health

  • Working out at 50, dos and don’ts

    You want to work out and you are in your 50s or 60s!!! Wonderful. Let’s talk about the dos and don’ts, what works and what doesn’t. Working out in your fifties, as everything else in life, has dos and don’ts. Generally, people will say working out after 50, but I find that this is too general. A 50 year old woman or man is very different than an 80 year old person, their work out programs are very different. The definition after 50 is already changing and it will continue to change because it is putting all people after 50 in the same bucket and that doesn’t work out (pun intended).

    Working out after 50 Dos

    Do work out in your 50s and beyond

    This is the most important thing we can say. Working out or being active is imperative for our wellbeing, physical, mental as well as emotional. Working out in our 50s is not about looking good, that is a side effect, but is about physical and mental health.

    Do check with your doctor

    If you take medications for high blood pressure, you are diabetic or you have any other medical condition, you have to check with your doctor. As a personal trainer I ask for medical clearance if the client takes medicines. Some medicines affect the way you will respond to exercise. For example, some high blood pressure medicines are diuretics and that means that if the person sweats a lot, he or she needs to drink more water than someone who doesn’t take this type of meds or there could be dehydration and/or loss of electrolytes.

    Do disclose your illnesses to the trainer

    If you are going to work out with a personal trainer or in a gym, do disclose your medical history. This will help the trainer or the gym to advise you in what to do and/or what to avoid. Normally the gyms have orientation sessions and this information will be very valuable to help you develop the best workout program for you, to maximize results and to avoid injuries and unnecessary risks.

    Do go slow

    As we age our bodies take longer time to recover and the risks of injury are higher. We ladies in our 50s and beyond need more time to develop stamina, muscle strength, flexibility and balance. We need more time to rest between workouts and we need more time to increase weights and number of repetitions. In cardio, we need to start with less time and less intensity. In yoga, Pilates, Barre and similar modalities, we need to start with less stretching. It is safer and more pleasant to start slow and progress slow. Slowly but surely is the way to go.

    Do listen to your body

    You are the expert on your body. Your body will tell you if you are doing too much. It is good to push yourself, but never to the point of injury. Let me repeat “go slow,” push yourself only a little bit at the time. You can reach similar levels of a 20 years old, but it will take longer and it will take more effort, and for many people it is possible, not for all.

    Do stay committed to your work out

    If you stay committed and work out 3 or more times a week you will see results. It is better to do shorter workouts frequently than longer workouts once a week.

    Do vary your workouts

    Our body is amazing and it adapts very easily to the exercises. When this happens, it starts to use less calories. In order to burn more calories and avoid injury you need to vary the workouts regularly.

    Do warm up

    When working out after 50 we need a lot warm up time (or at least 5 minutes). In particular when we are starting to work out after a period without workouts. Warming up prepares your muscles, your nerves and your mind; it helps to avoid injury and to do the exercises in a better form.

    Do cool down

    Cooling down is also important. It helps the body slowly lower the heart palpitations, the muscles don’t have to stop at once and your mind can calm down. Don’t skip this step.

    working out after 50 tips

    Working out at 50 don’ts

    Don’t stop working out

    When it comes to working out, consistency is the most important thing. If you stay committed you will see results. Put the work out time in your schedule and try to stick to it. If you don’t like working out then read the next tip.

    Don’t do boring or too difficult workouts

    There are a zillion ways to work out, try different workout programs to find the one that is best for you.

    Don’t do only cardio

    Cardio is great for your heart and to burn calories, but we also need strength training, flexibility and balance. Try to include all of them in your workouts. You don’t need to do all of them in the same workout, but try to have a program that includes all of them at least once a week. Strength training is recommended at least 2 times a week and it can be combined with cardio, flexibility and balance.

    Don’t take too much risk

    Working out in your 50s is for most people different than working out in your 20s. As time passes we become more vulnerable to injury and it takes longer to heal. Besides that we can have conditions such as weaker bones and not be aware of it. For these and other reasons we need to start slow and avoid exercises that include a lot of jumping, too much stretching, lifting heavy weights, etc. Jumping in general is something to think about, few people after 50 respond well to it. The stretching levels and the weights lifted can be developed, but it will take time for most 50 year olds.

    Don’t do too little

    If you do a work out and you feel like taking a light walk, you probably are not working hard enough. Some of the so called exercises for people over 50 in reality are for seniors, over 50 is just the name. YOU define YOU, don’t let anybody put labels on what you can and cannot do. Start slow, start at your level, listen to your body and continue adding variety and difficulty to your workout. You want to always challenge the body a little. If you do too little you risk quitting the program because you won’t see the results you want.
    There are great programs that anybody can follow. They don’t have to be specially directed to 50 year olds.

    A personal note about over 50

    I got my personal training certification when I was in my 50s, so I was pretty upset when they described what they called “special populations,” among them children, pregnant women and people after 50. Yep, it doesn’t matter if we are 50 or 100 we are all the same for personal training purposes. This is, of course, absurd. Even if we divide it by decades, some people in their 70s are fitter than some 20 year olds.

    Don’t get frustrated

    There are variations for all exercises. A new routine is always challenging. If you cannot do an exercise, try to modify it, it is OK. If a class is too long make it shorter, don’t force yourself. Remember, listen to your body. You will improve and you will find your sweet spot when working out. Your workout program has to work for you, not the other way around.

    Don’t rush

    Focus and control. Be mindful of every exercise. This way you will get better results and avoid injury. Better results because you will focus on the muscles you are trying to work.
    When we don’t pay attention to the exercises, many times we do the exercise wrong and we put too much pressure on other muscles. An example of this is crunches, if we don’t focus on using the abdominal muscles we end up using the lower back. The lower back is very sensitive to injury. If we do squats and don’t focus we can overextend the knees causing damage to the cartilage and lots of pain. If we do some triceps (back of the upper arm) we can end up working the biceps (front of the upper arm) this will result in muscle imbalance. Besides, strong triceps improve, avoid, or correct the famous batwings in the upper arms.

    Don’t do challenges designed for younger people

    A lot of challenges, some of them on Instagram, are badly designed, they are not good at any age and terrible for people who don’t exercise frequently. For example, push up challenges. Usually they start with a few pushups a day and keeping adding every day. The people who participate in these challenges keep pushing themselves, but they don’t do the exercises properly. This can lead to injuries, unnecessary pains and not so good results.

    If you cannot do the regular push-ups, you can start with modifications such as wall push-ups, counter push-ups, sofa push-ups, knee push-ups and finally graduate to the regular push-ups which require a lot of upper body and core strength. If you are doing on of those challenges and are just starting to workout you will hit a wall and may injure yourself. It is better to start where you are and build up from there. I have a push-up challenge for people starting to work out (at any age). If you just follow a challenge there are other risks such as lack of warm up and lack of cool down.

