9 Anti-Aging Tips to Keep Your Brain Young

9 Anti-Aging Tips to Keep Your Brain Young

9 Anti-Aging Tips to Keep Your Brain Young

“Of all things I ever lost I miss my mind the most.”

I used to get a good chuckle over that quote, until I got a little older and started the “where did I put that” game.

You know that game.

Where, you wonder inwardly, did I put my keys? Where did I put my phone? Where did I put my glasses? Where did I put my husband?

It starts in your mid-thirties and seems to get worse as you age.

You chalk up to being menopausal, or middle-aged, or perhaps it’s because to lack of sleep, or because of kids, or to stress.

But, what is really happening is that our brain is aging.

Science tells us how well our brain ages is 25% due to genes, while the other three-quarters is dependent on our lifestyle choices.

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Menopause and Our Brain

Research shows that the female sex hormone, estrogen, plays a key role in brain function.

An article in the journal Neurology describes estrogen as “a key element in the work of the brain [that] helps direct blood to parts of the brain that are more active.”

Since that hormone declines during menopause, one would think so would our brain function.

However, according to a six-year study of women who were still menstruating, perimenopausal, or postmenopausal, most of the women improved their test scores of brain function over time.

That is, even women with declining estrogen were able to improve brain function.

Should you have memory slips or difficulty concentrating, research suggests a variety of potential underlying causes.

These include disturbed sleep, extra stress, or depression.

For instance, if you’re awakened by night sweats several times during the night, that’s often enough to interfere with your ability to concentrate or remember what tool you were trying to find in the garage the next day.

9 Anti-Aging Tips to Keep Your Brain Young

1/Exercise

One of the best tips to keep your brain young is to exercise. A combination of aerobic and strength spurs the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between brain cells.

This, in turn, slows down our mental decline.

TIP: Aim for 3-4 times of aerobic work a week, with 2-3 sessions of weight training.

2/Stress less

Stress is bad for your brain (as well as your waistline, your heart and your relationships).

In a paper released on stress and the brain, Jeansok Kim of the University of Washington found that stress can “disturb cognitive processes such as learning and memory, and consequently limit the quality of human life”.

TIP: Try meditation, yoga, or 5-minutes of daily deep breathing (come on – we all have 5-minutes we can spare for our l’ brain).

3/ Break your routine

Do something outside of your comfort level. Challenge your brain with new activities.

Your brain is similar to your other muscles. For example, if you were to do the same exercise program, day-in-day-out, you would stop seeing results after a period of time.

This is because your muscles have become accustomed to those exercises.

The same goes for the brain.

TIP: Put the crossword puzzle away (if that’s what you do everyday), and instead, learn how to use a new app on your phone (or for some, how to use your phone).

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4/ Get some sleep

Sleep is the only time the brain has to re-boot itself. It’s when we consolidate new memories and restore and recover from what has happened to us during the day.

TIP: Boost your sleep by turning off your electronics in the evening, performing yin yoga, meditating, and getting outside during the day so your circadian rhythm is activated.

5/ Hang out with friends

We are social animals and spending time with others is important for our brain health.

In a 2012 Dutch study it was shown that loneliness increased the risk of dementia by 65%. Some doctors even believe that loneliness is worse for your health than smoking, being an alcoholic and being obese.

TIP: Volunteer, join a group, plan activities in advance with friends and family.

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6/ Work

If you are near retirement you might want to re-think that. People who continuously get mental stimulation build their brains up faster and keep them built up.

TIP: If you are retired, consider going back to work again, but this time doing something that you have always wanted to do. Not only will you be stimulating yourself mentally, you will also build that social network that is so important for brain health too.

7/ Improve your blood pressure

High blood pressure in your midlife increases your risk of cognitive decline in your later years.

TIP: Use medication, if prescribed, as well as lifestyle changes such as controlling your weight, your stress, getting plenty of exercise and eating right.

fresh broccoli in heart shape on table

8/ Eat better

You are what you eat, so don’t be cheap, easy or fake.

