to other elements by one bond. Saturation basically means that all "spaces" are taken up or saturated.
Unsaturated fats still have "unused" bonds. Interestingly, the position of the spare bond or double bond as it is called, is how the unsaturated fatty acids are named. If this double bond is in the sixth position, then it is called omega-6.
The body needs fatty acids to maintain its health, assisting in a number of ways:
- Helping to prevent premature aging and to maintain a healthy skin.
- Transporting oxygen around the bloodstream.
- Developing cell membranes and maintaining the strength and function of the cell membranes.
- Maintaining the strength of organs and tissues.
- Fatty acids assist in blood clotting and helping to maintain blood pressure.
- It is advisable to avoid the stimulating drinks with caffeine such as coffee and black tea.
Practice deep breathing exercises every day to increase your oxygen intake.
Types of Fatty Acids
Essential Fatty Acids – such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 are called essential, as the body cannot make them. The body can produce Omega-9, but the other 2 have to be included in one’s diet either by natural foods or by natural supplements. However, it is important to discuss all supplements with your professional health practitioner before you begin taking them.
If you have to take antibiotics during your Menopause, the levels of probiotics in your gut will plummet and your herbal allies will not work as well, so plan on keeping your diet “gut-bacteria” healthy.
Probiotics are live microbial organisms naturally present in the gut. The word "Probiotic" simply means “for life” which explains why these nutrients are so important. Probiotics are considered beneficial and are sometimes referred to as ‘friendly’ bacteria. Live yoghurt provides a good supply of probiotics.
Taking a tonic to aid digestion and increase energy can also be helpful. The following herbs helps to promote a healthy digestion:
Vitamin E, Wheatgerm Oil & Superfood
Supplements such as Vitamin E, Wheat Germ Oil and Superfood are useful to increase food absorption. Juice your fruits and vegetables to obtain more of the concentrated vitamins and minerals that your body now needs.
Gentle, Regular Exercise & Sunlight
Try to spend some time each day doing some exercise. By spending just 20 minutes per day moving the body around and increasing your heart rate, you can ward off a whole host of circulation related problems. If you are lucky enough to get out in some sunny weather, do take advantage of it. This exercise will help in the production of more vitamin D and help maintain good health.