You are what you eat!

A healthy, balanced diet is one of the most important requirements for a natural, stress free menopause, along with balanced hormones, exercise and positive outlook. Six foods to boost brain health include avocados, coconut oil, grass fed butter, eggs, fatty fish and raw nuts. Your heart will benefit from beets, rocket and sprouts. 

Three gut-healthy foods include kefir, fermented vegetables and bone broth, while the spices turmeric and ginger are potent inflammation quenchers. 

Mushrooms and allium vegetables like garlic and onions are potent immune-boosters, and grass fed beef and whey protein help build strong muscles. 

Notable for their chemo-protective abilities are broccoli and other cruciferous veggies, leeks and black cumin (also known as black seed) 

Top Six Foods for Your Brain

Topping the list of brain-boosting superfoods are foods high in healthy fats. This should come as no surprise considering your brain is mainly made up of fats.

1. Avocados are a great source of healthy oleic acid (monounsaturated fat, which is also found in olive oil), which helps decrease inflammation.

 2 Organic coconut oil. Besides being excellent for your thyroid and your metabolism, its medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) are a source of ketone bodies, which act as an alternate source of brain fuel that can help prevent the brain atrophy associated with dementia. MCTs also impart a number of health benefits, including raising your body’s metabolism and fighting off pathogens. 

3. Grass fed butter and ghee. About 20 percent of butterfat consists of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which are used right away for quick energy and therefore don’t contribute to fat levels in your blood. Therefore, a significant portion of the butter you consume is used immediately for energy, similar to a carbohydrate. Ghee, which has a higher smoke point than butter, is a healthy fat particularly well-suited for cooking. It also has a longer shelf life.

4. Organic pastured eggs Many of the healthiest foods are rich in cholesterol and saturated fats, and eggs are no exception. Cholesterol is needed for the regulation of protein pathways involved in cell signalling and other cellular processes. It’s particularly important for your brain, which contains about 25 percent of the cholesterol in your body.

5. Wild-caught salmon and other fatty fish. While most fish suffer drawbacks related to contamination, wild-caught salmon and other small, fatty fish, such as sardines and anchovies, are still noteworthy for their health benefits in light of their low risk of contamination,  and are high in omega-3 fats necessary for brain and heart health. Avoid farmed fish, however, as they’ve been identified as one of the most toxic foods in the world!

6. Organic raw nuts such as macadamia and pecans. Macadamia nuts have the highest fat and lowest protein and carb content of any nut, and about 60 percent of the fat is the monounsaturated fat oleic acid. This is about the level found in olives, which are well-known for their health benefits. Pecans are a close second to macadamia nuts on the fat and protein scale, and they also contain anti-inflammatory magnesium, heart healthy oleic acid, phenolic antioxidants and immune-boosting manganese.

Three foods to boost your heart health

Like your brain, your heart needs healthy fats, so all of the foods just mentioned will benefit your heart as well. Aside from that, the following three are known for their cardiovascular benefits:

1. Beets, raw or fermented. Research shows beets have powerful health benefits, courtesy of their high nitrate content. Your body transforms nitrates into nitric oxide, which enhances oxygenation and blood flow and has a beneficial impact on your circulatory and immune systems. Research3 shows raw juice bee juice can lower blood pressure by an average of four to five points in just a few hours.

Since 36 percent of each beet is simple sugars, if you have diabetes or are insulin resistant, fermented beets, also known as beet kvass, would be a preferable option, as the fermentation significantly reduces the sugar content. Beet kvass is also a great source of healthy probiotics.

2. Rocket, a relative of the cruciferous family of vegetables, contains flavonoids known to help improve blood vessel function, increase blood flow, lower blood pressure and lower inflammation.

It even has cleansing properties to counteract the poisoning effects of heavy metals in the system, particularly in the liver, and helps eliminate pesticides and herbicides from your body. With a tangy, slightly peppery kick, rocket is a tasty addition to just about any meal..

3. Sprouts, micro greens and baby greens. Harvesting greens before they reach maturity results in nutrient-dense plant foods that allow you to eat less in terms of volume. A simple way to dramatically improve your nutrition is to simply swap out lettuce for sprouts and/or micro-greens in your salad. Even a few grams of micro-greens per day can satisfy the recommended daily intake of vitamins C, E and K.

