Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

How To Cope With The Menopause

There is no need to dread the onset of the menopause. It is not a disease, nor some abnormality. It is nature's way of preventing pregnancy when it is no longer a good idea. There are symptoms of the menopause which can be unpleasant and distressing, those which may lead to medical problems, and those which can be the cause of severe depression. You can improve and control them all. It helps to start your action plan before you reach the critical years but if you are there now, don't despair. It is still possible to make dramatic changes in the way you feel, all that's needed is a close look at your eating habits. And remember, scientists now believe that the menopause is part of our human survival pattern as it helps ensure that grandmothers are there to help with grand children without having infants of their own to care for.

Hot flushes, weight gain, headaches, brittle bones, skin problems, depression, sexual difficulties and an increased risk of heart disease are the most common results of the menopause - they can all be improved by the Essential Foods and two very special supplements:-

Menoherb is one of the first herbal medicines in the UK to be granted a registration by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA). As a standardised extract from the roots of Black Cohosh it is a traditional herb for the relief of hot flushes, mood swings, night sweats and nervous irritability.

Karma is another of the earliest herbal medicines in the UK to be granted a registration by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA). As a standardised extract of St.John’s Wort it is the most effective herbal remedy for mild to moderate depression, low mood, anxiety and generally feeling “down.”

Hot Flushes: The lower levels of the hormone oestrogen are the main cause. Stress, being very thin, wearing tight fitting clothes, as well as room temperature can all make things worse. Vitamin E can help a lot. The best sources are cold pressed vegetable oils especially wheatgerm, corn, safflower, sunflower, and olive oil, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pine nuts. There are modest amounts in whole meal bread, dark green leafy vegetables, and eggs. Make sure that at least three of these are on your daily menu.

This is a time when supplements can be a great help and a large clinical trial in the UK has shown the value of a combination of vitamin E, B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, boron, selenium and chromium to be extremely effective. This formula reduced hot flushes, mood swings, headaches and irritability in the majority of women. Soya isoflavone supplements provide the isoflavones that have oestrogen balancing properties and may also have cardio-protective and anti-oxidant properties. These can all help avoid some of the miseries of the menopause.

Weight Gain: This is a regular anxiety of the menopause. Use all the Essential Foods of the Well Woman's Eating Plan, with a lot of those in this section, to construct the weekly menu. Avoid visible fats as much as you can. Make sure that you get some exercise each day. Oats, cooked any way you like, are an aid to weight loss, as they help elimination. They are also a satisfying and filling food.

Headaches: Often related to the hot flushes, and also to the stress and tension that arises at this time. Beetroot is excellent here, but don't forget the leaves and red stems. Use both root and leaf, raw in salads, dressed with sunflower seed oil, lemon juice and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Beetroot improves the oxygen carrying ability of the blood, contains iron and is a good source of folic acid.

Brittle Bones: Do not believe the experts who tell you that it is too late to do anything about your bones, once you have reached the menopause. You can still help yourself to better bones with more calcium, as well as magnesium, zinc and vitamin D, sunlight and weight bearing exercise. These will all help you build stronger bones, no matter how slowly. So look to your shopping basket. It must contain plenty of spring greens, green, red and yellow peppers, nectarines, or any of the dark green or yellow fruit or vegetables, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, sardines and other oily fish, yoghurt and low-fat cheese. Eat at least three of these each day.

Skin Problems: These are also caused by a drop in the oestrogen levels. Vitamins A and E will both help. Eat plenty of the dark green and yellow vegetables and fruits. Apricots and pumpkins are good. Avocado has a special place here, and you ought to eat two a week. Yoghurt, used as a skin cream is a good idea too. A monthly facial scrub using a carton of yoghurt mixed with a heaped teaspoon of coarse sea salt is an excellent, but gentle exfoliant which removes dead skin.

Depression: After the hot flushes, this is the commonest of problems. Calcium, magnesium, and the amino acid tryptophan, will all do you good. Get them from dairy products, spinach, chickpeas, sesame seeds, soya beans, cashew nuts, almonds, wholemeal flour, brown rice, bananas, dried fruits and seafood. The B vitamins are vital, and you'll find these in liver, oily fish, wholegrain cereals, eggs, spinach and yeast extracts. You must have at least two of these each day to help fight depression. Exercise stimulates the production of adrenalin, which makes you feel a lot better, so try to make time for physical exertion every day, no matter how low you feel.

