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As you age, your body and its hormones begin to change and this can be a challenging and confronting time for women. The average age your body stops producing an egg each month and having a period, is around 51 years old, which is known as menopause.
With the onset of menopause, your hormones change – there is a decrease in estrogen and progesterone, as the ovary is no longer producing a mature egg. Due to these hormonal changes women can experience symptoms such as; hot flashes, irritability, insomnia, decreased mood, reduced bones density and vaginal dryness.
Hot flashes are a primary complaint with women as they can interrupt day to day life. They are associated with thermoregulatory, cardiovascular, and endocrine changes. Studies suggest diet can influence hot flashes due to the estrogen like compounds found in certain foods.
Diet and Menopause
A study by Amnon, B et al, (1997), proved that a diet rich in foods containing phytoestrogens (foods with naturally occurring estrogens), increased estrogen levels and reduced hot flashes.
Foods rich in phytoestrogens are:
- Soy products
- Sesame seeds
- Chickpeas and mung beans
Controlling Stress during Menopause
Hormonal fluctuations can cause brain fog, leading to stress and anxiety. This is not going to help your mood or your symptoms, as stress affects hormones and hormones affect stress, it’s a vicious cycle!
Take some time for yourself, a gentle walk in the park, a bike ride by the water or some yoga and mediation can all help relax your mind and body.
Insomnia is another symptom of menopause and lack of sleep causes irritability and stress. Have a hot shower earlier in the evening with a few drops of lavender oil in the bottom of the shower.
Settle into your pajamas with a nice cup of chamomile tea. Listen to some soothing music in the candlelight and eliminate all external blue lights such as screens, and phones 30 minutes before bed. Allow your bedroom to be inviting for sleep time, and rest peacefully.
Brzezinski, A., Adlercreutz, H., Shaoul, R., Rosier, A., Shmueli, A., Tanos, V., Schenker, J, G (1997). Short-term effects of phytoestrogen-rich diet on postmenopausal women. ‘Menopause, The Journal of The North American Menopause Society.’ 4, 2, 89-94.
Shin, K and Colin, S (2003). Menopause, sex hormones, and sleep. ‘Bipolar Disorders an International psychiatry and neurosciences.’ 5, 2, 106-109.