    Don’t buy in the hype

    If you are in my age bracket or close to it, you have seen many workout fads. Just like diets, there are also workup fads. It is OK to try them and follow them if you like them, but you don’t have to follow them. The traditional ways of working out work, you don’t need special equipment, more videos, etc.

    Don’t think you need a lot of time and money

    You can start in your house with YouTube videos or lower price apps. You don’t need to spend a lot of money. Time? Well, if you don’t have 30 minutes do as little as 20, but it’s better to do something than nothing.
    Do you need a gym? If time and/or money are scarce you can work out at home. I work out at home most of the time, because it is more time effective for me.

    Do you need a personal trainer? It is very nice to have guidance, but you don’t necessarily need one. Especially if you don’t have special needs. Remember there are trainers at different prices.
    Do you need the Peloton? It is a great machine, but you don’t need to spend that kind of money if you don’t have it or want to spend it. It is nice to have a cardio machine at home, but they also come in all price ranges. I think a treadmill is better than a bike because you get a more complete workout.

    In the beginning is better to avoid long term costly commitments.

    Don’t follow “no pain no gain”

    When working out there will be some pain in the beginning, but you don’t have to be in pain all the time. You may experience strong pain if you are working out too much, too hard or wrong. It is better to do a lighter workout than to quit because the pain is too much. For a workout to be effective, it doesn’t need to be painful.

    Have fun

    If you don’t like working out (most of us don’t) try to make it more fun, even if in the beginning you have to lie to yourself and tell yourself that you like to work out. Fake and fake it until you make it, it works when working out.

    Working out is too important for our health. Even if we don’t like it, we have to do it. So if we can convince ourselves that is not so bad that will help.

    For some motivation this is what the spectacular Jane Seymour (born in 1951) said in a recent interview:

    “I try to get my heartbeat up with fast walking at least three times a week.” “I also work out with a trainer and I’ll do about 20 minutes on a stationary bicycle, the spin bicycle, but not spinning like crazy. I do my own form of it, usually with weights, as well. So I try to do the upper body at the same time as the lower body. And then I do Pilates and Gyrotonics, which I swear by.”

    “So, things that are really good for my particular body, like the bridge and plank, I can do anywhere in any hotel room or anywhere at any time. I don’t need to go to the gym to do the things that are actually really good for my body. And having been a dancer, you have an understanding of form. So when you work out, I think you are very careful about having good form. Whereas some people just throw themselves in the gym. If you don’t have proper form, you can injure yourself.”

    If you need further inspiration check out this 80+ lady on Tiktok https://www.tiktok.com/@erikarischko?

    There are many more dos and don’ts but this article is already long, so we will leave it here. If you have questions or want to share a story please leave it in the comments. And let me ask you, what type of exercises are your favorites?

  • Herbs and supplements to increase libido after menopause naturally

    How to increase your libido during menopause naturally? Are there any herbs or supplements? These are common questions. Menopause and perimenopause bring a lot of changes to the body and one of them is low libido. Lower libido during perimenopause and menopause is in part the result of hormonal imbalance and there are supplements and herbs that can help.

    How to increase your libido during menopause naturally

    One of the ways to increase libido during menopause and perimenopause is to use aphrodisiacs, another is to work on its causes and mindset. Our intimate life is not only physical it is also emotional. Ideally if you are experiencing low libido, you should work on all these aspects.

    Supplements and Herbs to increase libido in menopause and perimenopause

    In this article I am bringing you some of the most promising aphrodisiacs from nature. Herbs and supplements to increase libido for women during the time of perimenopause and menopause. As you know, aphrodisiacs (from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexuality, beauty and love) are substances that stimulate sexual desire. All forms of natural medicine have these substances and there can be a lot of myth around them; the ones I present you here are those with scientific research behind them.

    1- Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium)

    This is a Chinese medicine herb. Another name it Goat Sex Herb. Both men and women can use it. It increases testosterone, blood flow, and helps balance hormones.

    2- Avena Sativa (Wild Oats)

    Just as the prior herb, this one is also use by breeders to help boost animal fertility. Avena Sativa is also used to help combat the effects of stress.

    3- Brazilian Catuaba Bark

    This plant comes from the Amazon rainforest. They use it to increase libido in men and women. They also use Catuaba to treat obesity and memory problems.

    4- Maca Root

    Maca has an effect on hormones. In Peru, it is a popular food as it is a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli and kale. There are some small studies that suggests that it can increase libido, boost energy and endurance, increase fertility, and it may lower some menopause and perimenopause symptoms.

    How to increase your libido during menopause naturally with supplements and herbs.

    5- Mucuna Pruriens Extract

    In Ayurveda we use this plant in many remedies. It helps reduce stress and anxiety, improves focus, among many other benefits. It may also boost libido and orgasms. One of its common names is velvet bean.

    6- Red Ginseng

    Among the many benefits of red ginseng is to increase libido. The reason it helps is that it increases blood circulation in the body, including the genitals.

    7- Fenugreek

    This seed has many benefits including increasing testosterone in men and women. The research indicates that men who take this herb see an increase in libido and in erections. In women, we need more research, but lower testosterone levels is one of the causes of low libido in perimenopause and menopause. You can buy the seeds in an Indian store, in India they use them as a condiment, or you can buy supplements.

    Other plants that may increase libido

    There are many other plants that promise to increase libido during perimenopause and menopause. Some of these plants are: tribulus, saffron, gingko biloba, L-citrulline, Yohimbine and Muira Puama. We need more research, but preliminary studies indicate positive results.

    Conclusion

    These aphrodisiac herbs and supplements to increase libido during menopause and perimenopause are promising. Most of them don’t have side effects, but it is wise to always check for side effects, especially if you take any medication. Although these plants promise to increase libido during perimenopause and menopause, we need more studies, but they may be worth trying.

    Other considerations

    Besides hormonal imbalance there are many causes of low libido including illnesses, medicines’ side effects, stress and emotional issues. Some depression and anxiety medicines are some of the worst offenders. A positive mindset is as important as having the right hormones. Read How to stop hot flashes naturally

  • 7 Supplements to eliminate brain fog during menopause

    During menopause and perimenopause almost 60% of women report brain fog and memory issues. If you are part of this group don’t worry; there are great foods and supplements to improve or eliminate menopause brain fog.

    eliminate menopause brain fog

    According to a University of Vermont study, brain fog and memory issues may be linked to lower levels of estrogen, especially estradiol. However, the million dollar question is why 40% of post-menopause and perimenopause women don’t experience brain fog and memory issues.              

    Hormonal balance and brain power 

    According to that study, the women who don’t experience these issues may be getting estrogen from other sources. In other words, they have hormonal balance. Hormonal balance is the key to eliminate or lower all perimenopause and menopause symptoms including brain fog and memory problems.    

