Have you ever wondered why some women seem to avoid menopause while you experience mood swings, depression, pain or hot flushes?
Did you know that in some cultures there isn’t even a word that means menopause? It just doesn’t exist.
What is menopause?
Menopause refers to the time when the menstrual cycle has completely ceased for 12 months. Peri-menopause is the time when our ovaries wind down and the menstrual cycle slowly ceases. This can take anywhere between one to five years and on average affects women in their mid forties to early sixties. During the time of peri-menopause, the ovaries also decrease their production of oestrogen, eventually stopping completely.
As the ovaries gradually cease producing oestrogen, the adrenal glands take up this task. This is the body’s natural Hormone Replacement.
In order to be able to make oestrogen, the adrenal glands require cholesterol and nutrients including specific vitamins, minerals and amino acids. A major factor which influences the adrenal glands’ ability to produce oestrogen is STRESS.
Today’s busy lifestyle with its many demands on our time and energy often leaves us feeling drained – both physically and emotionally. Prolonged stress reduces the adrenal glands’ ability to function adequately.
Lower oestrogen levels have been linked to osteoporosis. However, many lifestyle choices inhibit calcium absorption thereby contributing to poor bone density long before menopause sets in. These include:
- Alcohol, coffee, soft drinks, carbonated drinks
- Refined sugar
- Excess salt
- Diuretics, laxatives, tobacco smoke, marijuana and general intoxicants
- Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, capsicum
- Excess protein
I often get asked what foods provide a rich source of calcium. Contrary to marketing promotion, milk is a poor source of calcium, especially the low fat varieties. Research has shown that dairy depresses magnesium and Vitamin D levels, and itself contains little bio-available calcium. Processing removes natural minerals which are sometimes replaced with poor quality, less absorbed varieties.
Foods providing a rich source of calcium are sesame seeds, tahini, sardines, green leafy vegetables, almonds, buckwheat, egg yolk, molasses, soybeans and turnips. Essential for proper calcium absorption are magnesium and Vitamin D.
Many of the health conditions and risks associated with menopause can be prevented by –
- Reducing stress
- Adopting a healthy diet
- Monitoring your health on the inside
- Supplementing with herbs and nutrients where necessary
- Moderate regular exercise
Dagmar Ganser is a qualified naturopath and is able to advise you on all your nutritional needs. Self prescribing of any nutrient may have adverse effects so always seek professional guidance.
Dagmar uses quality practitioner-only, high grade products to ensure you get value for money.