Why I Think Diet and Exercise is Important in Menopause
I am always reluctant to discuss the topic of diet and exercise in menopause. Not because I don’t think it’s important. But because it’s spoken of so often as a remedy for pretty much everything which ails us, I think we tune it out.
I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m guilty of it.
But we shouldn’t. In fact, diet and exercise should be the first line of defense when it comes to coping with the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Why? Because without it, nothing else you do will have much of an effect.
We live in a drug culture, ladies. We have a syndrome or medical condition to explain everything from leg twitches to heat rash to diabetic nerve pain – and we have a corresponding drug to go with it. Try as we may, unless we completely unplug from society – and the television and Internet - there is no way humanly possible to not be influenced by it.
So as much as I believe in hormone therapy to treat perimenopause and menopause symptoms, I don’t believe it is the be-all-end-all. No matter what the medical community and pharmaceutical companies would have us believe. Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, there are those who believe that diet and exercise should be the only remedy for perimenopause and menopause symptoms.
I don’t believe that either. If you are one of those people, well, more power to you. But, most women I know benefit from some type of hormone therapy during perimenopause and menopause, if only for a short time. It’s also about balance – and I’m not talking about Yoga either.
I mean, there should be a balance of all of these things when it comes to treating perimenopause and menopause symptoms. We should exercise – even if we just walk for half an hour daily. And we should eat good food.
That means plenty of protein, an assortment of fruits and vegetables, balanced with healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. And look, if you get overwhelmed with this notion that you should eat X-amount of servings of this or that every day (I certainly do), then strive to try different colored seasonal vegetables and fruits on a weekly basis.
That way, you’re getting a variety of foods, and you’re not getting bogged down in the minutia of numbers and servings. Oy vey.
The point is, you have to make diet and exercise a priority. Otherwise, you’re going to be relying on drugs to fix everything, and well, they just won’t. Nothing clears your head and calms your nervous system better than aerobic exercise; and stable blood sugar from a healthy diet of protein, fats, and complex carbohydrates can stabilize mood swings in a remarkable way.
I know, because I suffer with a hyper-active nervous system and blood sugar spikes which affect my mood in the worst way. These things have a profound effect on how I feel.
But, don’t take my word for it, ladies. Do it for yourself. Apply your efforts for just one week to getting some form of exercise for at least half an hour every day, and focus on eating good proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables.
Then take notice of how you feel. You will be amazed. Incorporate these changes along with hormone therapy, and you will feel like a new woman. Guaranteed.
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.