Eating to Alleviate Menopause Symptoms
Menopause. That wonderful time in a woman’s life when she may experience hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, migraines, brain fog, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, vaginal dryness, weight gain, breast pain, dry eyes, chest pain and shortness of breath. Many women try hormone replacement therapy to ease their symptoms, but often the same can be achieved through nutrition.
Following a raw vegan diet can be an effective, natural way to reduce menopausal symptoms.1 I’ve been following a raw vegan diet for over 13 years. After I turned 45, when I occasionally chose to eat cooked food, I was instantly hit with hot flashes, night sweats, breast pain, brain fog and insomnia. As soon as I went back to raw food, all symptoms disappeared within three days.
This happens because cooking food over 118 degrees creates toxins.2 When we consume cooked food, our bodies experience digestive leukocytosis, producing an increase in white blood cells to protect us from those toxins; eating raw food does not create digestive leukocytosis.3
Many feel that eating our natural species-specific diet can help alleviate common health conditions. Our closest primate relative, the bonobo, shares approximately 98.7 percent of our DNA4 and we can learn a lot from them. They eat sunrise to sunset within a 6-8 hour window choosing fruit as their main source of calories. When fruit is less abundant, they include more leafy greens. (Bonobos also eat ants and termites; thank goodness we have B12 supplements!).
Here are five suggestions you may consider to reduce menopausal symptoms:
Eat a raw vegan diet. Enjoy an abundance of fresh, ripe, raw, organic fruit and vegetables and keep your fat intake to less than 15 percent of your daily calories.
Practice 16/8 intermittent fasting. Several studies have shown that eating all your meals within an 8-hour window is one of the most reliable ways to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.5
Eat smaller meals. Eating a large portion of food puts pressure on your vagus nerve which can cause chest pain and shortness of breath. Try eating three to four smaller meals each day during menopause.
Take magnesium glycinate. After six trips to the ER last year with severe chest pain and shortness of breath, the nurse practitioner at my cardiologist’s office suggested I try 200mg of magnesium glycinate once or twice a day.6 I picked up a bottle and within two days, the chest pain and shortness of breath I’d been struggling with for over eight months completely disappeared. Always check with your health care practitioner before adding any supplements.
Eliminate alcohol and caffeine. Both alcohol and caffeine are toxic to humans.7,8 My favorite beverages now include Smart Water, Harmless Harvest Coconut Water, fresh-squeezed orange juice and soda water.
By making optimal lifestyle choices, menopause can be a happy, fruitful transition to the next phase of your life.
Stacey Bendfelt is a certified raw food nutrition specialist promoting a high-fruit, low-fat lifestyle for optimal health and athletic performance. www.StaceyBendfelt.com.