Ah, the menopause… yet another wonderful rite of passage that women have to go through!
When it comes to women’s health, there are lots of different conditions and outcomes that some of us will go through and some of us won’t, but one universal experience that women have in common is, of course, the menopause.
Given the inevitability of it all, it makes sense to start closing the knowledge gap relatively early on so you know what signs and symptoms to look out for, finding out more about what’s happening and why… and how you can best go about navigating your way through this changing landscape so you can come out on the other side, feeling great about yourself and excited for this new chapter in your life.
One very common symptom of both the perimenopause and the menopause is brain fog, characterised by certain cognitive impairments like forgetfulness, difficulty thinking clearly, an inability to concentrate and difficulty retaining information.
Menopausal brain fog can be a particularly scary symptom to experience and it’s not uncommon for women to panic that it could be related to some other condition, such as dementia – especially frightening if there’s a family history of Alzheimer’s and similar illnesses thrown into the mix, as well.
But knowing that menopause is likely to bring these cognitive symptoms with it can help lessen the fear and give you a more rational explanation as to what you’re feeling and why.
The even better news is that there’s actually quite a lot you can do to address your symptoms so you can get back to feeling more like yourself, better equipped to tackle the day head on and enjoy all your interests and pursuits once again.
Focusing on your diet, for example, is absolutely key and researching menopause nutrition could prove very useful indeed.
Links have been established between the body’s hormone balance and what we eat, so if it’s brain food you’re after right now, what about stocking the cupboards full to bursting with the likes of eggs, fish, nuts and seeds.
Produce of this kind is chock-full polyunsaturated fatty acids like Omegas 3 and 6, which are essential fatty acids that the human body can’t make by itself, so it’s important to ensure that you’re getting the nutrition you need in your diet.
Omegas 3 and 6 both have their own potential benefits, so including them both in your daily diet is the recommended course of action. Omega 3, for example, can help support mental health, improve concentration, lower your risk of chronic conditions such as arthritis, reduce inflammation, lower your risk of blood clots and can help support heart health.
As for Omega 6, potential benefits of this fatty acid include boosting your immune system, supporting blood clots for wound healing, easing skin complaints like eczema and even potentially reducing nerve pain.
Dietary sources of Omega 3
For a good hit of Omega 3, make sure you have a regular supply of oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, herring and sardines. You can also take cod liver oil if you’re not a fish fan!
Other great sources include tofu, soybeans, mussels, crab, squid and oysters, so you’re certainly spoiled for choice.
Dietary sources of Omega 6
To up your intake of Omega 6 unsaturated fats, fill the fridge with lots of delicious leafy green veggies, as well as meat, poultry, fish and eggs.
There’s a huge amount of produce out there so as long as you’re following a well-balanced diet, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting all the nutrients you need. And after a month or two, it will become second nature and you won’t have to think about it at all.
Other avenues to explore
Of course, diet isn’t the only way you can beat the dreaded brain fog and there are lots of other strategies you can employ to help you get a handle on your symptoms.
You can also support your brain health by getting lots of regular exercise and staying as active as you can. The key to sticking with exercise is finding what you love to do, whether that’s yoga, running, training in the gym, hiking, swimming or something else. Just find your ideal pursuit and make that your focus!
And, finally, prioritising good-quality sleep on a regular basis can really help you stay alert and clear-headed, even as the menopause takes hold.
Unfortunately, another symptom of perimenopause and the menopause is difficulty sleeping, but you can help stave this off by learning about sleep hygiene and how your little pre-bedtime habits could be having an impact on your rest.
With just a few little lifestyle changes here and there, you may find that you’re able to reduce your menopause symptoms quite significantly indeed. It’s certainly worth a try, at any rate!