Amazing Anti-Ageing Avocados

Avocados have many properties and are especially useful for menopausal women in helping to balance hormones

Avocados Can Balance Hormones, Boost Metabolism, and Fight Disease

Avocados are great news for menopausal women as they are able to block the oestrogen receptors in our cells (which lead to hormone imbalances ) and reduce oestrogen absorption rates, increasing progesterone levels.

Avocados have powerful anti-ageing properties contained in both the flesh and the oil.  Scientists have recently discovered that avocados possess potent anti-ageing properties.  The central components of our cells are mitochondria which produce the majority of a cell’s energy from nutrients, and play a very important role in the fight against free radicals. Unfortunately, they have a dark side – they generate unstable chemicals that inflict damage to both the mitochondria itself and other cellular components. Avocados are able to penetrate deeply inside our cell structures, enter the mitochondria and activate its energy production, allowing cells to function properly even while being constantly attacked by free radicals.

This damage directly affects ageing. It has been the goal of many scientists to find remedies that will reverse this damage. They have found it in avocado oil! This new discovery can truly revolutionise our view of avocados.  Lead study design author, Dr. Christian Cortez-Rojo, noted that “avocado oil causes accelerated respiration in mitochondria, which indicates that the use of nutrients for producing energy for cell functions remains effective even in cells attacked by free radicals.

Avocados are a great source of healthy raw fat, which is missing in many people’s diets today. They contain around 20 essential nutrients which include:

  • Fiber
  • Potassium (more than twice the amount found in a banana)
  • Vitamin E
  • B-vitamins
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Iron
  • Boron

In addition, avocados boost your body’s ability to absorb fat-soluble nutrients from other fruits and vegetables, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein. Avocados possess  antibacterial and anti-fungal properties  that help to support a healthy immune system.  Avocados are a wonderful source of the amino acid lecithin, which prevents liver overload, helps to balance weight, and boosts brain functions. On top of the many health benefits of avocados, avocado oil has an exceptionally high smoke point. Cooking with oils at temperatures above their set smoke point can create trans fats – a leading contributor to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health conditions. Protect your heart and health with avocado oil!

 

heart health in menopauseChocolate Avocado Pudding

Ingredients

  • 3 large avocado, soft and ripe
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 3-6 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey

Directions

1. Combine avocado, cacao powder, coconut milk, vanilla, coconut oil and honey in blender. Blend on high for 1 minute or until smooth.

2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes

Bone health in menopause

Bone loss accelerates during and after menopause for about five to seven years. It's vital to take care of your bone health in menopause.

Bone up on bone health

Normal bone loss accelerates during and after menopause for about five to seven years. You can lose as much as 35 percent of your bone density during those few, short years…many people have weak bones and don’t even know it! Hormone imbalance, due to low levels of progesterone, over-acidic diet, nutrient deficiencies, smoking, excess alcohol, and sedentary behaviour are common osteoporosis risk factors. The good news is that there’s lots you can do. Healthy progesterone levels are vital and a healthy diet that includes calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K2, and magnesium, an organic progesterone cream and regular weight-bearing exercise also help to support bone health.

 

What is bone?

 

Bone is a living substance that contains blood vessels, nerves, and cells. There are two types of cells that control your bone structure:

Osteoblasts – cells that build your bones

Osteoclasts – cells that break down old or damaged bone to make room for new bone

 

Strong bones protect your heart, lungs, and brain from injury.

 

4 Steps to Help Protect Your Bones in Menopause

 

One of the best ways to achieve bone health in menopause (or any other time) is a diet rich in fresh, raw whole foods. In addition, you need healthy sun exposure along with regular, weight-bearing exercise:

 

  • Optimise your vitamin D3 either from natural sunlight exposure, a safe tanning bed or an oral vitamin D3 supplement. Check your blood levels regularly to make sure you’re within the optimal range.
  • Optimise your vitamin K1 through a combination of dietary sources (leafy green vegetables, fermented foods like natto, raw milk cheeses, etc.) and a K2 supplement, if needed.
  • Make sure you do weight-bearing exercises.
  • Consume a wide variety of fresh, local, organic whole foods, including vegetables, nuts, seeds, organic meats and eggs, and raw organic unpasteurised dairy for calcium and other nutrients. The more of your diet you consume RAW, the better nourished you will be. Minimise sugar and refined grains.