TIP: Eat foods on a daily basis that are rich in antioxidants, good fats, vitamins and minerals.

9/ Improve your blood sugars

Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and other types of dementia because cardiovascular problems associated with diabetes are also associated with dementia.

TIP: Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamin D, folate, B6 and B12 vitamins, as well as exercise regularly.

Workouts can also balance your blood sugar levels.

 

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5 Natural Remedies for Treating Menopause

5 Natural Remedies for Treating Menopause

5 Natural Remedies for Treating Menopause

Five natural remedies for treating menopausal symptoms.

Menopause. It comes with it’s perks.

No more period! No more buying tampons! No more buying pads! No more menstrual cramps!

But, to get there we have to put up with:

Irregular periods

Hot flashes and night sweats

Sleep problems

Mood changes

Weight gain

Thinning hair and dry skin

Vaginal dryness

Low libido

Now, this doesn’t mean all of us will get the above symptoms, and for those of that do it also doesn’t mean we have take this lying down.

There are natural ways we can manage our menopause symptoms.

(NOTE: If your symptoms are severe, though, you may need HRT. Talk to your doctor or menopause specialist.)

5 Natural Remedies for Menopause

1/ Exercise.

Go figure I would list this as the first natural remedy to menopause. But, it’s also what all the experts recommend as well.

First, exercise releases endorphins, thereby improving our moods.

Second, exercise has a positive effect on cognitive functioning. Helping us through that brain fog that plague so many women in menopause.

Third, exercise lowers blood pressure, improves lipoprotein profile, C-reactive protein and other heart disease biomakers.

Fourth, exercise helps to enhance insulin sensitivity that gets impaired as we age.

And finally, exercise can help prevent weight gain.

This is particularly important for menopausal women as our weight tends to stick to unusual places (hello meno-pod), and our scales refuse to budge.

Which is super frustrating! Isn’t it??

However, one of the reasons that this is so common in menopause is because of our fluctuating estrogen levels.

You see estrogen tends to cause our body to hold onto fat. And then on top of this fat actually produces more estrogen, which then creates even more fat.

Therefore, the vicious cycle continues.

Start adding fitness slowly into your routine.

Add a HIIT, or higher intensity, cardio workout once a week into your routine.

Strength train 2-4 times a week.

If you’re a beginner, get a workout program designed with you (and weight loss) in mind.

2/ Eat well.

What we put in our bodies has a huge impact on our menopause symptoms.

Foods to keep an eye that could trigger your menopause symptoms:

Fatty cuts of meat: for heart health and your waistline

Sugar: for fatigue and weight gain (eliminate completely!)

Refined carbs: mood swings, fatigue and weight gain (eliminate completely!)

Caffeine: hot flashes, increased cortisol levels and sleep problems

Alcohol: hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings, weight gain (eliminate completely! Haha, just joking. Scared ya though, didn’t I?)

Spicy foods: hot flashes

Hot foods: hot flashes

What to eat instead?

Clean sources of protein (such as free-range beef, bison, chicken, turkey, fish, beans and legumes)

Soy: the isoflavones in soy foods are thought to balance the hormones levels. There is research about soy both working and not working (very confusing Mr and Mrs Researchers), as well there are questions about the safety of soy too (in some studies the participants have seen an increase in breast cancer). Experts recommend avoiding supplements, and instead, choose from food sources such as tofu, soy milk, roasted soy nuts or tempeh.

Vegetables: aim for at least a pound a day and make half of that raw. Also please choose green whenever you can – green is the new black.

Fruit: get sugar out of your life and add fruit instead. For weight loss, I would recommend 2 pieces of fruit a day (no more), and earlier in the day when the body processes carbs better.

