Some weeks ago, my lovely friend, Francesca Shrady, asked me to write a guest blog post on nutrition for her clients–mostly mid-life women.
I have been researching menopause for many years, since I use to do a lot of personal training/nutrition consulting with older women in my previous career. Now that I am approaching 50, the research I’ve done is definitely paying off!
Isn’t it interesting that a healthy menopause also demands the same kind of nutrient-dense diet I recommend to my fertility & pregnancy clients?
As I step into my 49th year, I am excited to be in the best health of my life, at an age when many women are struggling to feel good in their bodies. Eighteen months ago, I was experiencing insomnia, creeping weight gain around my middle and a distinct lack of “juicyness”. Now my sleep is good, my peri-menopausal belly is almost gone and I have my libido back!
I used to do personal training with menopausal women and now I work with women around pregnancy & fertility issues. I noticed how my pregnant clients’ hormones balanced naturally when all the ingredients were in place and until recently, not much has been discussed about the optimal diet in menopause. It’s been quite a journey as I’ve researched and experimented with optimizing my nutrition.
I’d like to offer my Six Sexy Tips to nourishing your body for ideal hormone balance during this rite of passage that we call menopause.
1. Do the D. The manufacture of hormones require certain ingredients. A key ingredient is Vitamin D, which is not a vitamin, actually, but a hormone pre-cursor. Many of us are deficient and a previous blog post covers the essentials. Vitamin D is also needed to drop excess body fat.
2. Lubricate. We also need healthy fats to build hormones. Saturated fat from free-range animals, organic dairy, wild-caught fatty fish, free-range eggs, avocados and nuts are all good sources of fat to promote hormone balance. Not to mention the benefits to aging skin…I hardly need moisturizer anymore, even in the high desert environment of Santa Fe.
3. Rock n Roll. Sufficient minerals are essential to hormonal balance. Most of us are Magnesium-deficient, since our water & soil is so depleted and it can be challenging to get enough from food. 200-600 mg Magnesium Citrate or Glycinate taken before bed promotes relaxation and a good night’s sleep. Potassium, Zinc, Selenium and Iodine are also critical, so make sure you are eating foods that provide these nutrients, such as bananas, avocados, meat, or seafood. Don’t forget the oysters!
4. Taste. Adequate protein is needed to provide the materials to sustain our lean body mass. Suggested intake is approximately .7 grams of protein per pound of body weight for a moderately active woman. Remember that resistance exercise is needed to build lean body mass. Protein is also highly satiating and helpful when you are wanting to lose weight.
5. Drink it up. Hydration will keep you in the flow! No need to drink excessively, but if you often forget to drink, then make it a habit to keep some filtered water nearby. Drink to thirst between meals, but minimally with meals, so you don’t dilute your stomach acids.
6. Mix it up. Speaking of digestion, all the nutritious food and supplements in the world won’t help if you aren’t able to absorb them. Your gut health is crucial, so if you suspect you are gluten and/or dairy intolerant, then go on an elimination diet for at least 6 weeks and see how you feel. Add in some fermented foods like sauerkraut or kombucha tea to promote healthy bacteria or take probiotics if needed.
Once you have your nutrition dialed in, you may find that (given time) your hormones balance naturally. If you feel you need more support, you may want to research bio-identical hormones. My favorite book on the subject is Dr. John Lee’s What your Doctor May NOT Tell you about Menopause.
I offer nutrition coaching sessions via phone or Skype. Feel free to contact me, if I can help!