One of the best ways to combat many of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with menopause is to make exercise a regular part of your daily routine. Exercise works wonders for menopausal women, and you shouldn’t underestimate the power of it. Exercising not only boosts serotonin levels, thereby improving your mood, your appetite and helping you sleep, but the benefits of exercise have been shown to do even more. If you engage in regular weekly exercise you’ll feel and look better too.
I recommend engaging in 10–30 minutes of aerobic activity in the form of burst training, as well as performing weight training several times a week. Weight training increases your self-esteem and helps naturally balance hormones — plus it helps you maintain muscle mass, which is important for preventing weight gain. It also strengthens your bones to combat osteoporosis, another condition that often comes along with menopause.
Many herbs and foods contain natural hormones (such as phytoestrogens) or hormone-balancing properties that can help you ease into this transition period. While there are a number of options for treating menopause symptoms with herbal remedies, some seem to be more effective than others. It’s wise to consult with a naturopathic doctor first, especially if you have other medical conditions and take medications.
Some of the most commonly used herbal remedies to treat menopause symptoms include:
- Evening primrose oil
- Licorice root
- Wild yams
- Red raspberry leaves
- Kacip Fatimah
- Chaste tree
- Red clover
Each one of the above herbs has a specific symptom (or sometimes symptoms) that it’s able to help treat. It’s important to note which of your menopause symptoms are most bothersome and start by treating those first, then work your way down the list. This is where the knowledge of a trained naturopath doctor can be helpful. A doctor has extensive knowledge of which herb to use to treat your exact symptoms, which dosages are safest and advice about which herbs can be safely used simultaneously.
A Healthy Diet to Help Balance Hormones
As Hippocrates said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine by thy food.” Eating a healthy diet is an often overlooked way to decrease troublesome symptoms of menopause, as well as to lower your risk for many other age-related illnesses. Be sure that during this changing time you give your body all that it needs to adjust. Tips for eating a healthy diet to help balance hormones include:
Eat plenty of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables every day. Not only during menopause (or any of the menopause stages), but throughout your entire life, it’s wise to eat fresh, locally grown organic foods that have undergone the least processing possible.
Keep in mind that you might need to consume less calories overall in order to maintain your weight. Limit “empty calories” by reducing your intake of packaged or processed foods, added sugar, refined carbohydrates, sugary drinks, alcohol and refined oils.
Fill up on high-fiber foods to help control your appetite, boost digestive health and benefit your heart.
Drink plenty of pure, fresh water.
As close to nature as you can get a food (an apple picked fresh off the tree) is the best way to eat the majority of your foods. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel in body, mind and soul when you indulge in these life-giving foods. Plus, you’ll struggle less with controlling your weight.