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Delaying Menopause: The Surprising Connection Between a Healthy Lifestyle

Updated: May 10, 2023

Have you ever wondered whether your lifestyle choices can affect menopause and delay its onset? As we age, we start thinking about menopause symptoms and usually wait until we experience them before trying to address them. Is your healthy lifestyle habits relevant to all of this? The answer is yes, and the research behind this connection is fascinating. The following article explores the surprising ways that a healthy lifestyle can influence menopause symptoms and timing. From the science behind it to practical tips for incorporating healthy lifestyle habits into your routine, we've got you covered. Whether you're approaching menopause or simply curious about the topic, keep reading to learn more about delaying menopause and improving your reproductive health.

Delaying menopause with a Healthy lifestyle| grandmother with her grandchild doing exercises

How Exercise Can Affect Menopause Timing And Symptoms

Research has shown that lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise, can impact menopause timing and symptoms. In particular, regular physical activity has been linked to delayed menopause onset and reduced menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings. If you're looking for ways to potentially delay menopause and improve your reproductive health, incorporating exercise into your routine may be an excellent place to start. It doesn't require an intense fitness program to benefit from this.

Delaying menopause by staying physically active| retired couple enjoying a jog

How does exercise impact menopause? A high BMI and large waist circumference have been directly linked to severe menopausal symptoms. Your fitness routine doesn't have to be scary or strenuous. You can keep those numbers and menopause symptoms at bay by walking daily and using resistance bands for 20 minutes 3 times a week. Furthermore, even though the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, physical activity is believed to help regulate the neurotransmitters and hormones responsible for menopausal symptoms, improve overall physical health and reduce stress levels.


If you're looking to potentially delay menopause and improve your reproductive health, incorporating exercise into your routine could be a great place to start. The ideal fitness routine is finding one you enjoy so you can stick to it over an extended period. It can include anything from daily walks, swimming, or yoga classes to more intense workouts like weightlifting or running.


Of course, exercise alone cannot guarantee delayed menopause onset or reduced symptoms. Diet, stress management, and other lifestyle factors also play a role. In the next section, we'll explore the connection between diet and menopause and provide some tips for incorporating foods that can potentially delay or hasten menopause onset.


Foods That Can Delay Or Hasten Menopause

Healthy foods that could help delay menopause

The foods you eat can affect your reproductive health, and menopause is no exception. Food is the fuel for your body, as the saying goes. You may be able to delay or reduce the symptoms of menopause by incorporating certain foods into your diet.


In one study, soy and green Indian turmeric, which are high in phytoestrogens, were associated with a later onset of menopause. Additionally, it may reduce hot flashes. Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that mimic estrogen's effects. Foods such as flaxseeds, chickpeas, and lentils also contain phytoestrogens.


In other studies, beta-cryptoxanthin, an antioxidant found in oranges and tangerines, was also found to reduce and delay menopausal symptoms. Menopause is also affected by a diet rich in vitamin B6 and zinc. The consumption of oily fish and fresh legumes could delay menopause by up to 3.3 years per portion per day, according to one study. Hot flashes were also reduced by soy and wheat flour, according to research.


In contrast, a diet rich in refined pasta and rice accelerated the onset of menopause by 1.5 years per serving. Diet has a significant impact on menopause onset and symptoms, as you can see. Consuming foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats may also hasten the onset of menopause. These foods can cause inflammation inside the body, which can negatively impact reproductive health. Incorporate whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins into your diet.

Local farms for a healthy diet during menopause

Each person's body is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution to delaying menopause onset. Making healthier food choices to maintain your health and well-being is still a good idea. Ensure your food is outsourced as close to your home as possible without being processed. Look for local farms that use organic methods to avoid chemicals that can affect hormones in multiple ways.

The diet plays a significant role in menopause onset and symptoms, but it is not the only one.


The following section explores how stress impacts reproductive health and how to manage it.


Stress Management And Menopause: Why It Matters

Of all the factors that can contribute to early menopause, stress is often overlooked. However, the negative impact of stress on the body is well-documented, and it can be a significant factor in reproductive health. Chronic stress can disrupt the delicate hormonal balance required for menstruation and fertility, leading to irregular periods, decreased ovarian function, and even premature ovarian failure. You should keep in mind that going through menopause is a stressful experience for your body. The goal is to reduce stress as much as possible to prevent cortisol levels from climbing even higher as estrogen levels decrease.

Incorporating stress free activity in a healthy lifestyle during menopause

Fortunately, there are many effective strategies for managing stress, ranging from mindfulness practices like meditation and yoga to regular exercise and therapy. You can tame your cortisol levels by journaling in the morning, observing nature, or participating in gratitude activities. When you incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routine, you can help support your reproductive health and potentially delay the onset of menopause.


Of course, stress management is just one piece of the puzzle in maintaining hormonal balance and optimal health. In addition to a healthy diet and stress management, there are other lifestyle factors to consider. In the next section, we'll explore the importance of sleep, alcohol, and smoking and their impact on reproductive health.


Other Healthy Lifestyle Habits To Consider During Menopause

In addition to managing stress and eating a healthy diet, other habits influence menopause. Everyone knows how important sleep is, but the importance of getting enough cannot be overstated, including its effect on hormonal balance. Researchers have found that women who consistently get less than seven hours of sleep per night are more likely to experience early menopause.

