A nutritionist has revealed her top tips on how to manage symptoms of the menopause without medication.
Kate Llewellyn-Waters, from London, said she often has menopausal women contacting her who are only told by GPs just ‘take hormones’ without looking at lifestyle factors.
Speaking exclusively to Femail, the nutritionist said that the most effective way to control symptoms is by increasing foods high in phytoestrogens and increasing intake fruit and vegetables.
A nutritionist has revealed her top tips on how to manage symptoms of the menopause without medication. Stock image
She said: ‘I have been approached by so many women recently who are trying to manage their menopause symptoms, telling me the only advice they get from their GPs is to “take hormones”.
‘Managing the menopause and symptoms is finally being discussed, which is very welcome to a lot of women are at their wits end with their work performance, and home lives being negatively affected.
‘Menopause symptoms can be helped hugely by nutrition and lifestyle interventions, but this just hasn’t been explored enough.’
UP YOUR INTAKE OF VEGETABLES AND SOYBEANS
Kate Llewellyn-Waters, from London, shared her tips with FEMAIL
Kate said: ‘In a one-year study in 2012, of more than 17,473 menopausal women, the participants eating more vegetables, fruit, fibre and soy experienced a 19 per cent decrease in hot flushes compared to the control group.
‘This decrease was attributed to the healthier diet and weight loss.
‘[Eat more] phytoestrogen-containing foods, including soybeans, flaxseeds, apples, carrots, celery, fennel, parsley and legumes.’
NATURAL TOPICAL PREPARATIONS
Kate added that natural progesterone cream can be effective in perimenopause.
‘By regulating the menstrual cycle, hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, sleep disruption, and premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
‘If you are taking a medication, always check with your medical practitioner before introducing a nutritional or herbal supplement.
Lifestyle can be a huge part of improving symptoms, and that impaired endorphin activity in brain may provoke hot flushes.
‘Regular physical activity – at least 30 minute walk a day is ideal – decreases the frequency and severity of hot flushes,’ she suggested. ‘Additionally, exercise may also obviate the need for HRT.
‘One study showed that women with no hot flushes spent 3.5 hours a week exercising, so walking every day for 30 minutes can be so beneficial, especially as exercise elevates mood.
‘Smoking, increases risk of early menopause and doubles the risk of menopause between ages of 44-55 years.
Lifestyle can be a huge part of improving symptoms, and that impaired endorphin activity in brain may provoke hot flushes. Stock image
Kate added that ‘nutritional supplements can also be a great help.’
Relieves hot flushes and menopausal vaginal symptoms and improves blood supply to vaginal wall when taken for more than four weeks.
Plants for specific symptoms include:
- Valerian for insomnia
- Chaste tree for dysfunctional uterine bleeding
- Black Cohosh is a very important herb for menopausal symptoms. It relieves hot flushes, night sweats, headache, insomnia, mood swings. It improves fatigue, irritability, vaginal dryness, however, it may not work in the presence of an anti-estrogen, such as tamoxifen
- Red Clover can reduce hot flushes
- Korean or Chinese Ginseng, reduces mental and physical fatigue, and enhances the ability to cope with physical and mental stressors by supporting adrenal glands
- Ginkgo biloba extract improves blood flow for cold hands and feet. Also improves forgetfulness that accompanies the menopause. It increases blood flow to the brain, enhances energy production in the brain, increases uptake of glucose by brain cells, and improves transmission of nerve signals. It may take 12+ weeks to see the beneficial effects, although most report benefits within a 2-3 week period, some women do take longer to see the beneficial effects.
Found in rice bran is a phytochemical, which is a chemical compound produced by plants. Some of these phytochemicals exert a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. It promotes endorphins, and also stimulates lean muscle tissue growth. It is effective even in surgically induced menopause, and also lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, which are a type of are a type of fat found in your blood.
Hesperidin and Vitamin C
‘Research suggests that combining vitamin C and bioflavonoids (plant-derived compounds), which have potent antioxidant power, can strengthen and stabilise capillaries and other small blood vessels, which can prevent hot flushes from occurring.
‘Hesperidin and vitamin C is my go-to vitamin C and bioflavonoid supplement, as hesperidin improves vascular integrity (blood vessel health) and reduces the permeability of blood vessels and makes them less fragile. Combined with vitamin C, hesperidin and other citrus flavonoids can prevent hot flushes.
Also known as Vitex agnus-castus, treats chaste tree hormone imbalances in women, and increases luteinising hormone, which is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland and one of the main hormones that controls the reproductive system.