As women continue to speak out about their experiences of menopause, awareness of the variety and severity of symptoms continues to grow. Ranging from commonly talked about symptoms such as hot flushes, to those that are less common such as dizziness – no two women’s experience of menopause will be the same. Regardless, for many women, menopausal symptoms can be challenging to say the least.
Fortunately, there are some ways in which symptoms and implications of the menopause can be managed naturally. As with so many aspects of health, tailoring and improving diet during menopause can not only help to alleviate symptoms, but can continue to benefit health long after the tricky transition is over. So, what nutrients are important during menopause?
B vitamins are undoubtedly some of the most important nutrients to consider during the menopause. As a group, they work synergistically to support some of the body’s most important processes, including those such as hormonal activity and mental performance. In particular, they can help to tackle certain menopausal symptoms such as brain fog, thanks to them being scientifically proven to support mental and psychological function.
Eggs, dairy products and meat all tend to be good sources of B vitamins, with plant-based sources including legumes such as beans, and leafy greens such as spinach.
When women go through the menopause, the drop in estrogen levels tends to worsen certain risk factors associated with heart disease. This includes weakening of the capillaries and arteries that carry blood around the body – capillaries which are put under increased pressure when experiencing symptoms such as hot flushes. Vitamin C helps to strengthen these blood vessels and maintain normal blood pressure, promoting heart health.
Vitamin C is present in lots of different fruits and vegetables, so stock up your fridge with red berries, citrus fruits and leafy greens to ensure you’re getting enough in your diet.
The declining estrogen levels during menopause also causes bones to become weaker. While the UK government recommend that everybody supplements with Vitamin D, it’s particularly important to make sure that you’re getting enough when going through this transition. Not only is Vitamin D essential for bone health, but also for maintaining muscle function – another area of health which is impacted by menopause.
Eggs, oily fish and red meat are all good sources of vitamin D, so trying to include more of these foods in combination with calcium rich foods will give your bones the best possible chance of staying healthy and strong throughout menopause. Plant-based sources of vitamin D can be harder to come by, but products such as breakfast cereals and orange juice are often fortified, so look out for this on pack.
There’s a lot of interest in the use of phytoestrogens as a way to naturally alleviate the symptoms of declining estrogen levels during menopause. Phytoestrogens are found in plants and have a very similar structure to estrogen, meaning that they can act the same way within the body. While more evidence is needed to fully establish whether phytoestrogens are able to improve menopausal symptoms, there is some evidence to suggest that increasing phytoestrogen consumption during menopause can help to reduce some of the common symptoms such as hot flushes.
Phytoestrogens such as isoflavones are present in foods including soya, lentils and chickpeas.
Iodine is an essential nutrient needed for normal thyroid function, meaning that a lack of it in the diet can often lead to an underactive thyroid - a condition which middle aged women are most at risk of developing. This is also the age at which the majority of women start to experience symptoms of the menopause.
The analogous symptoms between an underactive thyroid and menopause mean that misdiagnosis can be common. It also means that if you are experiencing both simultaneously, the symptoms can be worse. Ensuring you get enough iodine during menopause will ensure healthy thyroid function, and reduce the chances of worsening symptoms such as low energy, weight gain and depression.
The only good dietary sources of iodine are white fish and dairy, however, if you’re more plant based, the only good source is seaweed.
Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful®
Understandably, not everybody knows how to incorporate high quality seaweed into their diet. That’s why Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful® seaweed capsules are perfect for anybody trying to increase their iodine intake and improve their wider wellness. Just one capsule provides enough iodine to meet your recommended daily intake, making it easy and convenient for you to feel the benefits of seaweed for yourself.
Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful Menopause+ capsules provide Organic Scottish seaweed, carefully blended with other natural plant-based nutrients - specifically designed to manage symptoms of the menopause. Including Iodine, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, D and Red Clover, the Menopause+ supplement supports hormonal activity, energy, skin health and much more.
Click here to find out more.