Health

13 Natural Ways to Reduce Menopause Symptoms

Menopause is a transition in a woman’s life as her menstrual cycles come to an end, and the hormone estrogen starts declining. This decline disrupts her… Trista - July 27, 2019

Menopause is a transition in a woman’s life as her menstrual cycles come to an end, and the hormone estrogen starts declining. This decline disrupts her normal cycle patterns of progesterone and estrogen. The menopause occurs when all the remaining follicles in the ovaries are lost. Women should know that this is a normal cycle that is experienced by all women, and it is the beginning of the end of being reproductive. Most women typically start menopause in their late 40s or late 50s with symptoms lasting for a few years. In the United States of America, the mean age of menopause, the occurrence of the final menstrual period, is 51 years old.

If a woman’s ovaries are surgically removed, she immediately enters menopause.  Women who smoke, have never been pregnant, or live at a high altitude, can start menopause at a slightly earlier age. Women will begin the transition from their reproductive years to menopause. The length of cycles will start to vary, and women starting to transition into menopause will begin to skip periods. Typically, at least two-thirds of women will experience menopausal symptoms such as irritability, night sweats, hot flashes, tiredness, and mood swings.

In addition, menopause can increase the risk of many diseases, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and osteoporosis.  During this time, many women find relief by using natural remedies and supplements. If you decide to avoid using estrogen therapy to treat any menopause symptoms, you have some choices that can be very effective.  You can take steps to protect your health and relieve your symptoms. Here are 13 natural ways to ease menopause symptoms.

 

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1. Eat Plenty of Protein-Rich Foods

Eating protein regularly can help with the decline in estrogen that happens during menopause. This estrogen decline is associated with decreased bone strength as well as reduced muscle mass. Women going through menopause should increase their protein intake. Protein is an essential component of every cell in the body. The body uses protein to produce and repair tissues. It is a vital building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Guidelines recommend that women over 50 eat 0.45–0.55 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily or 20–25 grams of high-quality protein per meal.

Consuming protein throughout the day can help with the loss of lean muscle mass that occurs as we age. Also, increasing protein in your diet can help with weight loss. This reaction is because protein helps you feel fuller and increases calories burned. Foods high in protein include eggs, meat, fish, dairy products, and legumes. Women can also add protein powders to smoothies or baked goods. An adequate amount of high-quality protein can help in the prevention of lean muscle, regulate mood and sleep, as well as aid in weight loss.

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2. Consume Lots of Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are low in fat and serve as an excellent source of micronutrients and antioxidants. In turn, eating them helps the body lower inflammation and maintain healthy body weight during menopause. Not only are they low in calories, but fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals and fiber, which can help prevent many menopause symptoms. Veggies and fruits can also help you feel fuller. Basically, these natural-grown foods are excellent for maintaining your weight and losing weight.

Several diseases, such as heart risk, can be minimized or prevented with high intake of fruits and vegetables. Since heart disease risk tends to increase after menopause, it is imperative to have lots of veggies and fruits in your diet. The increase could be due to factors such as age, weight gain, or possibly reduced estrogen levels. Fruits and vegetables will nourish every cell without clogging arteries — it is hard to argue with that logic.

Besides, fruits and vegetables may also help prevent bone loss. Eating grapefruit as part of your breakfast will do more than just wake up your taste buds. Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, which has been linked to bone loss prevention. Don’t like this savory, sour orange delight? Try a navel orange, which comes in close to producing as high levels of vitamin C that grapefruit boosts. Figs are another bone-strengthening fruit. In addition, figs have calcium and other skeleton-saving nutrients such as magnesium and potassium.

Vegetables are great for bones. Eating veggies is one of the best sources of vitamin C, which stimulates the production of bone-forming cells. They also seem to increase bone mineral density, also known as bone density. Eating lots of vegetables has also been found to benefit older women going through “the change.” Broccoli, cabbage, and other plants high in bone-protecting nutrients help to decrease bone loss associated with menopause. Remember this: healthy bones, weight maintenance, and certain disease prevention are all reasons you want to consume a diet rich in fruit and vegetables.

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3. Include Foods That Are High in Phytoestrogens in Your Diet

To help balance menopausal hormones, eat plenty of phytoestrogens. Research suggests they can benefit women going through menopause. Phytoestrogens are compounds in foods that work as weak estrogens in your body. They work to mimic the effects of estrogen in the body naturally and can aid in minimizing menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.

