Yes. Menopause Can Be Sexy!
The first part in our Green Divas Eco-Sexy Menopause is Sexy series focuses on ways women can prepare to be at their very best leading up to and during “them changes.” This episode focuses on foods that support women’s health specifically for menopause. Listen up then read on for more details about menopause…
Menopause is the normal cycle of life where the menstrual cycles cease.
It often begins around forty years after menarche.
Menopause can be natural, premature (occurring before the age of forty) or surgically induced. It may occur quickly or take several years. Smoking cigarettes, illness, and genetic tendencies can bring menopause on earlier. Men also experience a type of menopause known as viropause or andropause.
When a woman has not had a period for thirteen months, it can be a time to celebrate her entering the time of wise womanhood. Women can rejoice in this and come into their creative potential. Seen as a rite of passage and new phase, it can be very empowering, freeing one from the need for contraception and monthly bleeding.
Ancient Greeks referred to menopause as a climacteric phase, where a woman takes another step up the evolutionary ladder.
Menopause is not an illness, though it may bring about some discomfort. It can be an opportunity for assessment of life. By ending the process of losing blood, a woman can actually conserve energy and live a relatively healthy life for twenty, thirty years, or many more years.
Some women experience only the cessation of the menses without any discomfort. Only in the human female is menopause experienced. Other mammals are capable of reproducing until they die. Perhaps this is part of the great plan, that women can have babies and still be there to take care of them for the next eighteen years, minimizing motherless children.
How menopause works…
During the five to ten years preceding the end of the menses, the ovaries become increasingly sensitive to gonadotropin hormonal signals. Immature follicles in the ovaries fail to mature, though there may still remain another 10,000 of them.
The ovaries become more sluggish, producing inconsistent hormonal amounts, which can cause cycles to become unpredictable. The pituitary gland continues to produce FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone). These hormones become elevated while the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop.
Asian medicine considers many menopausal concerns associated with blood or yin deficiency. The liver is the organ responsible for breaking down unneeded hormones and eliminating them. If the liver is exhausted, emotional turmoil such as depression, anger, restless sleep, and hot flashes can occur. When the kidneys are deficient, low back pain, decreased libido, and incontinence may happen.
Estrogen contributes to soft skin and moist vaginas. It’s depletion can lead to hot flashes, depression and increase in facial hair. The estrogen present before menopause is called estradiol. Even after the ovaries stop producing estrogen, the adrenal glands continue to produce smaller quantities. This form of estrogen will be slightly different, called dehydroepiandrosterone, which is converted by fat cells in the body into estrone.
Boost your menopausal nutrition!
During this time, menopausal nutrition should include foods that build the blood and strengthen the liver such as barley, beets, beet greens, black beans, black sesame seeds, deep sea fish, green leafy vegetables, jujube dates, berries, millet, mulberries, mung beans, pomegranates, string beans, sweet potatoes and walnuts.
Seaweeds are mineral rich and help promote vaginal elasticity. Soy products contain isoflavones, which can reduce hot flashes. Soy foods are also rich in calcium and cancer preventative. They are easiest to digest if consumed in a fermented form such as miso and tempeh. Find some great vegan and vegetarian recipes that feature these foods, including Meatless Mondays and more, in the Green Divas Foodie section!
Garbanzo beans are also beneficial. The flavonoids in orange and grapefruit inner peel can help prevent hot flashes.
Yogurt, of all the dairy products is the most assimable form, provides bone-strengthening calcium and inhibits yeast overgrowth. Minimize alcohol, sugar, caffeine, carbonated beverages, fried foods and high fat products. If eaten excessively, they can worsen hot flashes.
Knowing what menopause is all about, seeing it as an opportunity and following these simple nutritional guidelines can make you feel sexy during menopause.
Listen to the latest Green Divas Foodie-Philes podcast for more great tips on nutrition…
Asst. Ed. ~ Green Diva Christine / Images via Shutterstock.