Loathe as I am to admit, I recently turned 40. I know, I don’t believe it either. I don’t feel a day over 29. Trust me, I’ve celebrated enough 29th birthdays to know what 29 feels like. As young as I might feel at heart, there are days when a random event – like an invitation to my 20-year high school reunion – reminds me that I haven’t really stopped the clock.
Where did the time go?
Time sure flies when you’re having fun. I’m hearing my old high school chums complaining about early signs of menopause and, quite frankly, it scares me. Some of these women are experiencing insomnia, hot flashes, and night sweats that leave them cranky and irritable. I sure don’t want to fall into that category, but I know menopause cannot be avoided.
Menopause happens to every woman, it’s just a fact of nature. We have a finite number of eggs to release each month, our menstrual cycle will eventually come to an end, and with it we’ll experience a decrease in estrogen production.
As our estrogen supply decreases, our androgen supply grows, leading to a deeper voice and sometimes even facial hair. Might not sound pretty, but good ole Mother Nature has provided a fountain of youth in the form of delicious fruits, vegetables and leafy greens.
Fuel For the Finely-Tuned Human Machine
- One Fish, Two Fish – Fats are your friends! Well, some of them at least. I’m talking about healthy fats, such as omega-3’s and medium-chain triglycerides – the likes of which can be found in fish and coconut oil, respectively. Eating a serving of fish, three times a week, should provide an ample amount of omega-3’s. Coconut oil, on the other hand, can easily replace butter in all of your baking recipes.
- Become a Protein Pro – Protein is necessary for the growth and maintenance of healthy cells. As your body replaces dying cells with healthier cells, you can’t help but look and feel better as a result. Contrary to popular belief, protein from animals (think the four-legged variety) is not nearly as good for you as that from fish or poultry. The best source of protein, however, is good old plants. A pound of leafy greens per day will provide a healthy dose of protein. Sound like a lot? Try sneaking some kale and spinach into your juices and smoothies.
- Say “Goodbye” to Unhealthy Carbs – Carbohydrates tend to also be high in glucose which the body has a tough time digesting, contributing to an overall sluggishness that accompanies an everything bagel after the initial sugar buzz has worn off. This doesn’t mean cut out carbohydrates completely, the body needs carbs to function properly. Switch to low-glycemic carbs, like those found in fruits and vegetables. Convinced you can’t live without oatmeal or white rice? A bowl of quinoa might surprise you.
- Bone Up on the Importance of Calcium – Estrogen helps the body absorb calcium, which is essential for maintaining bone density. After the age of 50, and especially for women experiencing menopause, additional calcium is necessary to maintain healthy bones. If you’re taking a supplement, make sure it’s paired with vitamin D, and if you’re getting your calcium from dairy reach for the low-fat version.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate – Nothing helps the body maintain optimal function quite like pure, clean water. A gallon per day will do your body so much good. Spring water is better than water from the tap, which is often treated with chlorine and fluoride, but if you can’t afford spring water then consider investing in a good water filter.
Eat Better, Look Younger
Dry, itchy skin is another unfortunate side effect of menopause, and it’s another reason why hydration is so important. For extreme cases of dry skin, a slathering of petroleum jelly applied fresh out of the shower might be in order, but most of the time a little bit of coconut oil is all that’s needed for soft, supple skin.
When it comes to treating ailments, I always look for herbal remedies, skin care included. Recently I’ve started using a mixture of coconut oil and a small amount of turmeric powder as my daily moisturizer, it gives me a radiant glow and also fights acne and wrinkles.