    Before we jump to the supplements, let’s take a moment to talk about some important factors to keep our brain healthy:

    Exercise to eliminate mental fog

    Physical exercise is one of the brain’s biggest allies, especially when you have menopause or perimenopause mental fog. Exercise brings more oxygen to the brain and it helps it eliminate stress and toxins. You don’t need a full workout program to improve brain function. You only need constant movement, such as walking and a 30 minutes workout three or more times a week. If you work out outdoors, even better.

    Stress reduction

    Stress is one of the worst enemies for your brain and for hormonal balance. Excessive, chronic stress is a big hormonal disruptor and inflammation producer. Also, stress makes you fat and makes your tummy grow. If you can do one thing to balance your hormones and improve brain fog in menopause, try to reduce or manage stress.      

    supplements  to eliminate mental or brain fog in menopause and perimenopause

    Sleep

    Sleep is fundamental to our health including mental health. There have been many studies showing the importance of sleep to be more focused, remember more and learn better.  It is very important to sleep enough hours during time of hormonal changes. In many cases, brain fog during menopause and perimenopause is directly related to lack of sleep.

    7 powerful supplements to improve brain fog during menopause and perimenopause

    Natural supplements for the brain are also called nootropics, but we can get some of the active substances by drinking infusions and adding some herbs to our food.   Although just popping a pill won’t solve hormonal imbalance and menopause, mental fog together with small changes in your lifestyle can help you improve brain fog.

    Ginkgo Biloba

    There are many studies pointing that ginkgo biloba helps improve cognitive function. This herb has been used in Chinese medicine for millennia. It helps the brains get more oxygen and eliminate toxins. To see results takes weeks; consult with your doctor if you like to try it.

    Vitamin B

    The vitamin B complex is very important for brain health.  Lower levels of B12 are associated with short term memory problems and lack of concentration as well as depression. Most people who eat animal products have the right levels of B12; vegans and vegetarians can have lower levels. B6 is important to carry oxygen to the brain. B6 is found in salmon and other fish and in some fortified milk products.       

    Antioxidants

    The most important antioxidants are vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene but there are many more such as: selenium, other carotenoids, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.  They help protect your body’s cells (including brain cells from damage), and help in hormonal production. Fruits and veggies also are very rich in antioxidants. Fruits and veggies are full with important nutrients that can help you combat brain fog in menopause or perimenopause.

    green and black tea to eliminate brain fog

    Green and Black Tea

    These fantastic drinks have an ingredient called L-Theanine that has shown good results to improve concentration and lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. You can take the supplement or try to include more tea, especially green tea in your normal day. Green tea is a wonderful drink for women with hormonal imbalance.

    supplements and food to eliminate menopause brain fog

    Iron for the brain

    Iron is a very important nutrient to provide oxygen to the brain and all cells in the body. The deficiency of iron is linked to lower concentration, lower focused capacity and even diminished intelligence. Next time you go the doctor ask for an iron test. Iron is very common in many foods like read meat, some beans, and some green leaves.  It is important to make sure you have enough iron during the time of menopause and perimenopause.

    Water

    Dehydration makes you more likely to suffer brain fog and lack of concentration during menopause and perimenopause. If possible try to consume from ¾ to one gallon of water a day. It is a lot of water, but in the beginning you need a lot of water to see if it will help you. Check out some recipes for infused water.

    Turmeric powder

    Turmeric powder is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the root of many diseases. You may include turmeric powder in recipes (such as they do in India and other countries), drink golden milk or take supplements.  

  • Reduce stress in menopause with a healthy diet


    During menopause and perimenopause, stress is one of our biggest foes. Stress alters your hormones and contributes to all the other menopausal symptoms including weight gain, hot flashes and emotional volatility. To reduce stress in menopause with healthy foods is easy and efective.

    Reduce stress in menopause with a healthy diet

    As you know stress can also make us fat. There are many reasons for this. When we are stressed out, we tend to eat more and eat not so healthy. Some of the foods that stress makes us eat are sweets, alcohol, big meals, Chinese take-out, fried foods, and fatty foods among others. Wine and cocktails are particularly tempting, and with nachos, even better. Those foods may offer temporary comfort, but they are only contributing to creating more stress later on.

    Stress also affects your gut bacteria. Gut bacteria is critically important for your overall health and your weight. The hormone that produces stress affects the gut bacteria and contributes to weight gain, especially in the abdomen.

    Stress is not only emotional, it is also physical. The foods we eats have an effect on cellular stress levels and also affect our emotional wellbeing. When the body doesn’t get enough nutrients, you will feel less energetic, and you may have less concentration and focus. All of this may lead to more stress and create a vicious cycle. Reducing stress in menopause is important and the right foods can help you.

    Reduce Stress with nutrition

    A nutritionally dense meal can help you feel more energetic and lower your stress and anxiety levels. The best way to fight stress is to eat a delicious, healthy, and balanced diet. This “diet” ideally should include all the different food groups.

    Reduce stress in menopause with a healthy diet

    Eating healthy, menopause-friendly foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and proteins is the best way to make sure that your body gets the optimum levels of nutrients to avoid hormonal imbalance. There are a lot of foods that can help us lower stress. These stress reduction foods will help you to calm your mind and energize your body permanently, instead of providing a temporary lift-me-up.

    Best foods to reduce stress in menopause

    Some of the best foods are:

    Chamomile Tea

    The wonderful chamomile is my herb of preference to calm down. Either using its powerful smell with essential oils or drinking it in tea. Chamomile tea has been used for millennia in many cultures. You can drink a cup of chamomile tea before bed to help you sleep better or during the day when you feel stress creeping on you. The essential oil is also great for the same purposes, the oil is mainly used in skincare products to calm the skin because the smell is not particularly pleasant. Similar herbs are lavender and Melissa (lemon balm).

    Chocolate

    You probably knew this already. Chocolate has the power to lift our moods. Chocolate besides being almost seductive is also full of nutrients. When you need something sweet, a small piece of dark chocolate is healthier than most sweets with the exception of fruits. Of course commercial chocolate is loaded with sugar and fats and we can only indulge in moderation.

    There are studies that show that chocolate has flavonols and polyphenols, two very important nutrients. To get more of these nutrients try to pick the darkest chocolate you can. Also look at the label; the fat in the chocolate has to be cocoa butter. Because cocoa butter is expensive, many companies separate the cocoa powder from its natural fat to sell them separately and add an unhealthy, cheaper fat.

    Berries

    Berries are fabulous fruits. They have great flavor, they are full of nutrients and they are naturally low in sugar. When you want something sweet and decadent, berries can be your fruit of choice. They are an easy snack that will help you to avoid unhealthy choices. You can create a parfait by adding blueberries and some yogurt or make a smoothie.

    Berries have high levels of antioxidants that will help you to have better focus and lower stress.

    Oatmeal

    The humble oatmeal is one of the most awesome grains in nutrition. Oats are full of fiber that helps to lower the bad cholesterol. The same fiber will keep you feeling full for long time. In addition oatmeal will help you control sugar cravings because it helps to control the sugar levels in the blood. Oatmeal increases the levels of serotonin in the body; this is the feel-good hormone. All of this will contribute to lower stress levels.

