Lifestyle – sleep, diet & exercise
Back to our three favourite lifestyle pillars: sleep, diet and exercise. All are of course important for general health,9 however when it comes to menopause there are further benefits to keeping up with your diet, workout and sleep routine.
In the UK and US around 30% of postmenopausal women are reported to have osteoporosis,10 a disease related to diminishing bone density that makes sufferers more susceptible to breaks and factures. Why does this happen? Well, oestrogen helps to protect your bones and the dip in oestrogen production can contribute toward poor bone health.11 But what can we do to improve this? Exercise including strength, weight and balance training can improve your bone strength and lessen your chances of breaking or fracturing bones.12 Also, diet can contribute to bone strength. Ensuring you get enough calcium and vitamin D can help you keep your bones in check.13 Calcium can be found in dairy products, green leafy veg, nuts (including milks for vegans) and fish. For vitamin D, look for supplements and sun. Maybe an excuse for a winter holiday? You can also find vitamin D in fish and egg yolks.
As well as keeping your bones healthy vitamin D is important to keep your brain and mood level and, food and exercise can be the perfect remedy. Depression and mood swings are also a symptom of menopause so ensuring you’re breaking a sweat, whether that’s running or yoga is going to increase your production of serotonin and endorphins and therefore boost your mood.14 Unfortunately, a symptom of depression is brain fog and impaired memory. Ensuring you’re eating a balanced, healthy and nutrient-rich diet is also key to keeping your mood in check. From enough vitamin A, B, C, D and E to iron and calcium, food can be important when contributing to your overall health. For example, fatty fish, berries, nuts and wholegrains are thought to be great mood boosting foods.15 There is also a lot to be said for keeping your gut healthy as, research has suggested, both dopamine and serotonin and other ‘happy hormones’ are made in your gut.16 Consuming probiotics and prebiotics through yoghurt, fermented food and supplements can help take care of your gut and produce much-needed happy hormones. The take home: food is powerful.