Foods that are full of phytoestrogens naturally include soybeans, plums, berries, grapes, chickpeas, peanuts, flax seeds, barley, green and black tea, and many more. It’s essential to know that phytoestrogens rich foods may minimize hot flashes associated with menopause.

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4. Supplement Naturally

Many women in menopause have turned to natural supplements as a way to ease symptoms. Natural supplements do not currently have enough evidence to support the use of them for menopausal relief, but many women claim they do help. A decision to use supplements should be made in consultation with your physician, taking into account your personal health history and risks. It’s worth a try to see if any of them help you! Here are the most common natural supplements women have been turning to ease menopause symptoms:

Black cohosh: This is probably one of the most popular natural supplements recommended to reduce menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. Black cohosh comes from a plant in the buttercup family. It is thought to mimic serotonin in the brain, which eases feelings of depression and regulating body temperature.

Ginseng: This natural herb is commonly used for its therapeutic health benefits. It may help treat menopausal symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and stress. It’s considered a normalizer and an energizer.

St. John’s Wort: This popular herb has been used as an alternative treatment for menopausal mood swings, relaxation, reduced depression, anxiety, and improved sleep. It’s derived from a wild flowering plant called Hypericum perforatum.

Red Clover: As with black cohosh, no conclusive evidence has been found to reduce hot flashes, but some women claim that red clover has helped them.

Other natural supplements menopausal women have tried to combat the symptoms of menopause include probiotics, prebiotics, kava, dong quai, and evening primrose. Eating foods that have a lot of salt causes your body to lose calcium and can lead to bone loss. Try to limit the number of processed foods, canned foods, and salt added to the foods you eat each day.

Omega-3: These natural supplements have been considered as a possible alternative to take to reduce the frequency of hot flashes and the severity of night sweats. Research is still ongoing, but Omega-3 has already been established as a safe herbal remedy. Natural supplements may help treat menopause symptoms, but it’s important to note that research is still ongoing to determine their effectiveness. At this point, no supplements have consistently been proven in managing menopause symptoms. Ask your doctor before taking any supplements as they could interact with other medications and produce serious side effects.

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5. Enjoy Foods Rich in Calcium and Vitamin D

Menopause represents a vulnerable time for a woman’s skeletal health. Hormone changes during menopause often lead to decreased bone density, which can increase your risk of fractures and osteoporosis, which happens as bones start to become brittle and weak. Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis are can easily get fractures in their spine, hips, and wrists. This risk makes ensuring women going through “the change” take in enough calcium and vitamin D, which is essential for bone health. The body cannot produce calcium on its own, so it is vital to get your calcium through diet and other sunlight. Consuming dairy can actually help improve your sleep. A review study found that foods high in the amino acid glycine promoted better, deeper sleep in menopausal women. Foods like milk and cheese contain amino acid glycine. It is recommended that women between the ages of 51-70,  take in 1200 mg of calcium a day.

Foods such as yogurt, milk, cheese, and other dairy products, green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, and spinach, are Calcium-rich. Tofu, beans, sardines, and other foods also contain high levels of calcium.  Calcium-fortified foods, such as certain cereals, milk alternatives, or fruit juice, are also good sources to include in your diet.

Vitamin D is the most significant nutrient for the proper absorption of calcium. Without some vitamin D, the body can’t absorb calcium at all. Your primary source of vitamin D is sunlight. Sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is an essential building block for a healthy body. Your skin produces it when exposed to the sun. As you age, your skin makes less of it efficiently.  To get your daily dose of sunshine, step outside for a 15 to 20-minute walk. If sunlight is not your main way of making vitamin D, it’s essential to get it through rich dietary sources such as eggs, fish, cod liver oil, and other foods fortified with vitamin D. Basically, calcium-rich foods and vitamin D help prevent bone loss often associated during menopause.

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6. Avoid Trigger Foods

There is no way of preventing menopause symptoms altogether. However, you can avoid certain foods and drinks, which may help minimize some of the symptoms, such as hot flashes and weight gain.  High blood sugar, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome have been linked to a higher incidence of hot flashes in menopausal women. You should avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol because they are diuretics that encourage dehydration and can aggravate hot flashes. Keep in mind that caffeine and alcohol are known sleep disruptors, too, and that many women going through menopause have trouble sleeping. It would help if you tried to limit alcohol to one or fewer drinks a day.