    Green Leafy Vegetables

    Full of nutrients and low in calories, green leafy vegetables are the star in the nutrition world. You can have them in smoothies, salads, sautéed, stir fried, curried, and even make chips with them. They are rich in nutrients that will help you balance your hormones, and therefore, your stress.

    Omega 3 fats

    These wonderful fats are very important for cardiovascular and mental health. They help to control micro-inflammation in the body and in the brain. Omega 3 fatty acids are very important during menopause for hormonal balance and they can also help you be more focused, more productive and happier; all of these will result in lower stress. You can reduce stress in menopause with healthy foods such as these great fats.

    Reduce stress in menopause with a healthy diet

    Food rich in omega 3s include salmon, sardines and other cold water fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts and other nuts.

    Fermented foods

    As we said before, the gut bacteria is very important for your mental and physical health. During menopause, your bacteria is affected by lower estrogen levels and this aggravates the menopausal symptoms. By eating some fermented foods you are helping replenish your gut bacteria.


    There are many studies linking gut bacteria to depression and mood swings. It is very important to eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, yogurt, etc..

    Citrus foods

    Citrus fruits are so refreshing and full of vitamins, especially vitamin C. There are some studies indicating that vitamin C can directly help lower stress and anxiety levels and improve your mood.

    Water

    Dehydration brings irritability and lethargy. Drinking enough water is very important to lower stress. If you prefer your water with flavor, you can drink infused waters.

    Foods that make stress worse

    The same way that some foods can help you lower stress, there are also some that will increase stress. We already talked about sugar, but there are many more. In general processed foods, especially ultra-processed foods, are really bad for your gut bacteria and subsequently greatly affect hormonal balance. These foods will suck your energy, make you hungry and lower your concentration levels. This happens because your body does not recognize them and they are full of toxins.

    Ultra-processed foods include most commercial cereals, drinks like sodas, some commercial breads, most commercial snacks, some commercial sauces and condiments, etc. You can reduce stress in menopause with healthy foods.

    Too much coffee can also increase anxiety and stress. Alcohol in general is not healthy; if you drink it, try to limit it.

    Eating to lower your stress

    In order to lower your stress you need to eat the right foods at the right time.

    If you eat breakfast try to include complex carbohydrates such as oats and/or protein and some healthy fats. This type of breakfast will fill you up and give your energy. Avoid high sugar and bad fats.

    If you feel like having a snack, try to eat nuts, fruits especially berries and citrus fruits, yogurt or a small piece of chocolate.

    For lunch and dinner avoid too many refined carbs such as commercial breads, too much pasta, noodles etc. You can eat carbs, including pasta and noodles but they should include healthy proteins and vegetables. Try to eat natural foods and try to include vegetables of different colors.

    Try to make your meals delicious. Healthy and stress-reducing foods don’t mean non-tasty foods. I believe that we have to enjoy our food. Food doesn’t only provide nutrients to the body, it also nurtures our souls. You don’t need to eat in a certain way all the time, you can indulge in foods that are not healthy, but try to eat healthy at least 50% of the time. This will help you to reduce stress in menopause and perimenopause.

    Make your meals fun and eat using all your senses. Take your time to eat and enjoy your meals. And last but not least, try to eat at the same time every day. If your body doesn’t get food when it needs, it you will get stressed out.

    I hope this article helps you to plan your meals, reach hormonal balance and a happier menopause.

  • Can Vitamin D help you against Coronavirus

    Can vitamin D help you fight the mighty coronavirus or any other virus? When we made our vision boards, goals and dreams in the beginning of the year we couldn’t have possibly imagined that a microscopic enemy, easily destroyed by soap, will crush them. One nutrient that is being researched as a possible way to help us protect against the virus is vitamin D.

    vitamin d against coronavirus
    Foods rich in vitamin D. Healthy eating

    Vitamin D helps us fight infections, especially respiratory infections. The reason why vitamin D is being mentioned together with coronavirus is that about 50% of people in America lack sufficient vitamin D, especially black and Latino populations. Those populations are the most affected by this virus at this time.

    Can vitamin D help against viral infections?

    Vitamin D has a very important role in our immune system. It helps to reduce inflammation and control immunological response. There are studies that indicate that vitamin D supplements can increase our immune response and protect against respiratory infections, both viral and bacterial.

    Some studies show that low levels of vitamin D are associated with increased susceptibility to infections and other illnesses. There is a correlation between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of respiratory problems, such as respiratory infections, tuberculosis, asthma, and others. I would like to note that although there is evidence, some scientists are still debating these findings.

    Can vitamin D help us against coronavirus

    For those reasons many scientists believe that vitamin D may help us against coronavirus (covid-19, or SARS-CoV-2) and other viruses. However the coronavirus (Covid-19) is the new kid on the block and there are no conclusive studies at this time.

    Personally I take vitamin D supplements because I don’t get enough from the sun or from food and vitamin D is a very important nutrient and it has a fundamental role in bone formation. Vitamin D is considered a hormone; we will cover some of its most important functions below.

    How to get vitamin D?

    We can get vitamin D from the sun or through food, and of course, there are also supplements.

    A lot of our Vitamin D is synthesized from sunlight. The darker the skin color, the less vitamin D is absorbed by the skin, and therefore, the longer exposure time the person needs. Independent of skin color, those of us in higher latitudes need even longer exposure times to get the right amount of vitamin D and most people don’t get it. Vitamin D is obtained from direct sunlight, the sunrays that help us to get vitamin D do not pass through glass — in other words, we cannot make it by exposing ourselves to sunlight filtered through a window and must go outside directly in the sun. Remember that sun exposure is not sunburn, sunburn causes skin cancer and dark spots, moderate sun exposure is healthy.

    Vitamin D helps against viruses

    We can also ingest vitamin D. Vitamin D is abundant in cold water fish such as sardines and salmon, and in egg yolks. It is not very common in non-animal sources but it can be found in mushrooms. In addition to that in America we get some vitamin D from fortified foods such as milk, orange juice and cereals. However, that may not be sufficient and we may need a supplement.

    There are also vitamin D supplements. The most common are D2 and D3, the first is from vegetable sources and the other from animal sources. When it comes to amounts in normal times, the recommended doses is 400 to 800 IU. For coronavirus there are no recommendations, however the normal amounts are a good place to start. If your doctor determines that you have a deficiency he may recommend higher amounts.

    Vitamin D is fat soluble, and for that reason, we should not overdo it. What the body doesn’t use gets stored in the fat cells. Excess vitamin D can cause many health complications, but if you take the recommended amounts it is safe.

