It’s been over 12 months since your last period, and you sigh with relief as this means you have ‘medically’ gone through menopause. However, symptoms associated with menopause such as hot flushes, poor sleep, weight gain, and fluctuating mood still plague women for many decades after if they do not adjust their diet and lifestyle. After the menopause, due to the significant hormonal changes, we are also now more at risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. So here are my top nutrition and lifestyle tips to future-proof your health and help you live a happy and healthy life after menopause. These are also the foundation pillars that I use with all my menopause clients.
As we age, we become less efficient at metabolising starchy carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, and rice. So, to prevent unwanted weight gain, support our hormones, and boost our gut, brain, and bone health I recommend a diet that is high in good fats such as avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Consume good quality protein such as eggs, lean meats, and oily fish such as salmon, whilst also enjoying lots of vegetables that grow above the ground, think of broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, and asparagus. These plant foods will help keep you regular and give your gut bacteria a feast too! Our gut bacteria help support our gut, digestive, mental, hormone, and immune health.
It is becoming evident that being available 24/7 and always distracted by a screen is potentially damaging our health and we are now searching for ways to escape this. Keeping active and spending time outside greatly increases our mental health, self-esteem, and mood, which then has a knock-on effect on reducing our blood pressure; stress hormones, such as cortisol; cholesterol, and inflammation. So, it is a win-win for hanging out in nature.
I always recommend finding an activity that interests or excites you. I started open water swimming last year, and have since developed a love for being in cold water, which is great for your immune system, I now also have a new group of friends with like-minded hobbies.
When we sleep our bodies repair themselves. Getting enough sleep means, we wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. We pick foods that nourish and support our bodies and hormones. Our stress levels are lower, and our tolerance and patience levels are higher. Motivation is also elevated so we are much more likely to stick to our healthy eating and exercise regimes.
Therefore, sleep should be viewed as precious time and prioritised because when we do not get enough sleep it has a knock-on effect on our whole day; it impacts all aspects of life and health and even better it comes for FREE!
My top tips to sleep well are to create a wonderful bedtime routine, here are some ideas – a warm bubble bath with essential oils, listening to soft relaxing music, and reading a book. I also recommend coming off all electronic gadgets at least an hour before bed as the blue light from phones, laptops, and iPad screens tricks the body into thinking it’s still daytime, even though it’s dark outside.
We all experience stress daily and we all have personal thresholds to stress, which change depending on what’s happening in our lives at any given time. Our bodies are designed to manage short bursts of stress, and these short bursts overall are not too damaging to our health if our body is able to return to the relaxed mode after the event.
It’s well known now that long-term stress can be a trigger for some underlying health problems, so my final top tip for a happy, healthy life after menopause is to learn some simple, relaxation techniques that you can do daily; even if its just five minutes!
I am a huge fan of meditation and breathing exercises; apps such as Calm and Headspace offer guided meditation, daily uplifting quotes, as well as bedtime stories. So, if you are new to taking time out for yourself to relax, these apps are a wonderful place to start.
What have you found your biggest challenge to be?
Leave me a comment and together we’ll make a difference…
About The Author
Claire Foss is a nutritional expert having trained with the Institute for Optimum Nutrition. Claire Foss runs Foss Nutrition www.fossnutrition.co.uk Specialising in nutrition and hormones, in particular around the menopause and libido, advocating the 4 pillars of health – Food, Outdoors, Sleep and Stress, working through group programmes or on a one to one basis. She is also a full member of The British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine and The Complementary & National Healthcare Council.
She can also be found on Instagram @fossnutrition.
If you need help with nutrition and lifestyle guidance to support your health during and after menopause head over to my FOSS Nutrition Instagram page or my website www.fossnutrition.co.uk and download some free eBooks to get you started.