1. Increase the intake of phytoestrogens
Diet is one factor that helps in the explanation of the cultural differences in the menopausal symptoms. Western women experience more menopausal symptoms, and a higher rate of hip fractures than Asian women. This is because their diet contains lesser levels of phytoestrogens which are naturally occurring estrogens. A high intake of phytoestrogens (isoflavones and lignans) helps to reduce menopausal symptoms. Chickpeas and legumes are rich sources of isoflavones and flaxseeds; whole grains, fruits and vegetables provide lignans. These have to be included in your diet till you get over the symptoms of menopause.
2. Take calcium
Osteoporosis is the most feared fallout of menopause affecting a majority of women. In the menopausal years, the density of bone decreases at a faster rate than at any other time with greater bone resorption to formation ratio. This results in a predisposition to fractures of the hip, wrist, and vertebra. An adequate intake of calcium right from adolescence is very essential. It can be in the natural form like dairy products, leafy green vegetables or calcium fortified foods and juices. During menopause calcium intake of nearly 1500mg is necessary along with vitamin D.
3. Dietary regime for the heart
Estrogen is known to have a direct effect on the walls of the heart and great vessels. So, the reduced level of estrogen in menopause results in changes in lipid profile. A diet that is low in saturated fats and high in fruits, vegetables, and high fiber grains is healthy as it will keep blood pressure and cholesterol in control.
4. Limit caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol are stimulants and can trigger anxiety and insomnia. Limiting caffeine and alcohol can reduce loss of calcium from your body and reduce other health problems too.
5. Avoid stress
Stress increases the ill effects of menopause as it tampers with the nervous system and affects the heart. To reduce stress, a healthy diet, regular exercise, good sleep, relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation help immensely.
6. Quit smoking
The biggest cause of premature death is smoking. It increases the risk of early menopause, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Smoking is not impossible to quit, considering the health hazards it is linked with. Your healthcare provider can help with antidepressant Zyban or other aids like nicotine patches and gums that cuts smoking. A combination of behavior therapy and medication has been found to be the most successful treatment for quitting smoking altogether.
7. Exercise regularly
There is nothing like exercise to tackle most of the problems of menopause. It reduces hot flushes, stimulates the brain that reduces depression and negative feelings, induces good quality sleep, improves circulation of blood, and strengthens the heart. Carrying weights, climbing stairs, and resistance exercises strengthen bones. Walking is also a great de-stressor. Women who walk at least one hour a week experience about half the coronary heart disease than women who don’t.
8. Include soybean
The ‘superfood’ soybean has been studied and found to be very supportive for menopausal treatments. It is rich in isoflavones that not only reduces symptoms of menopause, but is also rich in antioxidants, omega-3, and protein. It is also low on the glycemic index. Intake of 25 g of soybean daily is enough to manage perimenopause and menopause symptoms like hot flashes, bone loss, mood changes, unstable insulin levels, and hormone imbalance.
Estrogen is connected closely with the breast cells that enlarges them with puberty and child bearing. Menopause reduces the estrogen levels and this affects the breast cells, sometimes causing cancer. Monthly self examinations and a mammogram check is absolutely essential to prevent the risk of breast cancer. This is a non invasive, lab procedure that needs to be done annually.