Complex carbs: oats, brown rice, veggies and fruit, beans, legumes, quinoa, grains and ancient grains

Healthy fats: avocados & avocado oil, coconut oil, organic butter & ghee, extra virgin olive oil, eggs with the yolk, nuts and seeds, and omega-3s

Flax seed: the lignans found in flax seeds are thought to balance our hormones, however according to the Mayo Clinic flax does not provide any benefit from hot flashes. It’s worth a try though. Now, it needs to be pointed out that the study that the Mayo Clinic is referring to used breast cancer patients and all were postmenopausal.

My question: would a woman without cancer, and in peri or menopause see benefits?

I say try it. You have nothing to lose and if flax doesn’t help your menopause symptoms at least you will be giving yourself a good boost of fibre and healthy fats.

3/ Decrease your stress.

Stress can be the culprit behind additional imbalances in hormones and neurotransmitters that affect mood, as well as mental function, thyroid function, digestive function, and especially blood sugar imbalances.

Stress has also been linked to symptoms such as hot flashes and low libido.

In addition, stress can make the body hold onto fat, and create more fat. Since the brain thinks the body is under attack.

Learn to decrease your stress with meditation, yoga or by performing a few deep belly breathes next time you are feeling anxious.

Lie on your back with a book resting on your belly. Inhale deeply and feel the book rise under your belly. Exhale fully and feel the book lower toward the spine.

Repeat for 2-10 minutes daily to improve your vagus nerve function – which can calm an overactive central nervous system.

4/ Acupuncture.

Many women find relief from menopause symptoms with acupuncture.

Even the experts say that acupuncture (as well as hypnosis, meditation and yoga) can help and have good safety records.

This means that acupuncture has worked in women to help relieve the symptoms of menopause and have done so with no risk to our health.

So even if it doesn’t work for you, you won’t put yourself at risk for trying.

On a different note, I personally have used acupuncture in the past for low back pain, and with complete success.

5/ Herbs, supplements and essential oils.

The following natural products are what some women take to help with their symptoms.

However, none have clearly been shown to be 100% helpful. There is also little information on the long-term safety of natural products, and some can have harmful side effects or interact with drugs.

With all that said, I know of a lot of woman who use natural products and with great success.

My suggestion is to discuss using any of these treatments with a menopause specialist, or a naturopath who specializes in women’s health.

Black cohosh – one of the best studied traditional herbs for menopause. Black cohosh seems to work by supporting and maintaining our hormone levels.

Vitamin E – a daily dose of 400 IU could help alleviate hot flashes.

B vitamins – these water-soluble vitamins may help deal with the stress of menopausal symptoms.

Evening primrose or black currant oil – these are sources of essential fatty acids that can help moderate menopausal symptoms.

Dong quai – a herb that could help support and maintain the natural balance of our hormones.

Bottom line

Begin the process of managing your menopause symptoms with tips 1 through 4 first.

None of these have side effects, and each has been researched and shown to help support our bodies – at any time in our lives.

If your symptoms still persist see a menopause specialist, or a naturopath who specializes in women’s health to discuss the use of herbs and supplements, or even HRT.

 

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Women, Heart Disease and Menopause

Women, Heart Disease and Menopause

Women, Heart Disease and Early Menopause

Today I’m talking about our heart health and how we can protect our beating hearts.

I will be discussing:

What our heart does for us

What can go wrong with our heart

What are the risk factors for a heart attack and stroke

Do our risk factors change after menopause

Are the signs of a heart attack the same for women

How you can prevent heart disease

What our heart’s do for us

Men’s and women’s hearts are physiologically the same.

For instance, we each have four chambers, with four valves that regulate the flow of blood in our heart.

It’s the heart’s job to pump blood through the body, providing our body with oxygen and nutrients, while carrying waste away.

It is also responsible for falling in love, and sometimes, falling out of.

The average heart will beat around 100,000 times in a one day (unless you do one of my YouTube workouts, then tack on another 500 beats), and pump about 7,570 litres of blood daily.

What can go wrong with our heart

When our heart is working efficiently we don’t really give it much thought.

We take it for granted, kinda. Like how a Kardashian takes for granted that we care about all of their selfies. Until something starts to go wrong.

And there are number of things that can wrong with our heart.

