Researchers found that higher levels of physical activity were most beneficial to post menopausal women - who reported lower levels of perceived stress than those who did not exercise. Researchers putt women through their paces – and a moderate pace at that of 4 miles per hour for an hour and a half at least 5 times a week. Though the study found mental benefits of exercise, it did not find exercise to reduce physical symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes.
But there are diet approaches that can also help reduce menopausal symptoms.
Avoid caffeine. Avoid carbonated beverages which contain phosphorous that can increase bone loss. Avoid high sugar intake - it can compromise the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen. The high fat content of commercially raised meats including beef, pork, and chicken also contain a high amount of saturated fats that also decreases the body's ability to metabolize estrogen.
On the other hand, you sholud increase your intake of foods that contain phytoestrogens. Other foods that you should include in your diet are grains, oats, wheat, brown rice, tofu, almonds, cashews, and fresh fruits and vegetables. The Journal of the British Menopause Society, recommends red clover isoflavone supplements. In controlled studies, the supplement has been shown to have a significant positive effect on the rate of bone loss, improve cardiovascular health, and may offer some protective effect against breast and endometrial cancer. There is also evidence which suggests that red clover isoflavones decrease the incidence of hot flashes.
Other published research shows that Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus (the "good" bacteria in our intestines) cultures are important for women during menopause to help with metabolism and utilization of estrogen, and some believe these "good" bacteria help reduce the occurrence of yeast infections.
More research shows that Vitamin E (400 to 800 IU daily) can help reduce hot flashes and night sweats. Making sure you get enough calcium supplementation is also important. The best type of calcium is not calcium carbonate which may not be fully absorbed, but microcrystalline calcium hydroxyapatite calcium (MCHC) or calcium citrate. Also magnesium (500 mg to 750 mg daily) is essential to help with the absorption of calcium. Other vitamin supplementation includes Vitamin C (1,000 mg to 2,000 mg daily) which helps absorption of Vitamin E and decreases capillary fragility.
Another useful approach is natural estrogen replacement. The compounds can be made up with a prescription by a compounding pharmacist. These types of estrogen are bio-identical -- they are chemically equal to the estrogen produced naturally in your body.
Natural progesterone can be another important component in menopausal symptom management for many women and is often available in a cream form. The benefit of using a cream product over an oral form is that you need a much lower dose because it does not have to be metabolized by the liver. Synthetic progesterone compounds called progestins are not natural progesterone and are not chemically equivalent to the progesterone produced by the body. Natural progesterone causes virtually no side effects--progestins cause side effects that include irregular bleeding and fluid retention.