Cozy bedroom for a good night sleep| menopause healthy habits

It's essential to create a comfortable sleeping environment. Make your bed welcoming and comfortable, get that tv out of the bedroom, avoid screens at least two hours before bed, and tame the lights to create a warm ambiance. These will all help your natural melatonin production, known as the sleeping hormone. Prioritizing quality sleep and having a regular bedtime routine can support reproductive health.


Smoking and alcohol are also significant factors to consider. Smoking can lead to reduced ovarian function and earlier menopause, while heavy alcohol consumption may cause earlier menopause. By reducing alcohol intake and quitting smoking, women can potentially extend their reproductive years and delay the onset of menopause.


Putting It All Together: Practical Tips For Delaying Menopause

Incorporating healthy lifestyle habits daily into your routine can be a powerful way to support optimal reproductive health and delay the onset of menopause. While it may seem overwhelming to completely overhaul your lifestyle all at once, taking small steps towards healthier habits can make a big difference in the long run.

Delaying menopause with physical activity

One crucial step is to prioritize exercise. Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of early menopause and provide a host of other health benefits. Even just 20 minutes of moderate exercise a day can significantly impact. You can adapt the perfect fitness plan tailored to your needs with the help of a fitness coach.


In addition, paying attention to your nutrition is key. A balanced diet, including plenty of fruits, whole grains, and vegetables, can provide the nutrients and antioxidants that support reproductive health. The key to avoiding menopause symptoms is to be mindful of unhealthy lifestyle habits, including alcohol consumption. Supplements and herbal remedies can help you reduce some menopause symptoms and even delay their onset. A holistic nutritionist can help you incorporate them into your diet and plan delicious meals based on your preferences.


Self-care during menopause

Incorporating stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation, journaling, gratitude, nature walks, yoga, or self-care can also be beneficial. High-stress levels and cortisol have been linked to earlier menopause onset, so finding ways to manage stress can support reproductive health and potentially delay menopause.


Delaying menopause through a healthy lifestyle is about making small, sustainable changes that support optimal reproductive health. By taking steps towards exercise, nutrition, stress reduction, and limiting alcohol and smoking, women can potentially extend their reproductive years and reduce menopause symptoms, enjoying better health overall.


Remember, delaying menopause is not about stopping it altogether but about experiencing a healthier transition.

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is now.

So start today and take care of your body. Reap the benefits for years to come!

Healthy lifestyle during menopause

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References

Taylor & Francis Group, Influence of nutrition on the decline of ovarian reserve and subsequent onset of natural menopause, Karma Pearce & Kelton Tremellen (July, 2016) https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14647273.2016.1205759

Journal of Mid-Life Health, Effects of Obesity on Severity of Menopausal Symptoms in Urban and Rural Women, Sreenivas, Sudha Bakthavathsalam; Kashyap, Pranav Balaji (Dec, 2022) https://journals.lww.com/jomh/Fulltext/2022/13040/Effects_of_Obesity_on_Severity_of_Menopausal.7.aspx

National Library of Medicine, Absorption, metabolism, and functions of β-cryptoxanthin, Betty J. Burri,Michael R. La Frano, and Chenghao Zhu (Feb, 2016) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4892306/#:~:text=%CE%B2%2DCryptoxanthin%20is%20an%20antioxidant,thus%2C%20may%20help%20delay%20osteoporosis.

BMJ Journal, Dietary intake and age at natural menopause: results from the UK Women’s Cohort Study, Yashvee Dunneram, Darren Charles Greenwood, Victoria J Burley, Janet E Cade (July, 2018) https://jech.bmj.com/content/72/8/733.abstract

The North American Menopause Society, The role of soy isoflavones in menopausal health, Clarkson, Thomas B, Utian, Wulf H &alt. (Oct, 2010) https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/2011/07000/The_role_of_soy_isoflavones_in_menopausal_health_.5.aspx

National Library of Medicine, Efficacy of phytoestrogens for menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis and systematic review, M-N. Chen, C-C. Lin and C-F. (Mar, 2015) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4389700/

National Library of Medicine, Phytoestrogens and Their Health Effect, Desmawati Desmawati and Delmi Sulastri (Feb, 2019) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6390141/#:~:text=Phytoestrogens%20derived%20from%20the%20green,oestrous%20cycle%20and%20ovarian%20function.

National Library of Medicine, Cortisol Levels during the Menopausal Transition and Early Postmenopause: Observations from the Seattle Midlife Women’s Health Study, Nancy Fugate Woods, PhD, RN, FAAN, Ellen Sullivan Mitchell, PhD, and Kathleen Smith-DiJulio, PhD, RN (Aug, 2009) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2749064/

National Institute of Aging, Sleep Problems and Menopause: What Can I Do?, NIA scientists and other experts (Sept, 2021) https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/sleep-problems-and-menopause-what-can-i-do

Johns Hopkins Medicine, How Does Menopause Affect My Sleep?, Grace Weiwei Pien, M.D., M.S.C.E.(viewed May, 2023) https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/how-does-menopause-affect-my-sleep

National Library of Medicine, The Impact of Sleep and Circadian Disturbance on Hormones and Metabolism, Tae Won Kim, Jong-Hyun Jeong, and Seung-Chul Hong (Mar, 2015) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4377487/

National Library of Medicine, Current Alcohol Use, Hormone Levels, and Hot Flashes in Midlife Women, Chrissy Schilling, M.S., Lisa Gallicchio, Ph.D., Susan R. Miller & alt. (Feb, 2007) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1949018/

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