Until recently, when celebrities started speaking out about their experiences, menopause was the silent shame. Yet experts believe that 80% of women experience its symptoms.
It is different for every woman but the symptoms we hear most reported are feeling hot or cold, moody, tired, sleep-deprived, nervy, irritable, sad and hairy. It often means hot flushes, memory loss, brain fog and a seemingly immovable band of fat around the middle. Periods change, cycles change and often bleeding becomes so heavy they are too embarrassed to go out.
Fluctuating hormones are the cause of all of this and learning to support them can help women take back control of their lives.
What’s happening inside?
Progesterone levels fall rapidly as you stop ovulating regularly and oestrogen levels are fluctuating. This is usually what’s behind many of the typical symptoms experienced during the transition to menopause. The stress hormone cortisol can also increase, particularly if you’re spinning too many plates, making sleep challenging and leading to weight gain.
So, what can you do?
One of the shifts is the realisation you cannot get away with eating the same foods you used to. Your body has changed, and you need to learn to eat for this new way of being.
Changes in oestrogen levels have a side effect of redistributing body fat: excess fat settles around the waist and muscle mass diminishes. Your body is also likely to be less sensitive to insulin, the fat storage hormone. This is produced in response to you eating carbohydrates.
That means it’s more important than ever to switch to a low glycaemic load diet that balances your blood sugar levels. This kind of diet can be really enjoyable and is filled with foods you’d probably heard you couldn’t eat, like good fats, avocados and eggs!
Supporting your body
There are also some great foods that can support your body during this time of your life such as soy beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, oats, apples and flaxseeds. These contain phytoestrogens, plant-based chemicals, which are structurally similar to oestrogen and exert a weak oestrogenic effect.
Stress management, finding the right type of exercise and prioritising sleep are also important.
Menopause Support Cafe, hosted by Venus Nutrition
We would love to invite you to our Menopause Support Cafe, where women can come together to discuss menopause and women's health over tea, coffee and a healthy snack. Next event: 21 June, 11:00 in the Grain Store at The Bull, Limpsfield. Book your ticket by visiting: https://p.bttr.to/3Mnagy9.