Our intention is to keep you informed and up to date on all things health and wellbeing so today we are talking about the sometimes dreaded but unavoidable subject of Menopause. In the world in which we live, maybe unlike times gone by, this stage of our life comes at an age when we still consider ourselves to be and still feel young, leaving behind that idea that the menopause is something for “older” women. The reasons are simple, life expectancy in general has increased considerably, so we live longer and in effect we are “younger” and more active for longer. That said our biological clock, which marks among other things our fertility has not stretched in the same way. We are also seeing numerous cases in which women who have undergone assisted reproduction, chemotherapy or smokers suffering from early menopause. At a physiological level, menopause happens because of a decrease in the ovaries’ production of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. The process of menopause can manifest in many different ways from changes in mood, depression, decreased libido, night sweats, hot flushes, weight gain and high cholesterol levels.
To shed some light on this topic we spoke to Lola García, expert in nutrition, from the prestigious SHA Wellness Clinic in Alicante, who shared with us some nutritional recommendations and healthy guidelines for women who are going through menopause.
What changes should we make to our diet during the menopause?
As Lola indicates, the most important thing for a woman between the age of 40 and 50 is to have a healthy diet. Ideally, start the day with a savoury breakfast, which strengthens the stomach and stabilizes blood glucose levels throughout the morning. For this the perfect breakfast would be:
- Start with a miso soup accompanied by a spoonful of natto (a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis var. natto bacteria).
- Followed by a whole grain porridge.
If you are planning to exercise after breakfast, make sure you have some type of protein, vitamins and minerals about half an hour after the activity such as a handful of nuts/ green vegetable smoothie / paté or vegetable hummus with veggie sticks (carrots, broccoli, celery …)
Should you exercise during menopause?
YES. It is really important both during and after menopause to exercise regularly. There are 2 areas that need particular focus, aerobic – to work the heart and lungs and weight training and muscle toning – as muscle mass and bone density is lost significantly during this stage in our lives.
What are the benefits of exercise in a menopausal woman?
- Assists the circulatory system
- Strengthens the skeletal muscle system
- Prevents osteoporosis
- Prevents cardiovascular diseases
- Maintains muscle elasticity
- Improves coordination and physical mobility
- Improves mood
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
The most effective medicine for menopause is found in the food we eat
That’s right, so enjoy a diet based on whole grains, pulses, vegetables, algae, nuts, seeds and fruits: they contain good fats, complex carbohydrates and proteins.
- Make sure you eat plenty of vegetables, at every meal, and even have a delicious juice for breakfast.
- Include in your diet natural soy products such as miso, tofu, tempeh, black soybeans, edemame and natto.
- Do not forget to include quality oils in your diet: tahini, flax, chia seeds, sesame seeds and nuts.
- Foods that cleanse the liver can also reduce hot flushes. For example, you can add apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, eat granny smith apples, sauerkraut as well as green vegetables steamed with lemon.
- Dry daikon tea calms the mind and helps us to not overthink things.
- Sweet vegetable smoothies can help soothe nerves.
- Nori – toasted seaweed can be eaten daily as it is rich in minerals and proteins.
- It is important to stay hydrated throughout the day as it enables the body to maintain a strong immune system. It is equally good for joints, bones, muscles, skin and organs.
Plant based and herbal remedies are well known to prevent / reduce the symptoms of menopause. It is surprising, but many plants and herbs can adapt to the needs of our body, such as Black cohosh (cimicifuga racemose), passionflower, chasteberry, wild yam, Peruvian ginseng (maca) and ashwagandha. Each woman is unique and so some herbs work better for one person than for another.
Learn to manage your stress
We can often feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed and depressed during menopause. The most effective, cheap and simple way to reduce stress is meditation accompanied by deep breathing.
- Sit in quiet surroundings for a few minutes and breathe slowly and deeply to obtain incredible results.
- If you find it hard to calm your mind go for a walk.
- Try to be in the present moment and use each one of your senses to connect with your environment.
Other simple remedies to relieve the symptoms of menopause
- At night, take 5-10 minutes to enjoy a warm foot bath with sea salts. It provides a deep and restful sleep and calms the mind.
- Enjoy a bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oil to cleanse your energy field, de-stress and soothe aching muscles.
- A body rub each day with a hot towel works incredibly well to stimulate the organs, activate metabolism and improve the balance of hormones.
- Reduce or avoid – meat, refined sugar, coffee, alcohol, strong spices, refined carbohydrates and salt.
Our friends at SHA Wellness Clinic are continuously improving and adapting to the needs and challenges that come our way and recently presented their new program “HEALTHY MENOPAUSE”. This is a 10 night personalized program that combines the most advanced techniques from the West with specialised holistic treatments, to achieve visible results both physically and emotionally.
You can take a look at the program and the advantages of booking it through SIS, Spa in Spain: https://www.spa-in-spain.com/hotels-and-spas/hotel/sha-wellness-clinic/httpswwwspa-in-spaincomhotels-and-spashotelsha-wellness-clinic10-night-sha-healthy-menopaus/