    Other benefits of vitamin D

    Besides protecting us against viruses, potentially against coronavirus, vitamin D has many important roles. Some of those are:

    • Vitamin D is well known for its role in bone and teeth formation. Without vitamin D we cannot have healthy bones. This is especially important after menopause.
    • Many studies demonstrate that vitamin D supports brain and nervous system function.
    • Low levels of vitamin D are linked to depression
    • According to studies vitamin D may help in regulating the insulin levels, and therefore, help manage diabetes. There are some studies indicating that low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of type 1 diabetes.
    • It helps to improve cardiovascular health. Some studies suggest that it may help control high blood pressure.
    • Vitamin D may have an epigenetic effect. It may have a role in the genes involved in cancer development. Some small studies link low vitamin D levels to development of breast, ovaries, esophagus, colon, prostate, and other cancers.
    • And something important to know: vitamin D may promote weight loss. Or in other words, lack of vitamin D may promote weight gain.


    So, there are a lot of reasons to make sure we are having the right levels of vitamin D. Let’s hope that vitamin D can help us against coronavirus or covid-19.

    Read about how to stop hot flashes naturally

  • Mindful eating for weight loss

    If you are trying to maintain your weight or lose some weight, mindful eating is very important, especially when we are dealing with hormonal fluctuations in midlife, perimenopause, or menopause.

    Mindful eating for weigh loss in menopause and perimenopause

    Imagine yourself eating a super healthy dish full of nutrients and veggies really, truly, yummy. Sounds awesome, right? Yes, that meal will be amazing. Visualize yourself there, how is the décor, how is the environment, how are you eating (slow, fast)?

    Now add to that a little drama, such as a very noisy environment, you checking messages on social media on your phone, an unpleasant conversation, a lot of soda or wine drinking, worry feelings or just watching TV and not paying attention to the food, just walking around while eating thinking about something else.

    You get the idea. Mindful eating is precisely the contrary of that. And it has many benefits to your physical and mental health.

    What is mindful eating?

    Eating mindfully is enjoying your food and the act of eating. Mindful eating is, in a nutshell, eating with all your senses and at least most of your focused attention. It is paying attention to your food and your body’s reaction to the food and the environment.

    Mindful eating for weigh loss in menopause and perimenopause

    Why is mindful eating important to maintain or lose weight?

    You probably have read that eating in front of the TV makes you fat. The reason is that when we are distracted we don’t pay attention to our body’s reaction and we don’t realize when we get full. In other words, we eat mindlessly.

    Let’s see some of the reasons to eat mindfully if we want to maintain or lose weight during perimenopause and menopause.

    • If you pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite, you will slow down naturally. As you know, the brain is slow to get the message from the stomach “stop eating, I am full.”
    • You will chew your food more. This helps to have better digestion and better nutrient absorption. When we have the nutrients we need, that it helps you to control cravings and avoid illnesses and hormonal imbalance.
    • You will enjoy your food. This will help you to eat less and control cravings
    • You will be in more control over portions
    • You will drink less liquid. When you chew your food, you have more saliva and you need less liquids. Excess liquids interfere with digestion.
    • You will be conscious of the quantities you are eating as well as the foods you are eating.
    • You will be happier. This is enough reason to eat mindfully. Your emotions affect your hormones, this will help you with hormonal balance and better digestion.

    How to eat mindfully for weight loss?

    There are no hard dos and don’ts, the following are only guidelines to eat more mindfully. Eating mindfully is not difficult, but in our culture we have gotten used to eating fast and while doing something else. Here are some tips to eat mindfully.

    1- Sit down at the table to eat

    This is the reason we have dining tables. Hopefully the table and the environment will be clutter free and peaceful. If you make eating a ritual, you will enjoy your food more and eat more mindfully.

    2- Lower the noise

    It is best to eat in relative silence, meaning no TVs, no cell phones, no loud music. If there is conversation, it should be a nice, easy topic. Of course this is not always possible but you can try to minimize what is in your control.

    3- Chew and chew a little more

    We don’t have teeth in our stomach, the more we chew the less the stomach works. In other words, the easier and faster is our digestion. This allows for faster elimination and more nutrient absorption. It also slows us down and we get full with less food.

    4- Don’t drink too much

    We are not talking alcohol, but all liquids. In natural medicine, we believe that drinking large amounts of liquids interferes with digestion.

    5- Enjoy your food

    Try to eat with all your senses. Look at your food, smell it and observe the textures and colors. After that you can put the first bite in your mouth and enjoy it.

    Mindful eating for weigh loss in menopause and perimenopause

    6- Give thanks

    Grace is a beautiful word. Give grace or thanks for your food and for that moment. Read stress and weight

    7- Make it special

    Avoid eating while walking or driving even if you are eating something small. Multitasking is a bad idea in everything. While eating you are going to eat more and not really enjoy your food.

    Avoid eating while watching TV or looking at your cell phone. This is especially difficult for most people, but I least you can try to put more attention on your food. Try to limit your time on the phone and turn off the TV.

    Try to avoid eating in a hurry. It is not always possible but avoid it to the max, for some people this is a habit and it is a habit that makes you anxious and contributes to weight gain.

    8- Avoid guilt

    Many people, especially the ones who count calories or fat grams can feel guilty when eating. Don’t, it doesn’t help, give thanks for your food and eat with gusto. Once you have decided to eat a certain food, just enjoy it or don’t eat it, but don’t overthink it.

    If you feel guilty or you feel that you should be eating better, just plan for better the next time, but enjoy the present.

    9- Be present

    This is the heart of mindful eating. Don’t let your mind wander or get lost in conversation or social media. When eating, your focus is your food and the act of feeding your body.

    Should you try mindful eating?

    It is easy, it is free, and it is effective. It will help you to be healthier, skinnier and happier and it will help you balance your hormones and prevent illnesses. I think it is worth trying it. It is a gift to yourself and one of the highest forms of self-care.

    Can you lose weight with mindful eating?

    Let’s be honest, someone can practice mindful eating and eat large amounts and that will not be helpful, but in general mindful eating helps us eat less. Once we start mindful eating it is easier to pick healthier dishes and control cravings and those are habits that will result in weight loss and help us with hormonal balance.

    Do you eat mindfully?



  • Types of belly fat in midlife

    Belly fat reaches a new high during midlife, it even gets its own name, midlife spread. For most women in midlife one of the most traumatic changes is the change in body shape. The tummy starts growing out of the blue and the waist line becomes a distant memory. Pear and upper triangles body types become apples. There are different types of belly fat. If you are asking why does this happens and what can one do about it, keep reading.

    How to stop belly fat accumulation in midlife

    We can blame it all on hormones and certainly they play a role, but there can be many other causes or contributing factors. Although most abdominal fat requires the same advice to eliminate it: healthier eating, more movement and less stress, there are some differences between the different types of belly fat or abdominal fat require more than the conventional advice, specially during perimenopause and menopause.

    Let’s take a look at the different types of belly fat and potential solutions for each type. Let’s keep in mind that excess fat always requires eating a healthier diet.

    Lower body fat

    This type of fat can be hormone-related or inactivity related. Even very skinny people can have it. Usually this type of body fat is more common before perimenopause and menopause.