 

N.B. Osteoporosis Drugs

Contrary to what you’ve been told, most osteoporosis drugs actually weaken your bones. Bisphosphonate bone drugs impact your normal bone repair process by killing off your osteoclasts, and do make your bones denser, but because the osteoclasts are killed the bone is actually weaker as it is not remodelled properly.

 

 

AND REMEMBER!…it’s never too late to start! 

 

21 ways to keep cool this summer (or any other time)

How to cool down

We’re enjoying some hot weather in the UK at the moment. Some of us thrive in the heat but couple  really hot weather with hot flushes and you get a hot sticky mess! Here 21 ways you can keep cool:

1.      Ice and plenty of it. Apply ice to pulse points on your wrists, neck, ankles, back of the knees, elbows and groin.

2.      Avoid alcohol. If that sounds like a step too far then reduce your intake. Alcohol dehydrates you, and combined with sun is not a good mix. Alcohol also brings on hot flushes so you have a double whammy.

3.      Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water. If you want more flavour  with your water try adding slices of fruit and herbs and infusing in the fridge. We love lemon, mint and cucumber. Or strawberries and basil. Come up with some of your own combinations and share them in our Facebook thread.

4.      Wear fibres which wick away sweat. Bamboo is a natural fibre which is naturally wicking.

5.      Take a cool shower. The water doesn’t have to be freezing to cool you off. Just take the thermostat down to as low as you can bear and stay under it for a couple of minutes or until you are chilling out nicely.

6.      Eat fruits and vegetables with high water content. Cucumbers, watermelon and strawberries are great and tasty too.

7.      Cut down the caffeine. Caffeine brings on hot flushes. Avoid drinks containing it such as tea, coffee and cola.

8.      Do it yourself air con:  place a large bowl of ice in front of a fan and the fan will move the cool air around the room.

9.      Even better, invest in an air conditioning unit. Lots of us wouldn’t dream of being without heating in winter, but never think of the opposite in the summer months.

10.   Take a dip. If you’re lucky enough to live near the sea make time for a cooling swim. Otherwise your local pool or even a paddling pool in the garden. If that’s not possible try soaking your feet in a bowl of cold water.

11.   Change your day around so you are least active during the hottest part. Where possible work in the early morning or later in the evening and have a snooze (out of the sun) in the hottest part of the day.

12.   Close windows and keep blinds/curtain shut when the sun is on them. Open for ventilation when sun has moved round.

13.   Limit electronic devices: If you regularly work with a laptop you’ll know how much heat it generates. Use a table or other surface for your laptop so you are not directly affected.

14.   Lighten up – dark clothes absorb heat more than light ones. Stay away from black and you’ll look and feel cooler. The same applies to dark curtains and materials around the house which will make rooms hotter.

15.   Put your body creams in the fridge.

16.   Wear loose natural fibres – cotton or linen are lovely during the summer. However cotton holds on to moisture so if you are perspiring try something like bamboo which takes the moisture away from skin.

17.   Reduce hot flushes – read our post on natural ways to reduce hot flushes

18.   Eat cold. Avoid heating your house unnecessarily by using the oven as little as possible. Eat salads and other cold dishes. Lighter meals naturally make your body produce less heat so stay away from big steaks and casseroles and eat fish, legumes and poultry.

19.   Sleep alone – well these are all optional! Having another body in the bed makes you hot. A very light sheet or cover is all you need – or nothing at all. Star fishing or sleeping spread eagled with none your body parts touching each other helps avoid getting sweaty and uncomfortable.

20.   Go Egyptian – The Egyptians dampen a large towel or sheet in cool water and use it as a cover. I haven’t tested this one but can see how it would work.

21.   Seek out shady places – if you can get out in nature, a forest or wooded area often feels much cooler than anywhere else. The dense leaves on the trees prevents the sun getting through and heating up the ground below. Beneath trees is one of my favourite places in the heat.  In any case stay out of the sun between 11-3 as this is when it’s hottest.

What are your best tips for keeping cool? Share them here or on our Facebook page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brain Fog in Menopause: What is it and how to cope with it

Menopause brain fog and how you can clear a way through it

The menopause brain fog you notice is definitely  real. Leaving the remote control in the fridge or forgetting what you came into a room for is frustrating and women notice it happens more and more around their 40s and 50s.

Have you noticed some things aren’t some clear as they used to be? Do you feel forgetful, muzzy headed and have difficulty concentrating at times? Those times when you go into a room and forget why, or start doing something and lose your train of thought are very real for menopausal women. A recent study by Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University found that brain fog around the ages 45-55 is a  real feeling.

