Thrive Through Menopause

Thrive Through Menopause

As a teenager and into your 20s, you may have survived the peaks and valleys of your period despite poor eating or sleeping habits. But in your 30s and later, through peri-menopause and menopause, those bad habits will exacerbate hormonal symptoms, says gynecologist Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of The Wisdom of Menopause. Follow these guidelines and you’ll flourish at any age:

Eat a low-fat, low-carbohydrate, high-fiber diet that focuses on plant sources of protein (soy, legumes, and nuts) to help offset the increase in insulin resistance that comes with menopausal symptoms.

Regular exercise lowers insulin resistance and raises levels of the feel-good hormones dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, which decline along with your estrogen levels.

Lowering stress—through yoga, meditation, or mind-body techniques (like deep-breathing exercises)—will help protect your adrenal function and take the edge off symptoms.

“You may feel at the mercy of changes in your body but there are two sides to this: By nurturing and guiding your body, you can empower it to regenerate and heal itself,” says Maoshing Ni, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and author of Second Spring (Free Press, 2009).