Avoiding spicy foods is a standard recommendation for women going through menopause. Also, high salt intake has been connected to lower bone density in postmenopausal women. Too much sodium in the diet is related to high blood pressure. Following a moderate-sodium diet is linked to experiencing a better overall mood. You should switch to herbal teas and go easy on the wine to stay cool excess weight at bay. It may be helpful to keep a symptom journal. When menopause symptoms are triggered, write them down along with anything you feel may have triggered the sign. Look for patterns and try to reduce or avoid those things you are commonly starting to see as triggers. Alcohol, caffeine, and spicy or sugary foods are some of the foods and drinks that can trigger menopausal symptoms such as night sweats, mood swings, and hot flashes.

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7. Minimize Consumption of Processed Foods and Refined Sugar

Good quality nutrition is most important. The menopause transition is the ideal time to take a look at your diet and make changes that will help ease menopause symptoms. These simple changes to your diet may make this critical transition in your life easier. As estrogen and progesterone diminish, your cells become more resistant to insulin, meaning the body has to work harder to manage blood sugar. High amounts of sugar and refined carbohydrates can lead to quick dips and rises in blood sugar. These sharp dips and rises can make you feel tired and irritable. Large amounts of processed carbs have been also been linked to compound the risk of depression in postmenopausal women further.

If you struggle trying to kick the sugar bucket, try satisfying those sweet tooth cravings with fruits such as grapes, berries, and bananas. Fruit is nature’s candy. Not only will you be reducing your processed sugar intake, but you will be benefiting from the benefits of all the nutrients and antioxidants fruit consumption provides. Processed and added sugars are generally converted into fat, which winds up as the infamous menopausal belly bump. If you just have to have that sweet fix, opt for extra dark chocolate. It’s rich in magnesium and resets your cortisol. It is also known to get rid of bad estrogens linked to breast cancer.

Bone health has also been shown to be affected by diets high in processed foods. Eating foods that have a lot of salt causes your body to lose calcium and can lead to bone loss. Try to limit the number of processed foods, canned foods, and salt added to the foods you eat each day. Eat whole foods and try to avoid processed ones. Fast food combos and packaged meals have high amounts of salt, sugar, and fat. All of these contribute not only to weight gain, but also sugar-induced mood swings.

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8. Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight

Gaining weight during menopause is common and is a frustration for many women older than forty. This change is due to declining estrogen levels, which negatively impacts your metabolism. Changing hormones, along with aging, genetics, and lifestyle, are also contributors to menopausal weight gain. Please focus on maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and practicing other healthy habits to help control your weight.

Menopause weight gain can have serious implications for your health. Excess body fat gained, especially around your waist, increases the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Your body weight may also affect your menopause symptoms. Reduction of menopausal symptoms and the prevention of some diseases are associated with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Move more and eat less!

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9. Get Moving

Everyone knows that exercise is good for you. As you get into menopause, though, it becomes an essential part of your healthy life plan. Women going through this midlife transition will benefit from regular exercise. Regular exercise improves energy, metabolism and healthier joints and bones. Set a goal to do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity on most days of the week. This type of workout can include walking, biking, swimming, tennis, and jogging. You can even sneak in exercise throughout your day by parking further to walk, taking the stairs, or biking to your nearby errands. Many people opt to even walk in large shopping malls when they want to beat the heat outside. Regular exercise can improve your mental health and overall quality of life for women experiencing menopause.

Besides, regular exercise is linked to better health and protection from diseases and conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, and high blood pressure. Exercise can help minimize menopause symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, anxiety, and poor sleep. It can also help with various diseases and conditions, as well as weight gain. Pick activities you enjoy and get moving!

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10. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Menopause causes many women to experience increased dryness. This change is likely due to a decrease in estrogen. Drink at least 8-12 glasses of H2O to help with these symptoms. Because of the excessive sweating brought on by night sweats and hot flashes, menopausal women have a higher chance of losing water and becoming dehydrated. The more hydrated you are, the less likely you will suffer from night sweats and hot flashes.

Bloating that can occur with hormonal changes associated can also be reduced by drinking enough water. Water can help prevent or minimize weight gain by helping to feel full. Drink at least 17 oz of water 30 minutes before a meal. This healthy habit may lead you to consume fewer calories during the meal. Water can also increase your metabolism slightly.