The first is coronary heart disease, which is really an umbrella term for most of the ailments that occur to our heart and blood vessels.

These can be:

  • Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries)
  • Arrhythmias (irregular rhythm of the heart – liken this to mixing a rap song with Yanni)
  • Congenial defects (a condition existing since birth)
  • Angina (when the heart does not get enough blood to it, unlike Trump where the brain does not get enough blood to it)
  • Heart attacks

What are a women’s risk factors for heart disease

The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation states that while women are living longer today, that doesn’t mean we don’t face the threat of heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease (this is heart disease and stroke), is a leading cause of death for Canadian women and most women have at least one risk factor.

These risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Mental stress and depression (women’s hearts are more affected by this then men’s)
  • Smoking
  • Inactivity
  • Being overweight
  • High cholesterol (particularly our low density lipids, or LDL levels)
  • Family history,

Menopause is also a risk factor.

Menopause – a risk factor for heart disease

Our hormone estrogen helps the arteries be more flexible and helps to strengthen the interior walls. This is a positive, however as we enter menopause and our levels of estrogen drop we lose that protective edge.

In addition to the drop of estrogen our bodies go through other changes too (no kidding!).

This includes a raise in our blood pressure, our LDL levels may also increase, and our HDL levels (good cholesterol) may decline.

Triglycerides (groups of fatty cells contained within the blood vessels), also go up during and after menopause.

Each of these raises our risk for a cardiac event a little higher.

Are the signs of a heart attack the same for women?

I remember when I first started in the industry we were taught that the signs of a heart attack in a pre-menopausal woman was different from that from a man.

The Canadian Heart and Stroke now suggest that this may not be the case.

Both women and men may experience:

  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Pain in the arm, throat, upper back or jaw
  • Chest pain

Women may describe their pain differently and we may also shrug our symptoms off as anxiety or indigestion.

We also get misdiagnosed a lot.

The Atlantic in 2015 reported that thousands of American women with heart disease are misdiagnosed every year, and with fatal consequenses.

In the UK it was reported in a recent study that 1 in 3 heart attack cases over there are misdiagnosed, with men significantly less likely than women to be initially wrongly diagnosed.

How to prevent heart disease during menopause

So, how can you help prevent a jammer from happening to you?

The best way to protect your heart is with:

  • Aerobic exercise 30-45 minutes, 3-5 times a week
  • Reducing your stress
  • Not smoking
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Reducing your weight to a healthy level
  • Seeing your doctor for a cardiovascular risk stratification to see which factors are significant for you

 

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Hormone Replacement and Cancer

Hormone Replacement and Cancer

Hormone Replacement and Cancer

Does hormone replacement therapy (HRT) cause cancer?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a common treatment used to relieve the symptoms of menopause, especially those with severe hot flashes.

It works by replacing the hormones that are dropping as we enter menopause.

HRT augments the body’s natural hormone levels, either in the form of estrogen-alone therapy (ET), for women who have had a hysterectomy (or surgical menopause), or as estrogen with progesterone therapy (EPT), for women who experience menopause naturally at midlife.

Two of the most common HRT meds prescribed are Premarin and Provera.

Both are synthetic hormones and been known to have a carcinogenic (cancer causing) effect on the body.

Dr. Rishi Verma (a Vancouver-based medical doctor who is the owner and medical director of Balance Medical Center and Westcoast Women’s Clinic) explains on his blog that:

Premarin

  • Contains 20+ estrogens
  • All estrogens are derived from pregnant horse urine
  • The majority of the estrogens are estrone (E1) compounds, which are unknown to the human body and unfavourable to our body chemistry
  • The pill is taken orally, which is a dangerous way to take estrogen, as it has been linked to blood clots

Provera

  • Synthetic progestogen which bears little resemblance to progesterone
  • Has a similar effect to progesterone in the uterus, but a directly opposite effect on all other body tissues
  • Is a known carcinogen
  • Is strong enough to cause osteoporosis in young women

Bioidentical Hormones

Bio-identical hormones are hormone preparations which are identical molecules to those produced by the body. These are made from plant chemical, in particular yams and soy.