Three Foods to Get Your Gut Health on Track

Mounting evidence reveals there’s more to nutrition than previously thought — a large component of it actually revolves around nourishing the health-promoting bacteria in your body, thereby keeping harmful microbes in check. One of the reasons a healthy diet is able to influence your health is by the fact that it helps create an optimal environment for beneficial bacteria in your gut, while decreasing pathogenic or disease-causing bacteria, fungi and yeast. Among the top contenders in this category are:

1. Raw, grass fed kefir . This cultured milk product, which is easy to make at home with raw grass fed milk, is loaded with probiotics. It also contains fibre, which is another important source of nourishment for the healthy bacteria in your gut.

2. Fermented vegetables . One of the best and least expensive ways to optimise your gut microbiome is to eliminate sugars and processed sugars and eat traditionally fermented foods. Kefir is one; fermented vegetables are another. Here you have plenty of choices, as you can easily ferment just about any vegetable you like.

Using a special starter culture made with vitamin K2-producing bacteria will also turn your fermented veggies into a great source of vitamin K2.

3. Organic bone broth. Bone broth is quite possibly one of the oldest meals on record, going back to the Stone Age. It may also be one of the most healing. Not only is it very easily digested, it also contains profound immune-optimising components that are foundational building blocks for the treatment of leaky gut and autoimmune diseases.

Take on the world ladies – look good and feel great – even in lockdown

Well, the lockdown continues, and there seems to be no end in sight. But there are silver linings! People have been amazing, and apart from bringing out the best in most of us, helping out elderly neighbours and the needy, it has also unlocked our ingenuity and imagination. Inventive and entertaining videos on YouTube abound, and there are any number of offerings on how to learn new skills on-line from a range of experts. We’ve joined in, and Helen is doing a presentation with a group of other women on how to have a natural, stress free menopause.

You can learn absolutely everything you’d ever want to know about the summit over here, but as a quick overview:

• The summit will run from 11th May through 15th May

• Each day will be packed with amazing speakers who are ready to help you ‘Take on the world – look good and feel amazing – even in lockdown’

• We’ve got a pop-up Facebook group where you’ll find accountability buddies, connect with other women, ask the speakers questions, and whatever else we come up with!

• You can attend the summit absolutely free, but you can choose to grab the access all areas pass at any time. This pass will give you an all-access pass to the summit (meaning you get all the videos for life)

* Dealing with stress * Alkaline Health *Online Workouts * The 3 Principles * Yoga * LCHF/

Ketogenic Diet * Psychic Healing * Intermittent Fasting * Hypnosis * TFT * Skin Care *

Education Strategies * Imposter Syndrome * Emotional Eating * Personal Styling * Rapid

Transformation Technique * Online Personal Training * Natural Menopause Treatments *

Breathing Exercises * Manifesting * Pilates * Cellular Health

The access all areas pass is currently being offered at a special price, and it will disappear

for good once the summit is over, so start thinking about now!

Are you excited?! (I sure am!)

Head over to the website to learn more and grab your free ticket. More information will be

sent straight to your inbox afterwards.

I can’t wait to kick this thing off!

GET YOUR FREE TICKET!

Anxiety, Menopause and the dreaded C word

One of the most common symptoms of the menopause is anxiety. With the world in turmoil over the Corona pandemic, worry, tension and fear have a really negative effect so it makes sense to reduce them as soon as possible.  If you have felt more anxious than usual try these 5 ways to alleviate it.

1. Meditation – Calm your mind by developing a meditation habit. Select a quiet, comfortable place and meditate for a few minutes each day. You don’t need any special equipment, just a quiet space. Getting out in nature, if possible in these restricted times, helps too. You can find plenty of meditation videos on You Tube. Two we recommend are One-Moment Meditation by Marty Boroson and the brilliant Waking Up by Sam Harris.

2.  Take time out –  Where possible remove yourself from the situation which is making you anxious. Listen to music, read a book, catch up on a box set or learn relaxation techniques. Lots of people are relieving stress by Spring Cleaning!

