To continue from our previous post, this week we are talking about resources for women who are in perimenopause or menopause. Below are some suggestions from our Toronto Naturopath to help reduce or manage symptoms.
The best diet to follow is an anti-inflammatory diet. This means eating whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, legumes etc. Foods which should be eliminated include refined carbohydrates such as white breads, breakfast cereals, pasta, processed foods and meats, deep fried foods, sugar, fast food, vegetable oils, sodas and other sugar-laden beverages.
These foods eaten on a regular basis build up inflammation in the body and over time can lead to hormonal imbalances and other chronic diseases. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet style helps keep inflammation low in the body and keeps our hormones balanced in the perimenopausal years.
It is essential to have a consistent daily or weekly practice devoted to stress management. Stress is one of the leading causes of chronic diseases in the world and unchecked stress can also wreak havoc on our hormones. It can be anything you enjoy doing which helps calm your nervous system including getting weekly massages, pet therapy, getting out in nature, listening to relaxing music e.g. classical music, soaking in an epsom salt bath etc. The best option for you is the one you will do and stick with over time! Proper stress management will help ensure that the adrenal glands are in the best shape to help support hormone production as we get closer to menopause, and the ovaries start to naturally produce lower amounts of estrogen.
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health. Being physically active can benefit your mental health, help keep you in a healthy weight range, and improve cardiovascular health. Weight or strength training specifically, is one of the best exercises to incorporate in the perimenopausal years as it helps preserve muscle mass and bone density over time. This is important because one of the issues women face leading up to menopause and beyond is bone loss as a result of declining estrogen levels.
Ensuring an adequate and restful nightly sleep is essential to good health and ensuring that our hormones stay balanced. Proper sleep helps with repair and regeneration, detoxification, hormone balance, proper immune system function, and lowering inflammation. If your sleep is currently suboptimal, it is a good idea to adopt sleep hygiene practices or talk to a Naturopathic doctor to help you choose supplements which can help support restorative nightly sleep.
There are several supplements which can be utilized in the short term to help reduce or eliminate perimenopausal symptoms while we work on addressing the other diet and lifestyle factors discussed above. There are a variety of research based supplements that can help relieve pesky symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia and these can be prescribed on an individual basis as needed.
These are a few of the main things we consider in keeping women as healthy as possible in the perimenopausal years and leading up to menopause so that the process of transition can be as smooth as possible.