(Natural News) Most women in their late 40s or early 50s undergo menopause, the “Big M,” and its symptoms often last for several years. If you’re one of the women who regularly experience symptoms of menopause, such as irritability and hot flashes, certain lifestyle changes can help address your condition.
Follow a nutritious diet and exercise regularly
Many menopausal women find that it’s much harder to shed the pounds as they age. Additionally, they may become a bit heavier in the abdominal region.
Unfortunately, this tendency to gain weight is due to uncontrollable factors like decreasing estrogen levels and the natural loss of muscle linked to aging.
However, you can still control two important things: exercise and diet.
- Follow a healthy and balanced diet full of fresh vegetables. You also need to monitor your caloric intake to manage your weight.
- Exercise regularly to lower your risk of osteoporosis (brittle bones). Try cardio and weight training. If you’re not in the mood for strenuous exercise, walk at least four hours every week to lower your risk of getting a hip fracture.
Also, try to eat more fiber-rich foods that can promote weight loss and better digestion, such as:
A healthy diet and regular exercise will help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Get enough vitamin D and calcium to prevent osteoporosis
Once you hit menopause age, your risk of osteoporosis significantly increases. Don’t wait until the Big M starts before you prioritize your bone health.
To keep your bones strong, you need calcium, protein, and vitamin D. Calcium makes your bones more robust while vitamin D aids in calcium absorption.
Aside from taking supplements, you can also increase your calcium and vitamin D intake by eating certain foods.
Some calcium-rich sources include:
- Dairy products
- Fortified products (e.g., cereals and juices)
- Leafy green vegetables (e.g., kale and spinach)
- Legumes and white beans
Foods that contain vitamin D include:
- Beef liver
- Cod liver oil
- Fatty fish (e.g., mackerel, salmon, and tuna)
- Fortified products (e.g., cereals, dairy, and orange juice)
Smoking doesn’t just harm your health, it also puts you at risk of earlier menopause, unless you’re already (peri)menopausal. It also increases your risk of experiencing hot flashes. (Related: 5 Natural Ways To Reduce Your Menopause Symptoms.)
Manage your alcohol intake
Your drinking habits can significantly affect your risk of breast cancer and sleep disturbances. A study suggests that drinking three or more alcoholic beverages daily increases your risk of breast cancer 1.5 times. So the more you drink, the higher your risk of cancer.
Menopause also affects your sleep quality, just like alcohol. If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider limiting your alcohol intake.
Get enough sleep to improve your mood
Poor sleep and mood problems are closely connected. You might get cranky if you don’t get enough sleep, and if you’re having a tough week, you may have trouble falling asleep.
This can aggravate menopausal symptoms and lead to various mood issues, such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, and panic attacks.
To improve your sleep quality, try the following tips:
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and heavy meals several hours before you go to sleep.
- Follow a regular bedtime schedule.
- Sleep in a cool, dark, and quiet room. This can also help address night sweats.
- Start a relaxing routine before bed, like reading or listening to calming music.
- Don’t keep a TV in your bedroom and leave your phone in a different room so you can fall asleep faster.
Practice Kegels to fight urinary “leaks”
The risk of urinary incontinence increases as you age. To address this symptom, practice Kegel exercises (Kegels) to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Kegels involves tensing the muscles you use when you hold your urine in. Hold these muscles for several seconds, then relax and repeat. Try to do 10 Kegels exercises at least five times a day.
Maintain oral hygiene
Your oral health is also linked to your hormone levels. As you get older, your risk of gingivitis (inflamed gums) and periodontitis (gum disease) significantly increases. This is due to a greater accumulation of plaque.
Studies have linked gum disease to heart disease, and losing teeth may indicate osteoporosis. Maintain oral health by brushing and flossing twice daily. Let your dentist know if you notice any changes in your teeth or gums.
Menopause isn’t something to be afraid of, as long as you make positive lifestyle changes such as following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and limiting your alcohol intake. These changes won’t just address your menopausal symptoms, they will also improve your overall health, which is important for women of any age.