3.  Diet – Choose foods to boost your mood. Foods rich in Vitamin B such as pork, chicken, leafy greens and citrus fruits. Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) have been linked with uplifted and enhanced moods. Try salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines. Avoid caffeinated drinks and sugar and anything processed. All foods should be organic to avoid the interfering effects of added hormones and pesticides.

4. Exercise – Evidence shows a link between physical activity and mental wellbeing so try introducing more exercise into your day. There are loads of fitness experts offering programs on TV and YouTube, including 30 day yoga with Adrienne and dishy Joe Wicks, the Body Coach! And if you’re able to safely go out for a walk, make it a brisk one. That combines exercise with the benefits of Nature and fresh air. Even fresher these days with the drop in pollution from traffic 🙂

5. Sleep – Make sure you get enough sleep. Tiredness exacerbates anxiety and you can cope with life much better if you aren’t feeling tired and grumpy. If you’re having trouble sleeping try our article on sleep How to get a good night’s sleep

Have you noticed yourself feeling more anxious since peri-menopause? What have you tried? Share your remedies with us in the comments section or on our Facebook page

Making the sunshine

Why you need vitamin D during menopause

Although vitamin D is vital for everyone, it is particularly important for women going through menopause. Vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin, although scientists refer to it as such. It’s a steroid hormone that you get from sun exposure, food sources, and/or supplementation. The term refers to either vitamin D2 or D3, but D3 (chemical name 25-hydroxy vitamin D) is real vitamin D—it’s the same substance produced naturally through your skin by sun exposure.

Optimising your vitamin D levels could help prevent at least 16 different types of cancer. According to one large-scale, randomised, placebo-controlled study, it can cut the risk by up to 60 percent.

The most important factor is your vitamin D serum level. To prevent a wide variety of diseases and health ailments, your vitamin D level needs to be between 50 and 70 ng/ml year-round. According to the most recent research, adults need about 8,000 IU’s of oral vitamin D3 per day in order to get serum levels above 40 ng/ml.

The ideal way to optimise your vitamin D level is through sun exposure in summer, or a safe tanning bed during the winter months. According to Dr Joseph Mercola, a tanning bed comes a close second after natural sun exposure as an ideal way to optimise your vitamin D levels, as opposed to getting it from fortified food items or supplements. However, it must be the right kind of tanning bed—one that produces UVB without dangerous EMF radiation produced from magnetic ballasts used in most conventional tanning beds. Vitamin D is also found naturally in foods such as eggs, organ meats, animal fat, preferably organic, and cod liver oil. If you take a vitamin D3 supplement, you also need to take vitamin K2 as it helps move calcium to your bones and teeth, and remove it from your arteries and soft tissues.

 As a very general guide, you need to expose about 40 percent of your entire body for approximately 20 minutes to the sun, between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, when the sun is at its zenith, as UVB rays will only penetrate the atmosphere when the sun is above an angle of about 50° from the horizon.

Morning Sunshine Breakfast Shake

If you’re looking for an extra surge of energy in the morning, a good and hearty breakfast may be exactly what you need to get you going. But forget about the usual carb-loaded fares like waffles, cereals and bagels — they do nothing for your health and instead load you up with unhealthy levels of sugar.

Total time: 20 minutes to 1 hour Serving Size: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of raw cashews 
  • 2 cups filtered water or coconut water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon powdered wheatgrass or other greens

Method

  • Soak cashews for 20 minutes to an hour. Drain and rinse.
  • Place cashews in blender with all ingredients, except for the chia seeds. Blend until smooth.
  • Pour into tall cups and stir in the chia seeds.

7 signs you may be Vitamin D Deficient 

Peri Menopause. What’s it all about?

Healthy diet in peri-menopause and menopause

It is only relatively recently that science has been able to break down the female experience they simply called ‘change of life’ and give each stage of it a name, like ‘peri menopause’, ‘menopause’ and ‘post menopause’.

‘Peri menopause’ is the first stage and the one it is vital to understand and crack right at the beginning. It is when the body begins to prepare itself for a time when child bearing is over and no longer the focus of the body biology. 

