Hormonal balance is vital for good health and immunity. The onset of menopause upsets this delicate balance, which in turn leads to a number of unwelcome side effects including: hot flashes, excessive sweating and a red face, ‘night sweats’, irritability, memory loss and lack of mental agility, and the onset of osteoporosis.
To help minimise the impact of menopause and ease the uncomfortable symptoms, there are number of ways in which women can help maintain healthy hormonal levels. The first step is to eat as healthy a balanced diet as possible, rich in fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, poultry, pulses, wholegrains, nuts, and seeds. Also try to eliminate, salt, red meat, processed foods, dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, and also smoking. Regular exercise is a must, since it helps to keep hormones stable, and helps with nutrient absorption.
Four key nutrients at menopause
If you’re in doubt about your nutritional intake, top-up your diet with a high strength multivitamin and mineral supplement to ensure you’re getting all the important nutrients needed for all-round health and wellbeing. Ensure your choice of supplement includes Vitamin K, essential for bone mineralisation and rebuilding of joints when oestrogen levels decline during the menopause, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Also, Folic Acid, which research shows can help maintain a healthy heart and reduces the risk of stroke, another condition which is more likely to occur after the menopause. It is also important to ensure a high intake of Vitamin E, as this vitamin helps maintain a healthy heart; it also reduces the uncomfortable condition of vaginal dryness, which commonly occurs in menopausal women.
There are a number of scientific studies showing that red clover may help relieve menopausal symptoms and our ancestors typically used it for many complaints, but today we use it primarily for dealing with menopausal symptom. Red clover contains large amounts of a group of compounds called isoflavones, a type of phyto-estrogen, which mimic the effect of the female sex hormone oestrogen. The plant oestrogens are believed to be the key to red clover’s ability to modify symptoms of the menopause. Studies show that a red clover supplement can reduce menopausal symptoms, if the content is over 40mg.
Additionally, two specific isoflavones, Genistein and Daidzein, possess the ability to help lower the risk of heart disease, and prevent osteoporosis, other problems associated with the menopause, so be sure to check that the red clover supplement you are taking contains both these constituents.
The herb sage is also highly beneficial for those experiencing hot sweats caused by the menopause; this is due to the herb’s volatile oils, which possess special anti-perspiring properties. Also, since sage possesses no hormonal actions, it is safe to use alongside bioidentical hormones as well as HRT and other herbal remedies. Be sure to select a sage supplement though that’s high strength, including 300mg of pure powered herb per capsule.
Soya beans and soya foods contain the most significant dietary source of isoflavones, compounds that research confirms help maintain the health of our hearts, breasts, and bones. It is also exceptionally efficacious at helping minimise the distressing affects of the menopause, including over-heating. Interestingly, Asian women, who eat a diet high in soya foods, do not suffer any of the side effects from the menopause, suffered by western women!
A daily intake of soya isoflavones is also exceptionally beneficial for those wishing to protect their bones against osteoporosis. This common, progressive condition causes the bones to become weak and brittle, and tends to affect us in middle age. Post-menopausal women are particularly at risk, as estrogen levels decline. Take at least 40mg of soya isoflavones daily, preferably in a supplement that provides the whole goodness of the soya bean.
The extract taken from the leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba tree contains two active substances: flavone glycosides and terpene lactones, both of which are thought to be responsible for the herb’s health promoting benefits. These components possess powerful antioxidant properties that counter the effects of free radicals, believed to cause premature ageing and dementia. Modern research confirms that Ginkgo Biloba helps improve memory function, enhances concentration, and improves cognitive impairment; often a problem for those going through the menopause.
It is also known to help those suffering from anxiety, depression, or poor circulation, and also assists with healthy ageing, helping to guard against cardiovascular and liver disease and cares for the brain and central nervous system by improving the delivery of oxygen and glucose to nerve cells. It is important to choose a standardised supplement that provides 120mg of Ginkgo Biloba extract, to ensure you are taking a therapeutic dose of this herbal remedy.
Information in this article has been supplied By Julie Lamble,Qualified Nutritional Biochemist and State-Registered Nutritionist for vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements company, Lifeplan Products Limited