Oh there it is… that word – MENOPAUSE.
Euphemistically referred to as “The Change”, menopause is that time in a woman’s life when menstruation ceases (typically between the ages of 45 and 55). It is a natural occurrence at the end of the reproductive years, just as the first period during puberty was the start.
There are up to a whopping 60 symptoms documented as being related to menopause, the most common being hot flushes, night sweats, headaches, irritability, “crawling” skin, aches and pains, tiredness, unwanted hair growth, insomnia, osteoporosis, difficulty losing weight, urinary frequency, vaginal dryness, libido and discomfort with sexual intercourse.
Whilst society has often labelled menopause as being a sign of female ageing, we prefer to see this time as a celebration. Ancient tribes esteemed their more senior women as they were the ones who shared reflective wisdom and passed invaluable knowledge down to the younger generations.
Socrates said, “the secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building on the new”. Menopause can be a time to rebirth yourself, change your focus and start exploring your own needs more. It can be an opportunity to experience a newfound sense of freedom, return to your dreams, resurrect a love for a hobby or career, focus on your health and wellbeing, travel… you name it.
This might all sound wonderful but in the meantime, you might be looking for some help to get you through. We’ve come up with 5 things you can try which will hopefully alleviate one or a few of the symptoms of menopause so you can get on with your life.
#1 Embrace It
When you’re not feeling great, this can sometimes be hard to do. Know that you’re not alone. Talk about it with your friends, and your mum and her friends – they’ve been there! Educate yourself by reading books or searching on the internet so you can understand what you’re going through and that it’s completely normal. Educate your partner too. Accept yourself as “the new perfect you”, trust your intuition and trust your body to tell you what is right for you. Make a choice to make the most of the transition… you’ve got this!
#2 Eat Healthy
This one goes without saying. Whilst they can be a great temptation and heck, they taste good (and you deserve it right?), reaching for those cute cupcakes or chocolate is not going to make you feel good. With many women experiencing slower metabolism in menopause, you’ll want to ensure you eat plenty of natural fibre in vegetables, fruits, cereals, whole grains and small portions of lean meat, fish or chicken.
If you’re struggling with weight gain, there are heaps of healthy (mainly low carb) options you can look into but we prefer just to recommend the Mediterranean or ‘Rainbow’ diet, as it’s simple to follow and it takes into consideration the psychological aspect of eating and enjoying good food with family and friends.
#3 Drink More of the Good Stuff
Sugary or diet/artificially sweetened drinks, and processed sugar in general, can contribute to a worsening of mood swings, anxiety, hot flushes and depression. Carbonated “fizzy” drinks contain phosphorous which is very acidic and can attack your bones, contributing to osteoporosis.
Fight the urge! Switch to healthier drinking options. This will go a long way in alleviating many menopausal symptoms. Limit alcohol, drink herbal teas, plenty of fresh, filtered water and try coconut water. Coconut water is considered to be one of the purest, most sterile liquids you can ever drink. It has high levels of electrolytes, is rich in sodium and potassium and as such, is a great hydrator and can boost energy. Make sure it’s 100% pure, natural coconut water with no additives – it could make a real, positive difference in your mood.
#4 Get Moving!
Maintaining heart health and improving your general health is important throughout your entire life but even more so in your menopausal years. Studies have shown that women who have a more sedentary lifestyle have more severe menopause symptoms than active women. This makes for regular exercise being a must to help relieve symptoms. As there’s a greater risk of Osteoporosis in Menopause, weight-bearing and strength-training activities can aid in keeping your bones healthy and prevent loss of bone density. Practicing good balance can also reduce the risk of injury from falls.
Exercising regularly can help in the reduction of weight accumulation in areas you don’t want it, provide a feeling of relaxation and wellbeing, and reduce the severity of hot flushes. So start gently but ultimately, get moving! There’s so much evidence to support that symptoms of menopause will be reduced.
#5 Try Maca
You might think we’re talking about macadamias, but no, whilst they’re a great healthy nut in themselves, we want to highlight the benefits of Lepidium Meyenii (Maca), a cruciferous vegetable mostly grown and cultivated in the high altitudes of the Andes in Peru.
The demand for maca products has grown in recent years, mostly due to claims that the plant can promote libido, sexual function and improve overall vitality and energy levels. Interestingly, it is reported that maca has a beneficial effect on the optimal function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis controls reactions to stress and regulates various body processes such as digestion, the immune system, mood, sexuality and energy usage. This is good news for menopausal women wanting to balance their shifting hormone levels.
At Wonder Foods, we like to make sure we’re providing what we know is a good thing. Our Vegan Maca Chi is a superfood for women. With a unique blend of organic herbal ingredients targeted towards the mature woman, our Vegan Maca Chi offers a natural pick-me-up and balancer, and promotes vitality for everyday use and wellbeing.
Try Wonder Foods’ Vegan Maca Chi today. This, combined with the other ways to help yourself, could have you embracing ‘the change’ with ease so you can get on with what’s important, for you.
Lepidium Meyenii (Maca) factsheet