This usually happens in a woman’s 40s and is generally a fairly measured process, a gradual build-up to the time when the menstruation cycle ceases completely. Peri menopause is signalled by a dropping off in progesterone production. Progesterone is such a critical hormone in females that when its production slows down or ceases , much trouble can be expected. That’s because normal health requires a hormonal balance between progesterone and its opposite, oestrogen. Take one away and the other becomes dominant.

Symptoms of peri menopause

Here are some of the ‘symptoms’ that are signs of progesterone decline:

  • Anxiety 
  • tearfulness 
  • weight gain (or loss)
  • lowering libido 
  • night sweats
  • increased menstrual cramping
  • cracked and dry skin, amongst others

These uncomfortable symptoms are because the body is trying to adjust to the relative oestrogen excess.

Oestrogen and progesterone are what are known as the ‘sex hormones’. But when they are unbalanced, it affects other hormones too. For example, cortisol levels may increase and insulin resistance can become more common. 

All these hormones are synthesised in the body using nutrients absorbed in the digestive process, so it is absolutely vital at this potentially unbalancing time to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Another word of explanation! Before menopause the ovaries are the main source of oestrogen manufacture, but as they become less active the balance shifts. Eventually at least half of the body’s oestrogen and progesterone is made in the adrenal glands. 

At times of stress the adrenal glands will always prioritise the secretion of the stress hormones over the creation of sex hormones – that’s their prime function, you see. Stress therefore is a key factor in keeping your body hormonally balanced from your 40s onward. The body, meanwhile, can also seek oestrogen from other sources – like the fat cells which store it – once the ovaries start to slow down. Of course this may explain why some women put on weight at this time – the body craves more oestrogen which translates as more food. 

Oestrogen dominance, particularly during peri menopause, is the cause of decreased sex drive, irregular or absent periods, bloating, swollen and tender breasts, not to mention depression and irritability, wild mood swings, cold hands and feet, weight gain, and headaches.

  How to manage peri menopause

Eat a healthy balanced diet, avoiding refined carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, cake and biscuits. Choose fresh, organic vegetables, grass fed beef, free range, organic chicken and non farmed fish, plus pulses and whole grains instead.

Try to cut out the use of stimulants like caffeine and alcohol, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t make yourself miserable!

And keep yourself busy! Exercise not only keeps your mind off your problems, it is good for you! Include things like regular reflexology or massage treatments, daily meditation, better time management. And spend time in the great outdoors, getting back in touch with nature, and even keeping track of your actions and thoughts!

K is for Kundalini

In times gone by, menopause was seen as a natural part of life. Then in the 1960s, with the expanding of the drug industry, menopause began to be treated as an illness, needing HRT and/or tranquillisers. As well as weight gain and hot flushes, women worried about losing their femininity, youth, vitality and libido.But looked at in a different way, it can be a whole new and exciting experience

Some healers have explored the connection between menopause and kundalini. Kundalini is energy that rests in the body. It is thought that when women allow it, kundalini can be awakened during menopause. The word is Sanskrit for “serpent-power” and it is useful to picture this energy as a coiled snake or as energy that is sleeping. It rests at the base of the spine, waiting for us to awaken it and use its great potential. Perhaps a better way to think of it is as a heightened sense of awareness and consciousness.

Some yogis and healers believe that menopause hot flushes are actually releases of kundalini energy being guided up the spine. Just think of them as “power surges!” 

We can become aware on a new level. As kundalini ascends, it passes through each of our energy centres, so we may feel some physical side effects such as headaches, heart palpitations, indigestion, etc. Often, menopause symptoms simply disappear over time. To make the most of this transformation, try to spend some time alone in a natural setting every week. Sit in the park with your back against a tree. Walk barefoot in the sand at the beach. Hike a trail in the mountains to watch the sunrise. Or listen to peaceful music and allow your feelings and thoughts to flow. If you’re having trouble sleeping, allow yourself to take catnaps during the day, and remember, you’re at an age now where you don’t care what other people think! Relax and allow what is happening to flow through you.

