Are you a woman between 35-55? (or know someone who is?)
Chances are, if you answered "yes," then you already know a thing or two about menopause.
The official, medical definition of menopause: “Yay! No more period!!! But ugh - the mood swings, hot flashes, fatigue…what the #$%! are these errant facial hairs!...and wait, what was I saying?”
Ain’t life grand? If you're not digging the less-than-pleasant side effects that come along with the cessation “that time of the month”... Don’t just scowl and bear it – there are some easy diet and lifestyle practices that can help make the transition to real womanhood a little easier. So without further ado, we bring to you – the Pause for Menopause Action Plan!
PS: This guide is not only for those currently experiencing menopause, but also those just entering (peri-menopause), and those waving goodbye in the rear-view mirror (post menopause). Plus, read on to learn the #1 herb to help with pesky menopause symptoms.
Our Action Plan lays out food, herbs and nutrients you should make sure you’re getting into your diet – plus some fun facts and lifestyle tips along the way.
How to Eat When You’re Not Busy Screaming at Someone… or, The Basics of the Menopausal Food Plan
Start Here: To alleviate symptoms, eat a diet high in plant foods, especially those high in phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds capable of binding to estrogen receptors and replacing some of the effect of estrogen that is no longer being made or circulating in the body.
Foods high in phytoestrogens include: soybeans and soy foods, flaxseeds, nuts, whole grains, apples, fennel, celery, parsley and alfalfa.
Fun fact: In cultures where plant based diets are more common, women do not see same degree of symptoms as we see in the United States with our “Standard American Diet.”
A diet high in phytoestrogens can help decrease hot flashes, increase maturation of vaginal cells, inhibit osteoporosis and will also decrease the frequency of breast, colon and prostate cancer.
Also, vegetables in the brassica or cabbage family are protective for breast cancer and heart disease (score!). The cabbage family includes some of our favorite veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard, kale and mustard and turnip greens. These foods also support bone health since they contain calcium, magnesium and folic acid.
What else? Menopausal women should also follow a disease prevention diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, vegetarian proteins, nuts, seeds, legumes, while low in saturated fats, trans fats, simple carbs and fast foods. Hey, gee whiz, lookey here – that’s a CambiatiClean diet!
Meal Ideas - Support Hormonal Balance:
Hungry for more help with recipe planning and wish you had some one-on-one guidance to make the transition to menopause a little more gracefully? We can help! Call us today: 925-280-4442.
Herbs to Help
Trouble sleeping is another common problem in menopause, and one of the most common complaints we hear from our clients. Try Valerian – in a tea or a supplement. Our favorite sleepy tea (come by our office to get some!) contains valerian, as well as other great botanicals to gently lull you to dreamland. It’s also in one of our favorite sleep aids, DFH's Insomnitol.
As promised… the single BEST botanical to help with menopause? Black cohosh, like you'll find in DFH's kickass FemGuard. It will improve symptoms, improve fatigue, irritability and vaginal dryness. It’s helpful across the board – for PMS, peri-menopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal symptoms.
For menopausal women, Vitamin C is important for relieving hot flashes and improving immunity and anti-cancer health. Vitamin C can also improve skin elasticity lost during menopause and may also help prevent vaginal dryness. Our friend Vitamin C also supports hormonal balance – including stress and sex hormones.
Kick it up a notch: Vitamin C is often taken with Hesperidin for menopausal support because in combination with Vitamin C, Hesperidin can improve vascular integrity and relieve capillary permeability and relieve hot flashes.
Sound complicated? Not to worry... C+BioFizz takes the guess work out – it includes both Vitamin C and hesperidin… Plus, C+BioFizz is so delicious – what’s not to love about making sure we get our daily hit of Vitamin C?
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, essential for all humans and some other animals. It is a strong antioxidant that can protect against cancer, protect sperm, support collagen production, improve adrenal function, safeguard the immune system, protect against cigarette smoke, enhance wound repair, reduce your risk of cataracts, and help your body detoxify. Vitamin C is also a natural anti-histamine.