Memory and cognitive tests were carried out on men and women, hormone levels were measured and functional MRI scans were used to view changes in the brain’s memory circuitry. The research found an association between decreasing levels of oestrogen and brain fog in women, particularly those with lower levels of oestradiol (one of the oestrogen hormones produced by women’s bodies). However, the fog wasn’t the same in all women with lower oestradiol, prompting the big  (unanswered so far) question: why should some women be more resistant to lowering levels?

 

So what can you do to clear the menopause brain fog?

1.  Increase your activity levels. Regular brisk walking is fine. You don’t need to take up marathon running (unless you want to).
2.  Keep mentally stimulated. Challenge yourself with a range of activities which keep you thinking. Puzzles like Sudoku and Words with Friends are great for some gentle brain stretching.
3.  Get good sleep.
4.  Avoid toxins – try to stick to natural, organic products to banish those damaging chemicals.

5.  Help your memory by writing the important things down. Keep a diary of important dates and events and get in the habit of referring to it. Make lists.

6.  Make life simpler. Could you help yourself by reorganising life in a different way. Now is a great time to reassess what you do and the ways you do it. Often complexity gets built into life over time and we rarely step back and assess what is going on. You could simplify by decluttering your house/work place or delegating to others.

How long does menopause brain fog last?

The good news is, most women seem to bounce back after menopause and are just as sharp as ever. So hang on in there. Taking the simple steps we’ve outlined above and knowing that it will come to an end will really help.

 

Menopause at Work and 9 Practical Steps You Can Take to Help Yourself

How to manage menopause at work

Managing menopause at work

Did you know there are over 3.5 million women aged over 50 in the workplace – and that’s just in Britain. The average age for a woman to go through menopause is 51 and in the United Kingdom we retire at 68. This means there are 17 years on average that women are menopausal and post menopausal at work. In fact one third of a woman’s working life.

 

The emotional and physical changes you experience during and after menopause may impact various aspects of your work. For example just like all other relationships,  the relationships you have with co-workers and bosses can change and maybe feel awkward. Your productivity may decrease as you experience the physical and psychological  symptoms and take time to adjust. In a recent survey, a quarter of women questioned said they had considered leaving working due to menopause symptoms, so it is a very real issue for women at work.

 

In previous years women have felt embarrassed about being menopausal and largely kept their symptoms and feelings private. Fortunately menopause is increasingly being recognised as a valid occupational health issue which is a great help to women where awareness exists. However there is still some way to go.  You need to take charge and make sure your working environment is one where you feel you want to stay.

How to manage your menopause at work

In addition to the lifestyle changes you can make to help with menopause symptoms, there are a few options open to you at work:

 

  1. Discuss your symptoms with your line manager or other sympathetic management and see if adjustments can be made to your working environment. It may help you to have a fan for hot flushes or flexibility in working hours.
  2. If your company is large enough, you may have an occupational health department who have already thought about how menopausal symptoms can be accommodated within the work place.
  3. Brain fog may affect your cognitive abilities at work (and home). Use technology to give you reminders and assistance where possible.
  4. Avoid hot flush triggers at important times e.g. before an important meeting by reducing caffeine and spicy food intake.
  5. Manage your diary around your symptoms where possible. For example if you can set the clock by your hot flushes avoid meetings and presentations at these times.
  6. Get help from your colleagues, especially the ones in the same boat as you. It really helps to have some friendly and upbeat mutual support around you.
  7. Lifestyle changes such as reducing your weight or giving up smoking will really help not just your menopause symptoms but health in general.
  8. Manage anxiety and mood swings using meditation and mindfulness. The 4-7-8 breathing technique will also help if you are feeling stressed and panicky. Breathe in through nose for 4, hold for 7, breathe out through mouth for 8. Repeat 4 times.
  9. If you feel your confidence waning due to menopause remember positive affirmations can be a great help. These are positive statements to get your mindset in the right direction. You need to repeat them regularly and out loud to yourself. We frequently  publish affirmations on our Instagram and Facebook profiles or you can make up your own.

 

Above all do not suffer in silence. There are plenty of things you can do to make your working and home life easier.

 

 

 

The wonderful thing about menopause!

The wonderful thing about menopause

‘The number one secret to a healthy happy menopause is hormonal balance!’  We have stressed that many times in our newsletters to you.