The average menopausal woman is not an ancient crone! There are safe, natural ways ways to relieve the symptoms. We can view menopause as an opportunity to achieve something that only comes with age – maturity and wisdom. These days women can live active healthy lives well into their eighties and beyond, and look forward to new and exciting and opportunities.

7 Ways Magnesium Rescues Hormones

One of the doctors we admire is Dr. Lara Briden. Her approach is a natural one, and she prescribes magnesium for almost every hormonal condition, including PCOS, thyroid, hair loss, PMS, migraines, and peri-menopause.

“I love magnesium because it makes people feel better almost immediately. What’s up with this mineral? Why are we all so deficient? We’re deficient because our cells dump magnesium during stress. We actively push it out of our bodies as a way to rev up our nervous system”

Why magnesium is good for hormones

  1. Regulates cortisol. It calms your nervous system and prevents excessive cortisol. Your stress hormonal system—also called your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis—is your central hormonal system. When it functions well, then your other hormones (thyroid and reproductive hormones) will function well too.
  2. Reduces blood sugar and normalises insulin. It’s effective at improving insulin sensitivity. Healthy insulin sensitivity means fewer sugar cravings and is effective treatment for weight loss and PCOS.
  3. Supports thyroid. Magnesium is essential for the production of thyroid hormone. It is also anti-inflammatory, which helps to quiet the autoimmune inflammation that underlies most thyroid disease.
  4. Aids sleep. Magnesium is the “great sleep-promoter,” and sleep is crucial for hormone production. Sleep is when we should enjoy a beneficial surge of anabolic hormones such as DHEA and growth hormone.
  5. Fuels cellular energy. It’s so intricately involved with mitochondria and energy production, that we can safely say: “Without magnesium, there is no cellular energy”. Hormonal tissue has a high metabolic rate, and so requires even more cellular energy and more magnesium than other tissue.
  6. Supports a healthy hormone response. It aids in the manufacture of steroid hormones including progesterone, oestrogen, and testosterone. It also normalises the action of progesterone on the central nervous system, which could be why it relieves symptoms of PMDD, migraines, and menopause.
  7. Activates vitamin D, and slows ageing. Without enough magnesium, vitamin D cannot do its job. Plus it slows ageing as it prevents telomere shortening, and reduces oxidative stress.

Should you test for magnesium deficiency? The answer is no. As the majority is inside your cells, there no accurate way to measure it with a blood test. You simply have to try a supplement and see how you feel.

Magnesium supplements

The best supplement is magnesium glycinate or bisglycinate (the mineral joined to the amino acid glycine). This is the least laxative supplement, and also the most absorbable. Food sources of magnesium include leafy greens, almonds, chocolate, and mineral water.

For a special treat, try magnesium and resveratrol rich chocolate!

Ingredients

Combine all ingredients – you may need to soften coconut oil if it is solid. Pour into chocolate moulds or a lined baking tray and allow to set in the fridge.

Get creative and add your favourite flavours to tantalise your taste buds.
Try a dash of vanilla; pinch of sea salt; nut butters; goji berries; raspberries, orange peel; pistachios; flaked almonds. The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy the guilt free pleasure!

Toxic fingertips!

It’s very difficult to find good, healthy cosmetics. Words like “organic” and “natural” are not well-regulated and are often misleading, with numerous “natural” products containing toxic substances. For a start, toxic substances are often included in nail polish. Here’s how to spot them, and avoid them in the first place.

The toxic trio

If you look at the label of any nail polish, you’ll see a swarm of chemicals, such as butyl acetate, heptane, and dimethyl adipate. While most of these are completely harmless, some are not so benign.