    Excess estrogen can play a role in this type of belly fat, but inactivity, too much sitting, and poor posture are more common as well as a combination of these factors.

    What can you do about it?

    • Eat a healthier diet and drink plenty of liquids.
    • Try not to sit down for long periods of time
    • Workout and try to add more activity to your life. Try exercises to strengthen your core.
    • Cut down on sugar and dairy
    • Watch your posture during the day. Try to sit correctly and stand up straight, lightly contracting your tummy
    • Try to move during the day

    Belly fat that looks like pregnancy

    This fat can be common during midlife. It tends to be firm and it can have many causes. This can be hormonal body fat, and is not directly linked to estrogens but to cortisol and/or insulin. It is very common in people with insulin resistance.

    This type of tummy fat is directly related to high stress levels (physical and emotional) and high sugar and/or alcohol consumption. This type of belly can also indicate liver problems such as fatty liver; this is the reason it is associated with alcohol consumption. Read about thyroid and weight gain

    What to do to lower this type of belly fat?

    This type of fat is the most damaging type because it is directly affecting the vital organs and it’s the result of a combination of unhealthy habits. To lower this type of belly fat, the keys are stress management and toxin elimination. You can accomplish it with these recommendations:

    • Lower stress levels
    • Sleep at least 7 hours a night
    • Lower alcohol and carbohydrate consumption
    • Make sure you are eating only healthy fats
    • Try to eat only healthy animal products
    • Avoid regular dairy
    • Avoid commercial baked goods
    • Eat enough omega 3
    • Lower or eliminate caffeine intake
    • Try to eat healthy most of the time. Be careful following any diets that will contribute to more stress in your life. The best way to eat is to follow anti-inflammatory guidelines
    • Try to include activities to relax, such as participating in sports, yoga, dancing, arts, walks in nature, etc.
    • Be kind to yourself
    • Workout, but avoid workout stress such as running too much, boot camps, CrossFit, competitive apps, etc.
    • If you have a religion, pray, ask for help and leave it to God; if not you can practice meditation. The bottom line is to relinquish control, worry and other emotions that generate stress, anger and sadness.
    • Observe yourself to identify allergies such as those from foods, molds, pollen and others. These are physical body stressors that can cause thyroid problems.
    • Remove or lower toxins from your life such as regular cleaning products, cooking at high temperatures with Teflon, etc.
    • For some people, a paleo or keto lifestyle for a short period of time can be very beneficial. For me the answer was intermittent fasting and you can follow this way of eating for long time.

    Upper tummy fat (AKA love handles)

    This is pure fat and an active lifestyle and healthy food in the right amounts can correct it.

    Hormonal belly fat

    During menopause and perimenopause, we are very likely to accumulate belly fat. This is the result of lower estrogens and higher cortisol. It can be solid fat as in the previous case or loose fat all over the tummy area.

    To eliminate this type of belly fat there is no one size fits all cause, because there are many causes. Usually it comes with other body changes such as bigger or smaller breasts, bigger back and in some cases, smaller butt.
    In general, to improve this situation we need to bring more balance to our hormones, lowering stress and making sure our thyroid is doing its job. To accomplish this we need to strengthen the liver, adrenals and thyroids. You can read this article where I have more detailed information on menopausal belly fat.

    You can read more on why we gain weight during perimenopause and menopause

    Fluctuating belly

    This is fake belly fat. You get up in the morning with a flat tummy and this keeps growing as the day progresses. This is caused by gases and/or liquid retention and not by fat accumulation.

    The next question is why does it happen? There are many reasons, though, the most common one is food intolerances. There also can be digestion issues caused by stress, illness or allergies.

    What to do?

    • Do an elimination diet to identify if you have allergies
    • Eat slower, chew your food very well; this improves your digestion
    • Avoid drinking large amounts of liquids during meals. Warm or lukewarm liquids are better than cold liquids.
    • Lower stress
    • Ayurveda can be very effective to treat and correct these digestive issues

    Sudden tummy

    This is the tummy that comes out of nowhere and it is loose. If you are gaining weight and it is mostly going to the tummy, but you feel that you are eating the same and having the same level of physical activity and you are in midlife, this is probably hormonal weight. Read why this happens

    However if the fat is solid, and hard in very few cases, it can be related to conditions that need medical attention so you should see your doctor.

    What not to do when you are experiencing hormonal belly fat

    • Don’t worry, there is a lot you can do to reduce your tummy. Think of a growing tummy as a messenger, telling you to watch out because something may need more balance in your body.
    • Avoid extreme diets. If you have a lot of weight to lose or if you suspect that you may be insulin resistant then a Paleo or Keto diet can be appropriate for some time. But if you are experiencing many other menopausal or perimenopause symptoms, for most people it is better to start eating healthier and do some light intermittent fasting. There has to be a balance between weight loss and stress reduction.
    • Remember joy. Joy is very important in our lives, joy makes our body healthier and contributes to hormonal balance. Look for joyful activities outside food. Make your food delicious.
    • The main thing you can do for your health is to cook at home from scratch. If you use some organic ingredients even better, but just eating home cooked meals will make a difference in your health.

    What about liposuction

    It certainly works, but it is a surgery and you have to consider it carefully. However, if the weight comes back (the person gains the weight back) some of the fat will go directly on top of vital organs. Most people who have liposuction end up gaining back the weight, because they haven’t learned a healthier, happier lifestyle.

    During perimenopause and menopause it is important to pay attention to the hormones and try to balance them because if not, they will also cause other issues, the tummy is only one of them. Perimenopause and menopause are a good time to recalibrate our bodies to have a healthy second half of our lives.

    What about hormonal replacement therapy (HRT)

    HRT and BHRT will help control tummy or abdominal fat while taking the hormones. You can read this article about HRT and BHRT. I personally will still recommend lifestyle changes to avoid other problems and to develop a tummy as soon as the hormones are stopped. Read more about HRT and BHRT

  • How to stop hot flashes naturally

    Hot flashes, or flushes as they are called in some places, are common in women going through perimenopause or menopause. They are also very bothersome and greatly disruptive, especially if they happen at night, called night sweats.

    Hot flashes at night disrupt sleep and with that a whole plethora of symptoms can develop, such mental fog, lack of energy, irritability, weight gain, etc. That’s why it is very important to deal with hot flashes.

    how to stop hot flashes naturally

    What to do to eliminate hot flashes naturally

    Before moving into potential solutions we need to understand what the causes of hot flashes are. Doctors don’t know what causes them, not all women get them (I didn’t) and in many cultures they are almost unknown. We need more research to find out what causes hot flashes. Doctors know that there are some things that make hot flashes worse for some women, such as:

    • Spicy foods
    • Foods with caffeine
    • Alcohol
    • Some medicines
    • Certain health issues, such thyroid problems and diabetes
    • Smoking
    • Anything that makes the normal body temperature rise such as exposure to high temperatures, thick clothing, saunas, etc.
    • Emotions such stress, fear and anxiety

    The first thing to do when suffering hot flashes is to try to identify which items on that list make your hot flashes worse. Then you can at least lower your exposure if not totally avoid it.

    easy ways to stop hot flashes naturally

    How to eliminate hot flashes naturally

    A healthier lifestyle can greatly reduce or eliminate hot flashes. A healthier lifestyle will help you eliminate toxins, eliminate excessive bad hormones, make your organs work better, and more. All of this will reduce or stop hot flashes. What is a healthier life style? Eat clean, drink your water (hopefully purified) and avoid stress.

