Menopause is the permanent end of the menstrual cycle and reproductively capability. Before menopause a women will enter into perimenopause for up to 4 years where oestrogen begins to decline, this is likely to occur during 45-47 years of age. Although, pre-menopause can begin in the late 30’s for some women. The Australian average for menopause is 51 years (Terrie, 2014; Whitney & Rolfes, 2013).
85% of women experience some symptoms of menopause. One of the most common symptoms is a hot flash. The triggers for a hot flash include alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, smoking and nitrates (Jane & Davis, 2014). Healthy eating can help women manage their transition through menopause. Minimising stress and incorporating exercise such as yoga will assist in supporting your body during this time and may help to decrease symptoms (Jorge et. al, 2016). There are many other treatments available during menopause, see your GP for more information.
Every woman may experience different symptoms during perimenopause and menopause. When she has had 1 full year without a menstrual cycle this confirms menopause. During this period she may experience (Jane & Davis, 2014):
- breast pain
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- headaches or migraines
- mood swings
- depression or anxiety
- memory problems
- skin and vaginal dryness
- joint pain
- low libido
- loss of bone density
Nutrition during menopause can help support your transition during this phase. It is important to eat a well balanced diet with plenty of nutrient dense fruit and vegetables and get exposure to sunlight. Consuming phytoestrogens and isoflavins will assist your hormones through the oestrogen changes (Terrie, 2014; Whitney & Rolfes, 2013).
A day on a plate
UPON WAKING: apple cider vinegar, lemon and water
BREAKFAST: oats, sunflower seeds, berries, coconut, yoghurt
MORNING TEA: miso soup, nori, spring onions, asparagus, chicken
LUNCH SALAD: tempeh, quinoa, veg, feta, sesame seed, olive oil
AFTERNOON TEA: bliss balls – cocoa, almond butter, dates, LSA, mixed seeds
DINNER: brown rice, egg, prawn, veggies, tamari, lime
Menopause friendly bliss balls
- 2 heaped tbsp LSA mix
- 2 tbsp mixed seeds
- 2 heaped tbsp cacao
- 3 heaped tbsp almond butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp warm filtered water
- 8 fresh dates, pitted
1. In a high-powered blender, add all the ingredients and blend until the mixture is smooth.
2. Roll into 10 balls and refrigerate.
3. These can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 7 days (Sepel, 2014).
Whitney, E. and Rolfes, S. (2013). Understanding Nutrition, Cengage Learning Australia, 2013. Chapter 12
Jane, F. & Davis, S. (2014). A practitioner’s toolkit for managing the menopause. Climacteric: The Journal Of The International Menopause Society, 17(5), 564-579.
Sepel, J. (2014). The Clean Life. Australia: Sydney.
Terrie, Y. (2014). Managing menopause: An individualized approach. Pharmacy Times, 80(6), 16-23.
Jorge, M., Santaella, D., Pontes, I., Shiramizu, V., Nascimento, E., Cabral, A., Ribeiro, A. (2016). Hatha yoga practice decreases menopause symptoms and improves quality of life: A randomized controlled trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 26(7), 128-135.
Linus Pauling Institute. (n.d.) Micronutrient Information Center. Oregon State University.
Nutrient Reference Values (2017). Nutrients. Australian Government: National Health and Medical Research Council.