The so-called toxic trio of nail polish consists of dibutyl phthalate (a plasticizer), toluene (to evenly suspend color), and formaldehyde (a known carcinogen that is used as a hardening agent). The toxicity of these substances is still debated, but there is significant evidence to raise big question marks. Let’s take them one by one:

  • Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) is a commonly used plasticizer — it makes products more flexible. According to the EPA, this chemical appears to have relatively low acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) toxicity. No human studies have been published, so almost all of the information we have on them comes from animal studies. The effects aren’t severe, but short term exposure has been linked to nausea and irritated eyes, skin, nose, mouth, and throat. There were also reports indicating that DBP might have damaging effects on the reproductive system —  especially in males.
  • Toluene is a paint thinner. It’s a colourless, water-insoluble liquid often used in common glue. It’s the ingredient sniffed as a recreational inhalant in “glue sniffing!” Toluene toxicity has been studied much more than that of DBP and has been associated with dizziness, numbness, dry skin, and irritated nose, eyes and throat. Liquid toluene is much more dangerous than its vapour, and some people can be more sensitive to it than others. Levels of up to 200 parts per million (ppm) are considered acceptable, and nail polish generally has much lower levels than this. The mechanism by which toluene produces systemic toxicity is not known, but the effects are generally short-termed.
  • Formaldehyde is frequently used in a variety of products although it can pose a significant danger to human health. It is a common precursor to more complex compounds and materials used in many industrial branches. Low levels of formaldehyde occur naturally in a variety of foods, such as fruits, but those levels aren’t dangerous. In America the FDA, which oversees the cosmetics industry, does not prohibit or regulate the use of formaldehyde in cosmetics, except in nail polish, since it can be toxic. The problem is in the quantity, as nail hardeners include formaldehyde concentrations of up to 5%, while nail polish can go up to 0.5%, which is quite high.

Other health concerns with nail polish

Health advocates have campaigned against these substances for over a decade, but there are other chemicals that are also of concern. A study conducted by researchers from the Duke University and Environmental Working Group suggests that a chemical called triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP, is used in many types of nail polish.

This is a hormone-disrupting chemical, which is quite disturbing, but the study made another worrying find: the substance gets absorbed into the body every time nail polish is used.

“It is very troubling that nail polish being marketed to women and teenage girls contains a suspected endocrine disruptor,” said study co-author Johanna Congleton, Ph.D., MSPH, a senior scientist at EWG. “It is even more troubling to learn that their bodies absorb this chemical relatively quickly after they apply a coat of polish.”

Ironically, we get really annoyed when these substances are present in the materials around us, but for some reason, we’re more tolerant with what we put on ourselves.

“People get really upset about phthalates in plastics, but they don’t think about what’s in the cosmetics they’re applying directly to their skin,” study co-author Kate Hoffman, a researcher at Duke University, told Yahoo News . “The skin is an organ that takes it all in.”

The thing is, these substances are sometimes not written on the label at all, or even if they are written, their effects are often not mentioned. They’re surrounded by numerous other benign chemicals and more often than not, the user is completely unaware of the potential toxicity carried by cosmetics.

Does this mean we should stop using nail polish?

Absolutely not. It’s important to remember that the dose makes the poison, so the occasional use should pose no risk. If you use nail polish all the time or if you work in a cosmetic salon, however, you may be at significant risk. Ensure that ventilation is adequate in the salon or room, and take care of your cuticles to minimise contact between polish and skin.

Also, try to stay informed and avoid products with potentially toxic compounds. However, this can be quite difficult because due to the lack of strict regulation, labels are often misleading. You can use Skin Deep, the Environmental Working Group searchable cosmetics database to look for “safer” polishes – water-based nail polish is generally much safer and eco-friendly.

You can have beautiful nails and stay safe, it’s completely possible. Nail polish has been around for thousands of years, and it’s here to stay, so we just have to make it healthier.

Who said that? – feeling invisible as you get older and what to do about it.

We hear so many women over 45 saying they have noticed that they appear to have become invisible, either at work, to the opposite sex or just in general life.  No need for Harry  Potter’s invisibility cloak, age has done the job for you!

Sometimes that suits us just fine as we don’t seek to gain a lot of attention from our actions. However the flip side of that is that it might make you feel under valued, unappreciated, sad or annoyed. Combine the invisibility affect with the mood swings that some women are affected by during perimenopause and you could end up literally in a hot mess.

So what’s a woman to do?

Challenge yourself: Change something. Take on a new and exciting challenge. If you’ve ever fancied trekking across the Andes on a llama, now’s the time to do it. Of course you don’t have to go to extremes. Simply changing the sorts of clothes you wear can be a challenge for some women.