    Move it baby

    Working out is one of the most effective ways to reduce or eliminate hot flashes. There have been many studies on this topic and all of them have found a relationship between working out, especially sweaty workouts, and a reduction in hot flashes. Working out checks off many boxes, including eliminating toxins and stress, and helping the body generate good hormones, as well as maintaining muscle and bone mass.

    Cool it

    Controlling stress, is another important aspect to controlling hot flashes. Stress causes a lot of problems in the body and they result in more or more intense hot flashes. You can read this article about stress and hormonal balance.

    Can herbs help to eliminate hot flashes?

    Herbs can certainly help. Black cohosh is the most studied herb against hot flashes and definitely worth trying. Herbs combined with a healthier lifestyle are more effective than only taking the herbs. Other recommended herbs are: ashwaganda (to strengthen adrenals), maca (testosterone), chaste tree, Dong Quai, Ginkgo biloba and red clover. There are many teas and supplements that use some combination of these and other herbs. Some of these herbs interact with other medications so it is important to check for potential issues.

    Beyond herbs, Ayurveda, aromatherapy, homeopathy and other natural medicine modalities have treatments to effectively lower hot flashes and other menopause and perimenopause symptoms.

    I have an article on aromatherapy for menopausal symptoms that explains how it can help.

    Hot flashes in Ayurveda

    Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, has complete treatments to treat hot flashes. In Ayurveda, we believe that hot flashes are an imbalance, and there are herbs and treatments to bring back the balance. All Ayurveda treatments, as well as Chinese medicine treatments, include lifestyle changes and they can be very effective without negative side effects.

    Functional medicine

    You can also consult a functional medicine expert. In functional medicine, we look at the cause of the symptoms to treat them at the root level. However, functional medicine can be expensive and many practitioners order too many tests that many times are redundant. But if you are suffering from severe flashes and want natural alternatives this can be one of the best options.

    Easy ways to eliminate hot flashes naturally

    Some tips to eliminate or reduce hot flashes

    Keep a diary and write down what did you do or eat prior to a flash. After a week or so you will be able to identify some culprits.

    • Try to work out at least 30 minutes 3 times a week or more
    • Try some yoga to lower stress
    • Practice deep breathing
    • Talk to yourself kindly
    • Reduce or avoid coffee
    • Reduce or avoid alcohol
    • Lower sugar intake
    • Stop smoking
    • Keep your room temperatures on the cool side
    • Have an electric fan on hand (handheld or normal) in case you need it
    • Wear layers of clothes. This way you can easily add on or take off according to your needs.
    • Sleep with layers of blankets and/or sheets to adjust your temperature
    • Try to keep cold water at hand. If you feel a hot flash coming apply some water with a cotton towel or spray on your face and drink some cold water.
    • Use cold gel pack if water is not possible.
    • Avoid hot showers and baths. You can use lukewarm water instead

    If your hot flashes don’t improve with lifestyle changes, look for professional help; there are many therapies that can help you, including traditional hormonal replacement therapy and bioidentical hormonal replacement therapy. Read more about hormonal replacement therapy here.

  • Healthy bones and teeth with smoothies

    Our teeth and bones need vitamins and minerals to keep strong and healthy during menopause and perimenopause. Smoothies are a delicious way to eat those nutrients. As you know smoothies are in fashion. And there are good reasons for it. They make it easier to drink something healthy and consume some powerful foods in a delicious and convenient form.

    Smoothies for teeth and bone health in menopause and perimenopause

    We can use smoothies to strengthen, protect and even heal our bones and teeth. After 40, during perimenopause and menopause and beyond, we need to take care of our bones and teeth, because the hormonal changes that take place can weaken them.

    Sometimes when we think of good foods and nutrients for bones, we think of milk. But in reality we need more than milk, and in fact we may not need milk. We think milk, because of the propaganda. While it is true that milk has a lot of calcium, and calcium is great for teeth and bones, we also need other nutrients.

    Teeth and bones need vitamins and minerals during menopause and perimenopause. Bones can regenerate and strengthen, about 5 to 10% of all bone tissue is renewed each year.

    Teeth also need food, the same foods as bones. Your teeth are stronger if you eat the right foods. Dentists don’t teach patients to eat for teeth health, but it is fundamental. If you eat healthy your teeth don’t develop many cavities.

    Nutrients for teeth and bones during perimenopause and menopause

    The nutrients that strengthen our teeth and bones are the same at any age. However, at times of hormonal fluctuation we need to make sure we are having them. Some of the most important nutrients are:

    Calcium.

    The best and easiest calcium to absorb is from animal sources, but there are also many veggies that have it such as spinach and other green leaves as well as soy and white beans. (Read calcium in bone broth)

    Potassium.

    This mineral is needed for bone and teeth health as much as calcium. One study found that potassium reduces bone degeneration and increases the rate of bone formation in women. Bananas, sweet potatoes, oranges, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricots, grapefruit, prunes, raisins, dates, peas, cucumbers, etc. are wonderful sources of potassium.

    Vitamin K2.

    This one is difficult to add to smoothies. The richest natural source is a Japanese food called natto (fermented soy beans), which doesn’t taste that good. (I take a supplement of K2 every other day or so)

    Smoothies recipes for healthy bones and teeth

    Protein.

    This you are probably consuming enough in you meals

    Magnesium.

    You can find it in green vegetables, such as collards and kale, in some seeds such as poppy, sesame, chia etc., some nuts, legumes, whole grains and avocado. Avocados, seeds and nuts add a lot creaminess to the smoothies, but be careful because they have a lot of calories.

    Phosphorus.

    You can find them in soybeans, fish, meat, milk, eggs, in legumes and whole grains. You can add oats to your smoothies.

    Vitamins

    • Vitamin D. You can get it from the sun and supplements.
    • Vitamin A. You can find it in sweet potato, spinach, carrots, cantaloupe, mangoes, eggs and others.
    • Vitamin C. There are a lot of fruits with this nutrient such as, citrus, berries and many tropical fruits. You don’t need any specialty fruits to get your daily requirements of vitamin C.

    Zinc.

    You can find it in seeds, nuts and some grains. The most abundant sources are meat and shellfish. One powerful source is broccoli sprouts, and you can add them to smoothies or salads.

    Others.