Sexual Difficulties: The drop in oestrogen affects the secretions of the vagina, and the quality of the tissue in the sexual organs. An active, regular sex life will delay these changes considerably. It is likely that many women will spend their later years alone, since most will survive their husbands. For them, and other single women, it does not matter whether the sexual stimulation is the result of intercourse or masturbation; it's having regular orgasms which count. The vitamin A and E foods are essential, so make sure of at least two servings daily from oily fish, liver, apricots, spinach, carrots or other green and yellow veg and also include vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, eggs and wholegrain cereals. Ginseng is a must here, and for all of the menopausal symptoms. It enhances the action of oestrogens, so making the most of what your body is producing. It also has an oestrogen-like activity of its own. Take some on a regular daily basis.

Heart Disease: Young women have a much lower risk of heart disease than men, for who it is the commonest cause of premature death. Once the menopause is reached, women are just as likely to suffer this scourge of the Western World. Good nutrition now becomes even more vital. Vitamin C is important as it reduces the risk of blood clots; eat plenty of red, green and yellow peppers, kiwi fruit, oranges and blackcurrants. Onions, garlic, leeks, chives and spring onions are good for reducing cholesterol, as is lecithin from eggs, soya beans and liver.

Of course, the most important single factor in heart disease is smoking, followed by your choice of parents. Though you can't do anything about the latter, you can give up tobacco, stick to modest amounts of alcohol, watch your weight, keep physically active and almost as important as all of these, control your stress levels.


Sesame Seeds: Very rich in protein, iron and zinc.

Soya beans: The best suppliers of plant hormones, so eat plenty of soy based products like Tofu, Soya Milk and the beans that you can find frozen in your local shops.

Red, Green and Yellow Peppers: These are an excellent source of vitamin C, but the red and yellow ones also provide a good supply of vitamin A.

Beetroot: A traditional medicine for building up the run down and convalescent. They contain iron and are a good source of folic acid. This makes them a valuable addition to the menopause diet.

Oats: A good source of easily digested protein, B complex vitamins, some vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium and silica.

Spring Greens: Are a real life saver during the menopause, containing potassium, calcium and iron, and a very rich source of vitamins A and C.

Chickpeas: A super menopause food as they supply protein, vitamins A, C and some of the B complex and calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.

Nectarines: These supply the essential Vitamin A.

Ginseng: This has a powerful tonic and stimulating effect, so is great if you feel a bit down. Take it as a tea in small but regular doses.


From the fertilized egg to old age, health is determined by nutrition. Of course other factors are important too, smoking, alcohol or drug abuse, environmental pollution, accidents and state of mind, all play their part. But regardless of these, poor nutrition means poor health and optimum nutrition means the maximum protection from the hostile world that surrounds us.

Good food is essential to men and women, but the female of the species has a wider variety of specific needs as life progresses from the cradle to the grave.

This Well Woman's Eating Plan will show you how you can secure the birthright of good health for you and your babies. How you can fortify yourself against physical strain and nervous stress. How you can beef up your natural resistance to infection and disease. How you can kiss goodbye to the traditional woes of womanhood. How you can protect yourself against today's crop of disabling or life-threatening diseases - arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease.

The Plan doesn't call for expensive pills or potions. It doesn't involve complicated diet sheets, expensive meal substitutes, or the latest food-fad regime. It is a positive guide to vitality eating, based on the nutritional Essential Foods you will learn to include in your weekly shopping basket. Everyday foods that you can buy in any supermarket, corner shop or street-market stall. Wonderful foods that can cost literally pennies - and yet in terms of your health are worth their weight in gold.


Vitality means having both physical and mental vigour. They can both be yours if you follow the simple rules of vitality eating:-

1. Have a mixed diet of as many different foods as possible.
2. Eat regular meals, and make sure that you have the time to enjoy and digest them.
3. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, salads and vegetables, particularly the green leafy and yellow ones.
4. Cultivate a taste for wholegrain cereals.
5. Get most of your protein from fish, poultry, pulses, and less from meat, which should be as lean as possible.
6. Have regular, but modest amounts of eggs, low fat cheeses and other dairy products.
7. Use plenty of fresh seeds, sprouted seeds and fresh, unsalted nuts, together with dried fruits. Add them to your meals and eat them as nourishing snacks.
8. Drink plenty of fruit and vegetable juices, lots of water and only sensible quantities of tea, coffee and alcohol.
9. Bread, pasta, rice and potatoes are very healthy. Have plenty of them, but watch what you do to them. Lashings of butter, cream sauces and the chip-pan are not part of this plan.
10. Try to eat one third of your daily food fresh and raw. For the other two thirds, get into the kitchen. There is nothing as vital as home cooked food, made from wholesome and nourishing ingredients. It is also a lot less expensive than take-aways, cans and TV dinners.


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