The transitional period that sees a woman’s menstrual cycle cease may pass by without incident for some, but for others there are notable nuisances that can have a significantly negative impact on wellbeing, quality of life, confidence, & everything in between.
At this stage in the game I have had the distinct privilege of supporting many women through this period of their lives & have a few top tips & tricks up my sleeve as a result. I would also say that if you are suffering in any way please do not consider yourself in this alone. There is support & there is relief.
The menopause is a process, but 1 to be lived through not survived by the skin of your teeth.
FENUGREEK – low energy levels, brain fog, loss of motivation & a feeling of decreased strength are often related to testosterone & in women this is often forgotten about with focus solely on oestrogen & progesterone.
- In many cases improving testosterone levels can be the night to day light switch in addressing the above & this amazing spice is incredible for naturally boosting levels.
- You want to try to incorporate 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon of organic fenugreek seeds everyday.
- They have quite a significant crunch to them & are quite bitter but some people really enjoy this, also if you incorporate them into something like a wrap batter they will soften as they are cooked.
- If you want to sip as a tea add 1 heaped teaspoon to a cup of hot water, leave for 8-10 mins then strain & sip.
- You can also blitz them in a food processor or blender/grind them in a pestle & mortar & then use the ground/chopped result instead.
CORIANDER SEEDS & SAGE TEA – as oestrogen levels fall this has a direct impact on the hypothalamus which controls body temperature, appetite levels & mood to name just a few things! It’s this that is usually the culprit for those hot flashes, that in fact are more like an internal furnace turning on without warning.
- Again it’s back to the spice cupboard as these natural medical foods will have a direct modulating action on the hypothalamus & it’s goodbye to those meltdown moments!
- You can do 1 or both, or alternate between the 2 but ideally I would give them some time to impact your body (at least 5-7 days) rather than the seeds 1 day then the tea the next.
- TO PREPARE THE SEEDS – Take 1 tablespoon of whole coriander seeds, lightly crush them & cover with 200ml water. Leave to soak for 8-10 hours then strain the liquid from the seeds & drink before bed.
- TO MAKE FRESH SAGE TEA – Add a large bunch of fresh sage to a pan with a litre of water, cover with a tight fitting lid (sandwich a piece of baking parchment between pan & lid if needs be). Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes then leave to go cold. Remove the sage & drink cool, at room temperature or warm. Aim for 1-2 cups per day at any point. It is quite an intense flavour so if you need to dilute it down with extra water that is fine, or you could have a smaller amount more like a shot. If you don’t have fresh sage, an organic tea bag is fine.
SOY – natural soy (edamame, organic tofu & tempeh) is a phytoestrogenic food which basically means it contains plant compounds that look structurally like oestrogen so they will have a similar if much weaker effect. Useful as natural levels of oestogen fall to keep moods stable, energy levels up & mental clarity as sharp as possible.
- I would suggest between 2-4 ½ cup sized portions a week of the forms above. Avoid soya chunks, protein powders, processed desserts, cheeses, yoghurt & milks (unless the last 2 are 99-100% soya beans without binders, gums or sweetening agents).
- Soy is also a valuable source of plant based calcium which is a vital skeletal mineral, & as bone density will naturally decline with lower oestrogen levels post menopause these are a great boost to keeping bone health brilliant ongoing.
FLAXSEED – another phytoestrogen but also a valuable source of Vitamin E (if freshly ground), soluble fibre & plant based omega 3.
- Many women will find their bowels become a tad sluggish as hormone levels fluctuate, in a similar way to how many people can be a touch constipated before they start their period & then find they go more regularly for the 1st day of their bleed. More soluble fibre within our diets draws fluid into the colon & helps regulate bowel motility (as long as there is sufficient water too so drink up!).
- Skin elasticity & lustre can also diminish a tad & Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant to prevent this from progressing. Combine this with that omega 3 & you’ve got a youthful visage reinforcing dynamite duo.
- 1 tablespoon per day soaked in 200ml of warm water for 15 minutes would be a therapeutic dose.
CEYLON CINNAMON – if the menstrual cycle is a perfectly harmonious orchestra, then the perimenopause is a group of primary school children learning the recorder…jagged & quite perturbing on the eardrums of all those in hearing range! And the body views the fluctuation of hormone levels as exactly that, something stressful & uncomfortable.
- When the stress response is perturbed in this way it takes blood sugar levels on a rollercoaster ride, & causing a relative rise in insulin levels. It’s this that underlies the tendency for central weight gain during this period of time.
- Ceylon cinnamon acts directly on the cells to improve their ability to take in sugar from the bloodstream to make cellular energy. This means less goes into storage so goodbye gains, plus it will help with energy levels, clarity & satisfy a sweet tooth if there are cravings for simple carbs running through everything else.
- ½ -1 teaspoon of a lovely organic product would be ideal.
CEREMONIAL CACAO – sleep is another integral element that can be knocked off course which is the opposite of ideal as we all know everything seems a million times worse when we are tired! This can often then perpetuate a vicious cycle of reliance on caffeine to function, but the issue there is that caffeine spikes the adrenal stress response & as explained above we don’t want to be doing that!
- My exchange for my clients who love their coffee is to switch in this beautiful 100% cacao instead (use the code PL1 for 10% off).
- The benefits being a gentle form of non-stressful stimulation, an abundance of antioxidants to protect the heart & cognitive function as well as supporting cellular energy production, & mood boosting endocannabinoids too. You also get the bitter astringency of coffee which many of the naturally decaf root based alternatives will lack.
- To prepare; add 1 heaped teaspoon to a small cup with a splash of boiling water, let it melt, then add ½ cup more water & whizz with a mini electric whisk. Add a splash of pure nut milk if you wish.
Written by Phoebe Liebling
Nutritional Therapist & Clinical Director