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Fortunately, some natural approaches to menopause – including maintaining a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise and taking supplements – can help to lessen and greatly alleviate some of the unwanted menopause symptoms that may arise.
Some common menopause symptoms include:
• hot flashes;
• weight gain, especially around your abdominal region;
• mood swings and irritability;
• decreased libido and vaginal dryness;
• urinary problems, including bladder infections and incontinence;
• night sweats;
• irregular menstrual cycles;
• disturbed sleep and fatigue;
• headaches; and
• mental fogginess. â€¨
Here are four tips to help you down the menopausal path
1. Clean up your diet
When going through menopause, it is critical to eliminate any foods that cause weight gain or dramatic blood sugar fluctuations, such as white refined sugars, flours and alcohol. In addition to weight gain, the overconsumption of these items can also disrupt sleep and make night sweats even worse. For the best results and optimal health, it is recommended to eat a diet rich in proteins, essential fats, fruits, vegetables and a small amount of whole grains.
Other foods that can help ease menopausal symptoms include:
Yams: These root vegetables are high in estrogen and have been found to help balance estrogen levels during menopause. Try adding one or two yams to your diet throughout the week as a way to increase your estrogen levels and to help with mood swings and irritability.
Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil: The high amount of phytoestrogens found in flax has been found to improve menopausal symptoms by helping to rebalance estrogen levels. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring, estrogen-like hormones that can be found in plant derivatives such as flaxseeds. Adding ground flaxseeds to your smoothies, cereal and salads may help reduce the incidence and severity of hot flashes and mood swings.
Soy: There are two key elements in soy that have been found to help reduce menopausal symptoms: isoflavones and phytoestrogens. Try adding half a cup of soybeans to your salads or smoothies.
Citrus fruits: The high vitamin C content found in citrus fruits will help alleviate some of the fatigue you may be experiencing. It will also help support any emotional stress that may be taking place during this time. Eating a clementine or drinking a glass of cold water with fresh squeezed lemon will add some beneficial vitamin C to your diet.2. Exercise
A regular exercise routine becomes invaluable as you approach and go through menopause. Participating in some form of exercise at least three times per week will help reduce your risk of bone loss and will also reduce cortisol levels (a.k.a. your stress hormones). A mixture of cardiovascular activity, such as walking, light jogging, running or swimming, and weight-bearing exercise, such as lifting weights, is the best combination. For the best results, it's recommended that you lift heavier weights with less repetition rather than lighter weights. â€¨
3. Reduce stress
Do things that make you happy and help you to relax in order to put your mind and body at ease. This new phase of life should not be viewed as a disorder or a loss, but rather as a new transition and a time to embrace what lies ahead. Take this time to participate in activities and projects that you have not yet had a chance to do. Read that book that has been sitting on your shelf for years or book that vacation you have been dreaming about. Commit to ''me time'' – such as a yoga class, a manicure or facial or lunch with a friend – at least twice per week.
4. Stay hydrated
Maintaining a high water intake is crucial as we age (and is often the first thing we forget to do). Try increasing your water intake by incorporating herbal teas, water with lemon and hydrating foods such as cucumbers and watermelon into your diet. Aim to consume at least two litres of water per day.
Some additional tips to consider while going through menopause include quitting smoking, decreasing alcohol consumption and reducing or eliminating spicy foods from your diet. â€¨
Some supplements that may help reduce menopause symptoms include:â€¨
• black cohosh, a phytoestrogen that helps many women manage their menopausal symptoms;
• evening primrose oil, which reduces hot flashes and can help with digestion;
• ginseng, which has been proven to improve mood and sleep; and
• ground flaxseeds, a good source of lignans, which can help to reduce hot flashes.
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Joey Shulman is a bestselling author and the founder of The Shulman Weight Loss Clinics. For more information, please visit drjoey.com.