That’s how I woke up one morning – with all these crazy feelings. Of course, leading up to this moment, my daughter would always ask, “What’s the matter, mom?” As a woman, we are groomed to wear many hats. Yes, we are multitaskers; however, “Madame Butterfly” (that’s my nickname) needed some coaching. What I needed to come to grips with is the process called menopause!
Whether you are a woman or you know a woman – like your mom, aunt, wife or coworker – you may relate to all the different phases we go through as we get older and prepare for this time in life. I am 55 years old and experience pre-menopausal conditions.
Menopause is the time that marks the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. It’s diagnosed after she has gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States.
During menopause, women tend to gain fat while simultaneously losing muscle mass. “Menopause is a natural transition in life, one that should not be uncomfortable. When we detoxify and nourish our bodies, the hormones are able to balance naturally,” said Prescott Mobile Health Doc Dr. Karissa Walton. “Optimal nutrition and exercise are key elements in this process. Proper hormone balance helps support the smooth transition into menopause that every woman deserves.”
Katy Kimball is our company’s registered dietitian. She lives here locally and has assisted with menu creations and guidelines as we have served our community for the past two years. “Developing and or maintaining a healthy lifestyle during menopause and beyond can help women to feel happy and fulfilled when [dealing] with symptoms associated with menopause. A healthy lifestyle includes consuming a healthy diet, daily exercise, regular sleep and managing stress. A healthy diet includes consuming whole grains, nuts and legumes and lean proteins. Additionally, cut back on portion sizes and drink plenty of water.”
The good news: Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains can not only prevent weight gain, it may also help alleviate menopausal symptoms.
What Foods to Eat
Some great staples to have on hand:
Fruits and vegetables: Many fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage. Favorites include dark green leafy vegetables, including spinach, kale and broccoli, as well as bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and carrots. Brightly-hued fruits, such as mango, cherries and berries, are also loaded with powerful antioxidants. Bananas, and other potassium-rich foods can help maintain normal blood pressure — readings at or below 120/80 mm Hg. Sweet potatoes, apricots and avocados are also good sources of potassium and are heart-healthy additions to your menopause diet.
Fatty fish: Several studies link the heart-healthy fats in fish, called omega-3 fatty acids, to improved mood and brain function. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help keep blood pressure levels in check. Healthy blood pressure can help control hot flashes. Fatty fish like salmon is also one of the few food sources of vitamin D, a key nutrient for both mood and bone health.
Protein: To help your body hang onto muscle, eat plenty of high-protein foods, such as fish, poultry, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Cooling foods: If you’re suffering from hot flashes, so-called “cooling foods,” including apples, bananas, spinach, broccoli, eggs and green tea may help you cool down, according to Chinese medicine. A bonus: all of these foods are rich in nutrients and disease-fighting chemicals.
Water: It’s really important to stay hydrated during menopause. Not only will it help keep your weight in check, it will also help your body flush out toxins and absorb nutrients.
I have been speaking with several women in the Prescott area. We will be coming together and collaborating on some wonderful tips, suggestions, resources and overall wellness for those in the menopausal community. Indeed, we are not alone. QCBN
By Debbie Maranville
Debbie Maranville is the co-owner of Goods from the Garden, Catering & Events and The Natural Healing Garden Massage and Wellness Center. For more information, visit Goodsfromthegarden.com or call 928-237-3214 -or- 928-237-4116.
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