Menopause Diet & Wellbeing Tips: How to Look After Yourself When Going Through the Change
October 30, 2020
As with any changes to the body, the menopause is an entirely personal and individual experience. While it can be a hugely emotional and physical adjustment for some, others can seemingly sail through unaffected (who said mother nature plays fair?) and there’s no right or wrong way to experience the menopause.
For those who do struggle, hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, problems sleeping and joint pains are often familiar symptoms. Our fabulous founder Maxine knows this only too well and discussed her own experience with the menopause in a recent chat with our resident dermatologist Dr Ne Win.
With that in mind, and because we care about you, our lovely Absoluters, we wanted to share our tips and advice regarding what to eat and how to look after yourself during ‘the change’. Of course, we’re by no means doctors here at Team AC but we do know what it means to be a woman! So, our tips are exactly that – tips. If you are truly struggling with the menopause, we encourage you to seek medical advice from your doctor as well as research therapies available.
Now we’ve got that cleared up, let’s dive in! Read on to discover our essential menopause diet and wellbeing tips.
Firstly, What is the Menopause?
According to the NHS website, the menopause is “when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. Periods usually start to become less frequent over a few months or years before they stop altogether. Sometimes they can stop suddenly. The menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman's oestrogen levels decline. In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51”.
That said, in some cases, women can even experience the menopause earlier than this (before the age of 40). This is known as premature menopause.
These changes can start months, or even years, before your final period – and collectively they’re known as the perimenopause. Generally, these symptoms persist for around 4 years after you’ve started the menopause too.
Menopause Diet Tips
If the menopause is severely impacting your daily life, we really do empathise! It can be an extremely challenging time in a woman’s life. In this instance, as we mentioned before, we would always advise seeking your doctor’s opinion as they’ll be able to discuss things with you like medication, diet and alternative therapies.
Menopause Diet Tip #1: Consume Plenty of Water, Fruit and Vegetables
Ok, this may be an obvious one but it can, nonetheless, be a challenge for many people – menopause or not! As ever, plenty of water, fruit and vegetables are an absolute must for your health and wellbeing. The current recommendation is to get at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. This doesn’t all have to be fresh – it can be tinned, frozen, dried and juiced too.
In terms of water, aim to have 6-8 glasses per day (1.5-2 litres). Water helps move fibre through your system, keeps you hydrated and may mitigate hot flushes. Plus, not only is water essential for keeping your insides functioning, it can have an impact on your outside too - dehydrated skin tends to show more fine lines, so drinking a sufficient amount of water can help your skin look plumper. If you struggle to drink a lot of water (let’s face it, it’s not the most interesting drink!) herbal tea can be a great alternative between meals. Failing that, try adding a slice of lemon, ginger or our marine collagen supplement to not only jazz up your water but feel the added health benefits.
Menopause Diet Tip #2: Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
We hate to be the bearer of bad news but caffeine and alcohol are not generally recommended during the menopause! As much as sometimes you might feel like you need a glass of red wine or two, according to the British Dietetic Association, caffeine and alcohol can trigger hot flushes so you should try to moderate your intake.
Menopause Diet Tip #3: Watch Your Sodium Intake
According to Healthline, high salt intake has been associated with lower bone density in postmenopausal women. Not only this, the decline in oestrogen you see with the menopause can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure. Reducing how much sodium you have in your diet can help you lower the probability of this happening.
Menopause Diet Tip #4: Check the Labels on Food
Another good habit to acquire, if you haven’t already, is to check the labels on your food. Even products that claim to be healthy lure you in with vibrant packaging and persuasive words but they often rely on you not scrutinising the small print! Many food products that you might assume are healthy are actually over-processed and contain lots of added sugar. Use package label information to make wise and healthy choices for yourself - it’s a good habit to get into for everyone, not just those battling the menopause.
Wellbeing & Menopause: Top Tips For Self Care
Wellbeing Tip #1: Exercise
We know it’s not everyone’s favourite thing to do but a 2019 study suggests that active women experience fewer menopausal symptoms. Not only that, but those going through the menopause often report low mood, anxiety and sleep problems. Exercise is the most well-known, natural mood booster there is, and can improve your quality of sleep! And it doesn’t mean you have to start running marathons - relaxing forms of exercise such as Pilates and yoga are great because they are less impactful on your bones and joints.
Wellbeing Tip #2: Make a Habit of Good Sleep Hygiene
Sleep disturbance can impact women going through the menopause. Just as good oral health hygiene is important, good sleep hygiene is too! So, make sure you have a regular sleep schedule, avoid heavy evening meals and refrain from using a device an hour or so before you go to bed.
Wellbeing Tip #3: Re-frame Your Thinking
For some women, the menopause can be a frightening time – they worry they will feel less feminine, less sexual and less beautiful. Of course, that’s not the case and sometimes it’s just about reframing your understanding of the menopause. Yes, it is a time of change but change doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Try to see it as a chance to re-set, re-evaluate your goals and what you want to achieve and, ultimately, reassess what matters to you.
Wellbeing Tip #4: Avoid Stress and Take Time For Yourself
The advice ‘avoid’ stress might sound simplistic. After all, it’s easier said than done! However, try to remove yourself from any situations in your life that do not benefit you or only cause unnecessary stress. Anxiety can be a big thing during the menopause. Some women find meditation, mindfulness or even having a relaxing bath beneficial for soothing anxious thoughts. Mindfulness is a type of meditation aimed at increasing your awareness of the present moment and involves using breathing techniques. Clarity is a mindfulness app designed by women specifically for women going through the menopause.
Wellbeing Tip #5: Don’t Suffer Alone
When you go through the menopause, you’re not alone. Talk to friends – that’s what they’re there for! If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, then your GP is a great source of knowledge and support, and may be able to signpost you to other support services and groups. There are some great online communities you can join too and a wealth of online resources available - you don’t even need to leave the sofa! MegsMenopause, founded by former 90s socialite Meg Matthews, is a great place to start. And of course, for our Absoluters, the private Absoluters Facebook group is an oasis of fun, chat, and support, too.
What has your experience with the menopause been like? Here at Absolute Collagen, we are proud of the community we’ve created. We love to hear from you, even if it’s just to say hi. Why not get in touch today?