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Five Ways To Optimise Your Body For A Better Menopause

Written by: Paula Fenegan, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Menopause has been getting a lot of attention in the mainstream press recently and rightly so. It is a major change in hormonal health for women, with far-ranging effects on the body and mind.

woman with earphones sitting on yoga mat on green grass outdoors resting after exercises drinking water

It is estimated that by 2030 there will be 1.2 billion women worldwide that are menopausal. In the UK alone, eight out of 10 menopausal women are in work, therefore, that has far-reaching concerns for business and society in general.


How we look after the body in the perimenopausal years leading up to menopause, will have a direct effect on the symptoms that you experience. It is a time in your life to put your self-care on a higher priority. Your future self will thank you for it.


So how can we support ourselves through this time of life?


Here are my five ways to optimise your body at this time.


Stress Reduction


We live in a society that has stress on tap 24/7. This has a physical effect on the body, putting us into fight or flight response. This is an ancient pathway that activates adrenaline and cortisol. If you were to see a sabretooth tiger, these hormones help you run, or stand and fight. (I know which I would rather do) However, these hormones are also activated when we are running late for work, stuck in traffic, or rushing around looking after elderly families and children.


When your body is operating under stress, cortisol levels remain high. This is a fat-storing hormone as it makes you more insulin resistant. Hence you develop that lovely tyre around your middle.


Also, at this time when your ovaries are secreting less progesterone, your adrenals can create some to balance things out. However, if stress is high, the body has to prioritise its resources and it will always prioritise cortisol to keep you going.


Therefore, stress reduction is paramount at this time. Look to yoga, meditation, Pilates, swimming, and even going for walks in nature can help. Exercise is good but look to less strenuous forms, to avoid taxing the body too much.


Reduce Caffeine, Sugar


This is a hard one for most women at this time as they can become a crutch to support them through it, I completely get it. However, if you start to reduce, or cut them out, it will pay dividends in menopausal symptoms and healthy ageing going forward.


Caffeine and sugar are both stimulants and so will cause your blood glucose levels to rise and fall, which will in turn upset your hormones. This will drive mood swings and worse still, those lovely hot flushes, or power surges as I like to call them.


Look to herbal teas and decaffeinated coffee (the Swiss wash method has no harmful chemicals) and incorporate more water. If you need a sweet hit, look to fresh whole fruit instead of juices.


Support Your Liver


Your liver is responsible for all the detoxification in the body, resulting from diet, alcohol, medications etc. It has to create bile, in order to eliminate estrogen through the digestive system and out of the body. If the liver is under pressure, and there isn't enough fibre in the diet, then the estrogens will be stored in the fat cells. This will drive estrogen dominance, where it is out of balance with progesterone. This will cause issues of weight gain, PMS, Polycystic ovary syndrome but also issues with thyroid and other autoimmune illnesses.


Look to bitter foods like rocket, spinach, chicory, and dark chocolate. Try natural herbal remedies such as milk thistle.


Support Your Gut


Your gut is fundamental to good health. It is constantly in communication with your brain. If your gut is not functioning optimally, then you will not digest your food correctly, or absorb your nutrients. This is particularly important during the perimenopause/menopause years, as a common condition that can cause weight gain and estrogen dominance, is a leaky gut.


The cells lining your gut are only one cell thick and can become easily damaged by processed diets and lifestyle issues. This can cause the tight junctions of your intestines to allow undigested food into the body. If this happens, then you will have a 'leaky gut' and trigger an inflammatory response.


The bacteria in your large intestine, known as your gut microbiome, work synergistically with the body and help make your B vitamins, 80% of your serotonin and also substrates for your Immune cells. As such, a healthy microbiome can help support mood and reduce anxiety. It will also allow you to absorb any HRT you may be taking.


Look to eat a variety of different coloured vegetables and fruit to support your gut microbiome. They love fibre.


Also, try fermented foods such as Kimchi, yoghurt, kefir and sauerkraut. Your microbes will thank you for it.

A Healthy gut equals a happy brain!


Exercise


Exercise can do more for your body than any supplement, tablet or diet. It is well known that the endorphins it releases, boost mood which is important during the perimenopause/menopause years. It can also help to reduce stress and improve sleep.


What exercise should you do? Ultimately, the one you enjoy! If you enjoy it, you will be more inclined to do it and consistency is the key. HIIT sessions and yoga are often favourites during menopause years. If it is a stressful day, use a calming exercise, such as yoga, so as not to add more stress to the body.


As you can see there are avenues you can take to support yourself through this transit in time. Menopause is a time of great change, but if you stack the odds in your favour with these tips, you will experience a far easier time.


If you need more support. I offer reflexology for menopause to help reduce the stress response and those hot flushes, together with nutritional support to balance your gut and blood-sugar levels.


If you feel your gut needs some TLC, then contact me to find out about my 21-day Gut Health Reset. A proven programme to reset the gut and give you more energy, better sleep and that 'mojo' you thought you lost.


Email me here.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Paula Fenegan, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Paula is Nutrition Therapist/Wellbeing Coach, specialising in supporting women through the menopause and beyond. She is also a practising reflexologist and uses this therapy to help her clients to relax and de-stress and lower symptoms associated with the menopause. She has always had a love of the natural health world and is passionate about how when we work with nature, we can support the body to heal.The recent pandemic encouraged her to leave the airlines, where she worked to retrain in wellbeing coaching and is now able to share her knowledge with her clients. Her aim is to support women to avoid burnout and to value their self-care, so that they can rebalance their lives and thrive in midlife.

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