But, that taken care of, the next most important thing is to embrace the fabulous opportunities that menopause brings.

It’s Freedom, Baby!  Freedom from debts to children, husbands, lovers, or the species. You can use your creativity, energy and power to plan your life with you as Numero Uno!

It’s time to re-think how you feel about yourself. Don’t assume because ‘you’re a woman of a certain age’ you have to conform to the norm. If you want to grow your hair long, wear shocking pink and get a tattoo, do it! Go through your wardrobe, and apart from discarding anything you haven’t worn for a year, or anything that makes you look like everyone’s favourite maiden aunt, ask yourself if you love it? If not, it’s off to the charity shop!

Now is the time to take up new hobbies; learn a language, do a Cordon Bleu cookery course, take up sky diving! The opportunities are endless, and it’s all about you and what you want and haven’t been able to do before.

And we’d love to hear from you! Let us know how you’re doing, what challenges you are tackling, and any triumphs you’ve had.

As Dr Christiane Northrup says  “The good news is that the menopausal transition is an exciting developmental stage that changes you at the core level. It is designed to heal all the unhealed parts of you. That IS the wisdom of menopause.”

Sorry can you say that again? HRT linked to hearing loss

Hearing difficulties in menopause

Synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be linked to hearing loss in menopausal women, according to recent research. A long-term health study in the US that examined data on over 80,000 women found that those who took hormone replacement therapy for between five and ten years had a 15 per cent higher risk of hearing loss. And those who took it for longer had a still greater chance of suffering from deafness.

Scientists said it was not clear why the pills were linked to a higher chance of hearing loss. Some studies had previously suggested the therapy could protect hearing, as oestrogen influences the auditory pathways. 

The findings, from the North American Menopause Society, also unexpectedly found that women who had a late menopause were more likely to suffer hearing problems – with a 10 per cent higher risk among women who were above the age of 50 when they entered “the change”. The study – believed to be the first large prospective study to examine the links between menopausal onset and risk of hearing loss – did not prove that age or hormone therapy caused the increased risk of deafness, as the research was observational. But other studies in animals have shown that administration of synthetic oestrogen and progesterone can worsen hearing.

 

“These findings suggest this treatment may have implications for hearing,” states Menopause:The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.

 This is a further nail in the coffin for synthetic hormones treatments! Another study, The Women’s Health Initiative, which began in 1991, was halted in 2002 when it showed that HRT increased the risk of:

  • breast cancer
  • coronary heart disease
  • stroke 
  • pulmonary embolism.

As a consequence of these findings, which indicated that the incurred risks of HRT outweighed the supposed benefits, it was recommended that HRT not be prescribed for the purpose of chronic disease prevention in postmenopausal women.

More and more, this shows the need to move away from all synthetic treatments for menopause symptoms and towards natural bio-identical remedies, which are both more effective and safer.

 

Guilt Free and Good For You – What a Treat!

Natural stress free menopause superfood bars

We were delighted when Stacey and Katharine of Bar and Girl Naturals contacted us through our Instagram feed to offer us some of their superfood mini bars to try. As avid testers and tasters of anything ‘healthy’ and natural we accepted straight away.

The bars are designed for women over 40 to help support women with some of the symptoms associated with peri-menopause and menopause. They come in three varieties which each contain ingredients to help particular symptoms.

The Superfood Bars

Stress Free Menopause, superfood bars Bar and GirlApricot and Citrus: may help hot flushes. Contains  organic flax, wild yam and superfoods. Wild yam is one of the ingredients of the natural progesterone cream we are so fond of, so it’s great to see it in this bar. The bars are really tangy and taste delicious.

Chocolate Spice: may help low libido. Contains organic flax, maca, turmeric and superfoods. Probably my favourite (Caroline) though it’s very difficult to choose between them. There are some lovely chocolates hits with organic chocolate chips in these bars. Turmeric is a well known anti-inflammatory and extremely beneficial for a variety of ailments.

Cherry Almond: may help sleeplessness. Contains organic flax, tart cherries and superfoods.  Helen doesn’t have a sweet tooth and these were her favourites. Tasty and tangy, the tartness of the cherries and nuttiness of almonds are a real treat for the taste buds.