While we usually think just of citrus when we think Vitamin C– including lemons, limes and oranges – other great sources include: red pepper, broccoli, cantaloupe, strawberries, tomato, kiwi, papaya, Brussels sprouts, spinach, cabbage, green onions, beef liver, pork liver, radishes, raspberries, asparagus, honeydew melons, yellow squash.
Vitamin C levels are highest if these fruits and vegetables are eaten fresh – sliced and uncovered in the refrigerator can cause a loss of up to 35% of Vitamin C in just 24 hours.
How much Vitamin C do you need? Vitamin C is water soluble and can be taken to “bowel tolerance” (the point at which diarrhea is experienced). Vitamin C is highly absorbable and a healthy person needs at least 200 mg/day to maintain stores. Smokers, alcohol users and stressed people need more! Once absorbed, Vitamin C is usually used within 2 hours and excreted via urine within 3-4 hours.
Did you know? Magnesium levels tend to decrease during menopause.
Even in the non-menopause population, magnesium deficiency is extremely common and symptoms may include depression, brain fog, irritability, general weakness, muscle cramps, loss of appetite, insomnia, anxiety or stress. And guess what? Many of these same symptoms are also common in menopausal women (yay!).
A big reason a lot of menopausal women should think about adding Magnesium rich foods (and possibly supplements) to their life is that many women suffer from sleep disturbances and insomnia during and preceding menopause. Magnesium can help women relax in the evening and sleep better through the night. Stress management is probably one of the best ways to manage menopause and Magnesium can help! And if you need more convincing: it’s a major Team Cambiati favorite.
We love MagCitrate, a powdered magnesium many of us drink (1-2 tsp in water or tea) before bed. Relaxing and happy zzz's inducing.
Magnesium is the second most predominant mineral in our cells and functions in concert with calcium and phosphorus. About 60% of the body’s magnesium is in our bones, 26% in our muscles, and the remainder in soft tissues and bodily fluids. It is involved in nearly every body process, concentrated in the metabolically active areas of the heart and muscles.
Nom Nom Nom...
Magnesium is abundant in leafy green vegetables, sea veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, tofu and avocado. Many of these foods – including organic soy foods - are phytoestrogens – plant compounds capable of binding to estrogen receptors and replacing the effect of estrogen when it is no longer being made by the body. By consuming a more plant based diet, and in particular a diet rich with phytoestrogens, women may see a decrease in hot flashes, an increase in the maturation of vaginal cells, and an inhibition of osteoporosis. Also decreased with a plant (and magnesium enriched) diet would be the frequency of breast, colon and prostate cancer.
Folic acid is also known as folate, folacin and pteroylmonoglutamate. It functions with Vitamin B 12 and is critical for cellular division, specifically DNA synthesis. Without folic acid, cells do not divide properly and with deficiency, all cells of the body are affected. But it is the rapidly dividing cells (red blood cells and gastrointestinal and genital tracts) that are most affected.
Folic acid is also part of the process that protects against atherosclerosis and osteoporosis, particularly important for menopausal women. Despite the fact that folic acid is widely occurring in food, it is a common vitamin deficiency throughout the world - which could be related to the fact that alcohol and many prescription drugs impair folic acid metabolism.
It is found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, beet greens and Swiss Chard and can be found – consistent with the anti disease diet mentioned above – in whole grains, legumes, asparagus, broccoli (check out our video recipe for broccoli here) and cabbage.
But buyer beware: don't just run out and stock up on any old folic acid supplement. Make sure your supplements do not contain synthetic folic acid, which has been linked to the proliferation of cancer cells in some studies. Instead of simply "folic acid" you should see something along the lines of "folic acid (as folate)" somewhere on the label. Not sure? Call us and we'll walk you through it.