If you have healthy lifestyle habits and are managing your stress effectively, you are likely to breeze through menopause without any major problems.
Health problems, such as menopausal symptoms, represent imbalances in the body that were already growing in the body and are unmasked by the stress of shifting hormones. Menopausal symptoms are Nature’s wake-up call to let you know you need to start paying more attention to your health. Age 45-55 is a critical decade as it provides the foundation on which your later health is laid.
While eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise provides the foundation of good health for everyone, each woman’s menopausal experience is unique. Symptoms vary from woman to woman. Knowing precisely how your body is out of balance can guide you in selecting the key lifestyle changes you should make to relieve your symptoms.
Diet also plays a key role in balancing hormones during and after menopause. It is well known that Japanese women rarely experience hot flashes, probably because their diet contains large amounts of soy, a food rich in certain plan estrogens called “isoflavones”. Soy products are not the only source of plant estrogens, however. Another equally healthful source of phytoestrogens are “lignans,” compounds found in a variety of whole foods including grains and cereals, dried beans and lentils, flaxseed, sunflower seeds and peanuts, vegetables such as asparagus, sweet potatoes, carrots, garlic, and broccoli and fruits such as pears, plums, and strawberries.
The important point to remember at midlife is that health problems don’t pop out of nowhere when your estrogen levels start to fluctuate and fall off. Rather, it is the cumulative effects of damaging lifestyle habits – late nights, fast food, eating on the run, lots of stress, too little exercise – over decades that set in motion chronic disease and aging well before menopause. The good news is that with a few basic lifestyle changes, imbalances can be resolved, paving the way for smoother, lighter menopausal symptoms and great health in the years to come.