The bars are small with a serving size of four bars making 28g. However they are like eating four chocolates out of a box and in my opinion you wouldn’t want any more than that at once. They are packed with nutritious superfoods such as nuts, seeds and chia. Additionally, all the bars are gluten free, dairy free, non GMO, vegan, kosher and soy free.

They were developed when Stacey Rosen noticed that her health-obsessed friend appeared not to suffer any of the symptoms associated with peri-menopause and menopause. She then worked with a top Manhattan pastry chef to develop bars especially for women over 40s. I would thoroughly recommend the bars and you don’t have to be over 40 or a woman  to enjoy them. However they contain  ingredients particularly beneficial to women.

I love everything about them, the size, the re-sealable bags, the flavour (it was difficult to pick a favourite), and the added bonus that they are good for me. Thank you Stacey and Katharine.

If you’d like to try for yourself visit Bar & Girl Naturals website www.barandgirlnaturals.com

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Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about peri menopause

Everything you ever want to know about peri 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’. What every woman over the age of fifty could have told them, it took scientists painfully long to recognise as a serious complication of the process of ageing, and the wait was costly in terms of misunderstanding, misdiagnosis and mistreatment.

So now it is official. It’s in the books. ‘Peri menopause’ is first stage menopause 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 therefore 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. From a body chemistry point of view, 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.

Signs of peri menopause

Here are some of the ‘symptoms’ that have been found to be the signatories of progesterone decline:

  • Anxiety 
  • tearfulness 
  • weight gain (or loss)
  • lowering libido 
  • night sweats
  • increased menstrual cramping
  • cracked and dry skin, and many more still to be documented. 

 

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

Now, 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. 

As you will readily understand all these hormones are synthesised in the body using nutrients absorbed in the digestive process. And so it is absolutely vital at this potentially unbalancing time to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Get that right and the business of managing and coping with the effects of peri menopause can become a little easier.

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 is actually a dreadful condition, particularly during peri menopause. It 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

So all in all, you have to find ways of managing or alleviating what is happening to you during peri menopause. On a scale of one to ten proper nutrition must be a ten and your first priority.

Healthy diet in peri-menopause and menopause

Eat a healthy balanced diet, avoiding refined carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, cake and biscuits, and choosing fresh vegetables, white meat and fish, pulses and whole grains instead.

Switch to organic if you can possibly afford it, it is after all just another investment in your own health! (It can be expensive, but at least you should go organic or be prepared to leave out apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, peppers, kale and courgettes. Here are some that it is supposedly ok to go with ‘organic or not’: asparagus, avocados, cabbage, melon, sweetcorn, aubergine, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, mushrooms, onions, papaya, pineapple, frozen peas, and sweet potatoes.)

If you can handle it, try to cut out the use of stimulants like caffeine and alcohol, but don’t be too hard on yourself! In other words, don’t make yourself miserable. 

And then there is the question of keeping yourself ‘busy’. Exercise is obviously number one here because not only can it keep your mind off your problems, it is so good for you! And in this bracket you can include things like regular reflexology or massage treatments, daily meditation, better time management, spending more time outdoors, spending time with animals/nature, and even keeping track of your actions and thoughts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magic Menopause! – Your gateway to new adventures

new adventures in menopause

Menopause is not all gloom and doom! Once you’ve got those hormones under control (more here), it’s a wonderful opportunity to say:

 

“Hey, Guys, it’s my turn!  I’ve done the baby making, child rearing, shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, school runs, and the rest. You’re wonderful, I love you, and I’ll always be here for you but now it’s ME TIME!

 

natural treatments in menopauseSo pat yourself on the back, and make some lists of what you have always wanted to do but never had time for:

  • beauty treatments
  • learning a language
  • starting a business
  • travelling
  • learning bridge/chess/
  • learning to Tango
  • etc, etc

 

Read all about it! There are inspirational women out there who’ve been there, done that and got the T shirt! One of our favourites is the wonderful Dr. Christiane Northrup. You can find out more about her here: 

 

 

natural menopauseBetween us (Helen and Caroline) we have recently had a go at zip lining, starting new businesses, white water rafting, canoeing along the Zambezi river and singing.  Still  on our list of things to do we have learning the tango, writing a book and continuing to take the fear out of menopause by bringing you the latest information and research into natural and holistic methods, showing you that this time is actually your gateway to some wonderful new adventures.

 

Why don’t you make a list of all the things you’ve longed to do but felt you never had time for. Pick one and make a plan to start. Why not share your ideas in our Facebook group which is free to join by clicking here.