Seek out attention, and not in a negative way by screaming, shouting and becoming a drama queen. Make an effort to strike up conversations with new people – you never know who you’re going to meet. Think up some new conversation openers that will lead to interesting and varied interactions.

Decide what you want and the best way to get noticed. Make a plan and go for it. If it all feels a bit uncomfortable or too much of a leap then taking small incremental steps will get you there – it may be a bit slower but if you get on the path and keep going you’ll get there.  If you remember the film Finding Nemo – just keep swimming.

Grow your confidence. Feeling invisible can lead to a lack of confidence and you owe it to yourself to build yours up. Start by adopting an assertive posture, stand up straight and smile. Think positive thoughts. Repeat affirmations to yourself out loud and regularly. Banish negative thoughts. Take notice of the thoughts you have and  whether they are negative or positive. When you think a negative thought, become aware of it and ask yourself how you could turn it into a plus.

Think of positive role models for older women. Many women in the public eye  have spoken recently about their menopause and how they have overcome and problems. Learn from them and ape their successes. Some of our favourites are Joanna Lumley and Helen Mirren.

Get support from like minded women and share how you overcome the challenge of being unseen. Our Facebook group is a great place to start. Feel free to join us there for support and a great place to share your triumphs and tribulations. Here’s the link

HRT raises breast cancer risk for years!

Vitamin D is vital for good health but did you know it plays a role in protecting you from cancer. WE discuss the link between vitamin d and breast cancer

An analysis of dozens of studies found that women taking the therapy remain at a higher risk for more than a decade after stopping use

A sweeping new analysis adds to the evidence that many women who take hormone therapy during menopause are more likely to develop breast cancer—and remain at higher risk of cancer for more than a decade after they stop taking the drugs.

The study, published recently in the Lancet, looked at data from dozens of studies, including long-term data on more than 100,000 women who developed breast cancer after menopause. Half of those women had used hormone therapy, or HRT. The longer women took the medicine, the more likely they were to develop breast cancer. Experts say the findings could shape how women and their health care providers decide how to manage symptoms of menopause.

“This is a consensus of many researchers and many studies all around the world. These are important new results,” said said Valerie Beral, a cancer epidemiologist at the University of Oxford and one of the lead authors of the new study.

Women have long been prescribed synthetic versions to replace the hormones that decline during menopause. The medications—usually delivered in a pill, but sometimes in a patch, gel, or injection—provide women either estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progestogen, a synthetic form of progesterone. For some women, they may help to tamp down symptoms of menopause.

For years, research has suggested a potential link between HRT and an increased risk of breast cancer. In 2002 and 2004, the Women’s Health Initiative released reports that showed women who used combination HRT were more likely to develop breast cancer. HRT use fell after the reports received widespread coverage. That was followed by a decline in breast cancer rates.

But there wasn’t much information on whether that risk persisted, or how it differed based on the type of HRT a woman took. So an international group of researchers pulled together data from dozens of studies—published and unpublished—to examine the issue more closely. They took a woman’s age at first use of HRT, how long she used the medication, and the time elapsed since she last used it into account. The mean age of women starting menopause was 50, which was also the mean age at which women started using HRT.

The researchers found that compared with women who never used HRT, women who did had a significantly higher risk of developing invasive breast cancer. They estimated that 6.3% of women who never used HRT developed breast cancer, compared to 8.3% of women who used the combination drug continually for five years. That’s roughly one extra cancer diagnosis for every 50 users.

The longer women used HRT, the greater their risk of breast cancer. Women who were no longer using HRT had a lower relative risk than women who were currently using it—but they remained at an elevated risk for more than a decade after they stopped taking the drug. The level of risk was dependent on how long a woman took HRT. The study also found that women who took the combination drug were more likely to develop cancer than women who took the estrogen-only drug.

“The findings are significant,” said Joanne Kotsopoulos, a breast cancer researcher at Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto. “The longer you use it, the higher the risk,” added Kotsopoulos, who wasn’t involved in the research but wrote a commentary on the study, also published in the Lancet. “It’s a balance. Every woman is different, but the risk is high for breast cancer, so they need to take a very serious approach.”