More Info on Menopause

I’ve always been a multi-tasker, but recently have found myself forgetting things and muti-tasking has become more difficult.  The other day I walked down two flights of stairs to get something in the basement.  Once down there, I put what I needed on a shelf and started another quick project in the basement.  A few minutes later I walked back up the two flights of stairs and sat at my desk only to discover I had forgotten what I went into the basement for!  The books were still sitting on the shelf in the basement!  Now I understand this could be great exercise, but REALLY?  I spoke with my friend who said she was suffering from the same thing and was starting to get worried about it.  Then we forgot what we were talking about and went on to the next subject.

I’ve written before about some symptoms of menopause and since I’ve started to have a few more myself, thought I’d catch you up on some more natural alternatives.  My hot flashes lasted (so far) a month or so.  Every day and night.  I try to drink some sort of smoothie every day and I always add ground flax.  I feel much better and recently read that flaxseed is a super-food and can help with menopause symptoms.  Women used flaxseed in ancient Babylon 5,000 years ago.  Greek physician Hippocrates recommended it back in 400 B.C.  Flaxseed contains compounds called lignans, which mimic hormones without the harmful side effects.  These lignans may, in fact, prevent both breast cancer and colon cancer.  This seed is commonly used as a laxative. Another benefit!  Flaxseed and flaxseed oil have both been used to reduce total blood cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.  The result? The reduction of the risk of heart disease.  Flaxseed oil is great too.  I sometimes put that in my green smoothies, however it doesn’t have the fiber that the seeds have.  You can buy whole seed in your store and grind it in a coffee grinder or seed grinder.  Be sure to store it in a glass, air tight container in your fridge to extend the life of your seed.  Also, grind only what you need if you can.  It will turn rancid more quickly in its ground form.

Flaxseed can be added to any smoothie; green, chocolate or fruit.  You can add this super food on top of your fresh fruit, in your oatmeal, cereal or on your yogurt.  Be sure to use ground flaxseed.  Nutrition experts agree that ground flaxseed is better.  Whole flaxseed may pass through your intestines undigested.  This means you won’t get all the health benefits. So grind it up girls.  Here’s what Ameriflax says about substituting flax in your recipes:

Substitutions in Recipes
  • For Fat
    – Substitute flax for fat in your recipes, using 3 tbsp ground flax seed for 1 tbsp of margarine, butter or cooking oil. Flax can be substituted for all or some of the fat, depending on the recipe. Note that baking with flax, as fat substitute will cause baked goods to brown more quickly.
  • For Eggs
    – Substitute a ground flax seed/water mixture for eggs in recipes such as pancakes, muffins and cookies. Use 1 tbsp ground flax plus 3 tbsp water – left sitting for several minutes – for each egg. Note that this will result in a chewier version of the recipe, with less volume.

    And then there’s your skin.  Hormones can wreak havoc on your skin.  I’ve started to notice my skin becoming thinner and it feels different on my face.  Sure enough, hormonal deficits associated with menopause, will start to change the skin.  Women, during their 30′s, begin to produce lower hormone levels.  The symptoms of this do not usually begin to appear until her 40′s.  This is the stage called perimenopause.  I wish I started some things before this time.  I’m here telling you this so you can!  At menopause, women experience a drop in three hormones: estrogen, progestin and follicle stimulating hormone.  The loss of estrogen has the most significant effect on the skin.  The amount of collagen and elastin in the subdermis breaks down and gradually declines, blood supply decreases, and the dermis thins.  This has also affected the strength in my wrists.  And the results of all of this please?  Dry dull skin, changes in texture and pore size, and additional lines and wrinkles.  Thanks.

    There are also changes in skin tone.  More freckles or patches on the cheeks and/or around the mouth.  Your pigment cells decrease by about 10% every decade after the age of 30 and with menopause, women begin to see irregular pigmentation.  Estrogen promotes the permeability of blood vessels and the loss of that hormone can cause blood vessels to stiffen and break, which can create broken capillaries.  Hot flashes will cause further damage.

    Here are some key ingredients to look for in your skin care products (you may want to begin treatments before the symptoms start):

    Peptides -  These are bulky molecules made up of amino acids each with specific skin functions.  Palmitoyl pentapeptide stimulates collagen and elastin formation.  Argireline helps prevent wrinkles caused by muscular contractions.  Oligopeptide 34 helps combat irregular pigmentation.

    Pytoestrogens – These naturally occuring plant compounds possess estrogen-like qualities.

    Retinoids – Vitamin A in the form of retinol or retinoic acid, improves skin elasticity, re-texturizes and helps reverse photodamage and enhance new cell growth.  Retinol is one of the few skin care ingredients to be scientifically studied and proven in clinical trials.

    Moisturizers - Dehydration is the number one skin problem (This is really noticeable on me, even though I drink ALOT).  Look for high powered humectants and emollients, such as: sodium hyaluronate, shea butter, vitamin E, natural oils, squalene and ceramides, in your moisturizers.

    Skin, after menopause, will continue to degenerate.  Your skin could lose up to 30% of its collagen in the first five years of menopause.

    Take the time now to replenish your skin, before menopause.  I’m learning and guess what I did yesterday?  That’s right, I looked for moisturizers!

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