    There are also other minerals that are required in small amounts. These are part of many fruits and veggies.

    Did you know?
    Sesame seeds are a good source of calcium, magnesium, copper, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber. A quarter cup of sesame seeds has more calcium than a cup of milk. It also has a lot of calories, but you can add a tablespoon of tahini to your smoothie.

    Now some recipes

    Smoothies for teeth and bone health in menopause and perimenopause

    Collagen, anti-inflammatory smoothie

    Ingredients
    1 cup water
    1 scoop of powdered collagen or gelatin
    1 cup fresh mix berries
    2 teaspoons of seeds such as sesame, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower or others
    ½ frozen banana. For potassium, fiber and sweetness. It also makes the smoothie very creamy
    1 pitted prune. For boron, fiber and sweetness
    ½ tsp of turmeric powder
    A bunch of broccoli sprouts
    Optional: If you like more sweetness add stevia, date sugar, maple syrup or sugar.

    Instructions
    Put all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Drink right after. You can adjust to your preferred thickness adding more water. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients, use what you have.

    Very cherry

    Ingredients:
    1 cup of fresh or frozen pitted cherries
    ¼ cup of oats
    ½ tsp of turmeric powder
    1 cup of milk or water. It can be almond or full fat or 2% pasture-raised, grass fed, organic cow’s milk, or goat’s milk
    1/2 cup of organic Greek yogurt (full fat or 2%)
    ½ frozen banana
    Optional, pitted dates or prunes for added sweetness or stevia, maple sugar or sugar
    Optional, one scoop of powdered collagen or gelatin

    Instructions
    Put all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Drink right after. You can adjust to your preferred thickness adding more water. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the ingredients, use what you have.

    The smoothies can also be consumed as smoothie bowls. The only difference as you know is that you will eat them with a spoon/fork, instead of drinking them.

    Make your smoothies or bowls pretty and sit down and enjoy the flavors.
    Read: Recipes for infused water


  • The most important nutrient you need in menopause and perimenopause

    Do you know what is the most important nutrient your body needs during menopause and perimenopause? Take a guess. If you said water, you are correct.

    Water is fundamental to our lives, and to life in general. The easiest thing you can do to improve hormonal balance and with that all perimenopause and menopause symptoms is to drink the right amount of water every day. Easy!

    Water to improve menopause and perimenopause symptoms

    Water for hormonal balance

    In order to have hormonal balance we need to help our body work more efficiently with minimum effort. Lack of enough water, or dehydration, makes everything more difficult for our body. Dehydration can make perimenopause and menopause symptoms worse.

    Symptoms like lack of energy, mental fog, aches and pains, dryness everywhere, and others can feel worse, because those are also symptoms of dehydration. Dehydration can also contribute to toxin retention, makes our organs work harder and it can make nutrients more difficult to be absorbed.

    Some benefits of drinking water

    • Water helps deliver nutrients and oxygen to the cells
    • The right levels of water improve cardiovascular function. The heart works less
    • Water keeps your joints hydrated and avoids joint pain
    • Water helps eliminate toxins from the body. High toxicity is one of the reasons for hormonal imbalance.
    • Water keeps you regular. If you are constipated you are keeping more toxins in the body.
    • The right hydration makes your skin look and feel better. Lines and wrinkles are less pronounced and the skin looks supple. The vaginal tissues also benefit with the right amount of water.
    • Dehydration makes mental fog worse
    • Dehydration makes you tired
    • Dehydration can be confused with hunger, and therefore, it can make you fat
    • Dehydration has an effect on your mood. It can make you irritated
    importance of water for menopause and perimenopause hormonal balance

    How much water do you need?

    There are no studies showing us exactly how much water we need. You are probably thinking, what about the famous eight glasses of water a day? There is no evidence that we need eight glasses of water a day. The reasons are the following:

    • How much you sweat?
    • How many fruits and veggies you eat?
    • What is the weather like?
    • What medications are you taking?
    • What is your body size?

    Even with all these variables, the 8 glasses a day goal is a good place to start. It can be 6 glasses, it can be 12 glasses. The more veggies and fruits you eat, the less water you need.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, in general, you should try to drink between half an ounce to an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. For example if you weigh 140 pounds, you should consume from 70 ounces to 140 ounces of liquids. Although we are calling it water, in reality we are talking of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated liquids.

    Eat your water

    You probably had read that you can eat your water. This is according to Dr. Howard Murad, an associate clinic professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of The Water Secret. He is also the founder of Murad cosmetics. He says that fruits and vegetables can hydrate the body twice as effectively as a glass of water. When we drink water it gets processed immediately and some is not absorbed.

    You eat water when you eat raw or lightly cooked fruits and veggies and cooked beans and lentils.

    The foods with less water are dried foods, such as processed meats, some breads, candies, cookies, potato chips, etc. In general many shelf stable processed foods have very little or no water.

    foods with water for hormonal balance

    The best water

    If your local water has fluoride, you need a filter right away. Fluoride is really bad for your health.

    What about chloride? Chloride is necessary, but it isn’t good either and it doesn’t taste that good. A filter easily eliminates it from the water.
    There are also a lot of contaminants in the municipal water, because of the pipes used (that are old and may have lead) and toxins that cannot be eliminated, such as pesticides and chemical residues. Again, a good filter can eliminate a lot of them.

    What is the best water?

    I have done a lot of research on water and my conclusion is that the best water in most places in America and Canada is from the faucet using a double osmosis filter. The regular filters don’t eliminate many toxins. Where I live, the water is not so bad, it doesn’t have fluoride and it has fewer toxins, but still a filter is a good idea.

    You don’t need bottled water. This water is terrible for the environment and for your pocket. It is best to carry a refillable bottle (keep it clean). Of course this doesn’t apply if you live or are in a place with terrible water.

    Do you need a filter?

    A filter could be a great addition to your home, but don’t wait to have a filter to start drinking more water. The most recommended filters are the reverse osmosis types.
    Reverse osmosis filters for under the sink installation cost from $100 to $400, plus $80 to $250 a year for filters. Filter for the whole house can range from $500 to thousands and installation costs can be high for the whole house.

    Easiest ways to add water to your life

    Drink more water. Just put a goal like 1 glass after waking up, 2 or 3 glasses of liquid during the morning, 1 glass during lunch, 2 to 3 glasses in the afternoon and early evening. Avoid drinking a lot of water two to three hours before going to sleep.
    Eat soups, fruits, salads and vegetables in your meals and beans and lentils.

    Water with meals

    In Ayurveda and in Chinese medicine it is believed that drinking too much water at meal time is not healthy, because it dilutes the stomach acids. I recommend my clients to drink no more than a small glass of liquid preferably at room temperature or warm; this is the Ayurveda recommendation.

    Summary

    Dehydration can make menopause and perimenopause symptoms worse and even produce some of them. A first step to improve hormonal balance is to drink more water.

    You can read some delicious infused water recipes here


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