Thrive Through Menopause
Strengthen your bones, sharpen your mind
Use these all-natural remedies to target specific menopause symptoms.
Symptom: Bone thinning
Perimenopause: Bone density peaks about the same time as fertility—in your 20s. Falling levels of estrogen slow the production of collagen, a kind of scaffolding for bones.
Menopause: The dynamic intensifies, accelerating bone loss.
Do weight-bearing exercises: Dancing, running, stair-climbing or playing racquetball (at least three times a week) will help strengthen bones. The force of muscle pulling on bone, as it does with weight-bearing exercise, compels the bones to get stronger in response. Yoga and Pilates strengthen your core muscles to boost the bone density of your spine.
Cut back on red meat: Red meat tends to draw calcium out of your bones, so avoid eating it more than once or twice a week, suggests Robert Lindsey, Ph.D., professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University and a member of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
Supplements that help: Aim for 1,500 milligrams of calcium a day in divided doses; 2,000 IU of vitamin D (which helps the body process calcium) from a supplement, or by exposing yourself to direct sunlight for 15 minutes daily; 2,000 mg a day of potassium from foods such as dried apricots, avocados, bananas, carrot juice, prune juice, and certain fish (clams, cod, and halibut) daily or from a supplement; and 250 to 500 mg daily of magnesium (which helps escort calcium into bones and is one of its building blocks) from foods like spinach, Swiss chard, raw pumpkin seeds, and black beans, or from a supplement.
Symptom: Memory Lapses
Perimenopause: Estrogen enhances verbal memory so with less of it, you may struggle to find the right words.
Menopause: The ability to pronounce words and recall names worsens.
Drink green tea: Ni recommends three cups of decaffeinated (or one cup caffeinated) green tea per day. Research shows that catechins, the main component in green tea, can prevent brain-cell death and lower your risk of age-related brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
Make a get-smart trail mix: Snack on a mix of 1 cup of walnuts, ½ cup of pine nuts, ¼ cup sesame seeds, ½ cup of pumpkin seeds, 1/3 cup goji berries, and ½ cup each of dried blueberries and apricots. Nuts provide essential fatty acids to support brain function and stabilize blood sugar (dips can cause fuzzy thinking), and the antioxidants in fruit can disarm free radicals before they can wreak havoc on brain cells.
Get acupuncture: Try it weekly for 10 to 12 weeks to improve focus, concentration, and memory. A 2008 study in the journal Neuroscience Letters suggests that electro-acupuncture (where the needles are stimulated with a mild electric current), may significantly improve learning and memory capacity.
Supplement help: Zinc (30 mg a day) and omega 3 fatty acids (up to 4,000 mg) to support brain function.