Not to mention, dehydration can cause joint inflammation and pain, mood swings, memory issues, headaches, constipation, and fatigue. Water is critical for menopausal women to hydrate cells, moisturize skin, and eliminate toxins from the body. It’s best just to ensure you keep yourself regularly hydrated during this time with this liquid oxygen. Adequate water intake is essential in aiding in minimizing dryness symptoms and helping with weight loss among other health complications associated with dehydration. Water is vital during menopause, so drink up!

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11. Don’t Skip Meals

Consuming regular meals is essential during this natural transition in life. Weight loss efforts and symptoms of menopause may be worse if you’re going through menopause. Many people think skipping meals will aid in weight loss efforts. Actually, this is the total opposite! Skipping meals slows down the metabolism, making it more difficult to lose weight.  In fact, skipping meals can lead to an increase in binge eating. It makes you feel hungrier and leads to eating more than you usually would. When food is consumed, metabolism levels rise. Without food to digest, metabolism levels go down.

Mental concentration is also impaired by skipping meals. Without food in the body, there isn’t any glucose to absorb. Glucose is the main energy source for the brain and central nervous system. Without glucose, memory, focus, and concentration are impaired. Menopause can already impact your mental strength; don’t add the consequences of skipping meals add to it.

Never skip breakfast as this meal really is the most important meal of the day! Starting the day with a balanced breakfast reduces the risk of obesity and insulin resistance as well as helping you lose or maintain weight. Eating breakfast launches your metabolism and makes you feel more full and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of overeating. Also, when you skip breakfast, your blood sugar levels fall, resulting in energy decline. Healthy options include eggs, salmon toast, yogurt with nuts and berries, fruits, smoothies, and avocado toast.  Remember, successful weight loss at any stage of life requires permanent changes in both your diet and exercise habits. Try your best to commit to lifestyle changes, and enjoy a healthier you. Skipping meals and having irregular eating patterns may hinder weight loss as well as hinder weight loss. Food is fuel for the body, so eat up!

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12. Stay Cool

Keeping fresh will help ease symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Many women find it difficult to sleep at night due to night sweats. Keep your bedroom as cold as possible at night. This lowered temperature will help you sleep better. A fan not only cools you down but helps dry you off after a hot flash. Invest in some high-quality, 100 percent cotton bed sheets. These will be much cooler to sleep on than synthetic fabrics. Do the same for your pajamas. A “chill pillow” can help keep your head feeling cooler. These chilled pillows are filled with water or other cooling material to help cool you down at night.

During the day, drink plenty of cold liquids such as ice water. Use fans to help cool you down. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothes made with natural fibers such as cotton. Women going through menopause should also dress in layers made of breathable fabrics. Sweaters are easy to pull off when a hot flash hits. Keep cool during menopausal hot flashes by investing in high cotton count bed sheets, cooling pillows, using fans, drinking cold liquids, and dressing in layers made of breathable fabrics.

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13. Deep Breathing

Breathe in, breathe out — and repeat! Mindfulness is the perfect way to navigate your menopause. It can be a rollercoaster of emotions. Deep breathing is many menopausal women’s first line of defense against menopausal systems such as anxiety and hot flashes. Try deep, slow abdominal breathing as a relaxation technique, especially when a hot flash starts. Practice breathing 6 to 8 breaths per minute for 15-minute increments. Doing yoga can help you learn breathing techniques and put you in a relaxed state. You can do yoga with a group at your local health club or community center, or you can find plenty of online and DVDs to try yoga in the comfort of your own home.

The paced breaths are slow, smooth, and deep enough to move your diaphragm — the muscular wall located beneath your lungs — as you take deeper breaths. The goal of slow deep breathing is to minimize the stress chemicals your brain produces and generates a relaxation response making this midlife transition a bit easier. Deep breathing exercises and yoga are beneficial in relaxation techniques that can prove useful in anxiety and stress that may be accompanied by menopause.

Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life cycle. It’s an inevitable stage and can cause many changes in the body.  Though there are many troublesome symptoms associated with “the change,” eating a healthy diet and regularly exercising can help minimize and prevent them. The good news is the freedom from regular bleeding and the purchase of feminine products. No two women experience menopause or perimenopause the same. If you’re experiencing menopausal symptoms, try some of the tips above. Many of these tips can make life during this time more comfortable!

 

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