Many women assume that bio-identical are “natural” hormones are better or safer — but the term “natural” is open to interpretation are not not tested or regulated by Health Canada.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the marketing of these products is misleading to women and that they carry the same risks as other hormonal therapies.

Latest Research on Hormone Replacement Therapy

In 2001 there was a landmark study called The Million Women Study where the researchers there found a link between increased breast cancer risk and hormone replacement therapy.

However, in 2012 a group of experts reviewed the plan and concluded that it wasn’t done properly.

Why did the experts conclude it wasn’t done properly?

Apparently the experts deemed the analysis unreliable because of the way the information was analyzed.

Fast-forward to last August, to the release of a new study aimed to better quantify the size of the risk with the different HRT types.

In this study they used data from a questionnaire on around 40,000 women in the UK.

The study that took place between the years of 2003 and 2015 and assessments were made at recruitment, after 2.5 years and then again at six years.

What did the new study find?

Researchers found women taking combined HRT – both estrogen and progestogen – had just over twice the risk of developing breast cancer compared with women who have never taken HRT.

Women who took the pill for 15 years or more had three times the risk – though this was only seven women in total, meaning the link may have been subject to chance.

The good news.

Thankfully the risk returned to baseline around a year or two after a woman had stopped taking HRT.

Hormone Replacement Therapy and  Cancer

  • HRT can triple a women’s chances of developing breast cancer
  • While the link was first announced in 2001, it was widely disputed
  • Conclusion: this latest study shows a link to breast cancer and HRT

The authors of the new study caution women to put this in perspective though (of course they do, it’s not their boobs and body that are at risk).

They state:

These findings will be of concern to women taking combination HRT. But there are a few extra points to put this into perspective.

The baseline risk of developing breast cancer with combined HRT is still quite small. This research found no link with the estrogen-only pill.

But we still can’t conclude with complete certainty that it’s only the combined pill that carries a breast cancer risk – particularly when the analyses combining all types of HRT found an increased risk. For now, it has to be considered that any type of HRT could carry a small increased risk of breast cancer.

HRT can also increase the risk of developing other types of cancer. Estrogen-only HRT can increase the risk of womb cancer and is normally only used in women who’ve had a hysterectomy – women who were excluded from this study.

This means we cannot conclude that all women taking combined HRT should switch to estrogen-only – they could be increasing their risk of another type of cancer.

Other potential risks of HRT include ovarian cancer and blood clots. Whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks therefore has to be considered on an individual basis.

The authors call for women to be provided with more information to make informed decisions about the potential risks and benefits of HRT overall, and by the specific type: combined or estrogen-only.

Read more: PubMed Health – Combined HRT breast cancer risk ‘may have been underestimated’

What should you do?

Dr Verma recommends:

Navigating through the world of hormone decline and deciding whether to take HRT is a complex one. If you are considering HRT, please go through the following checklist to ensure your safety:

Only trust the judgement of a doctor who is well versed in the pros and cons of both synthetic and bio-identical hormones

If you choose to take hormones, you should test your levels with a 24 hour urine sample at least once per year, or as indicated by your physician

Do not use oral estrogens – they are strongly linked to blood clots

Do not take anything labelled as a progestogen – this is a synthetic version of progesterone, which bears very little similarity

Use the lowest dose possible to achieve your desirable effect

Ensure you are engaging in appropriate screening for breast and bone health, which your doctor can arrange

Dr. Rishi Verma – read more on his blog.

Are there natural ways to rebalance your hormones

Exercise. I recommend 4-5 days a week. Exercise releases endorphins, our feel-good hormones in the brain.

Soy products, have been shown to help improve hot flashes. Examples are: tofu, edamame, miso, soy milk, soy nuts and tempeh

A healthy diet, high in fruits and veggies. Diet can help impact your mood swings.

Herbal remedies that act like our own hormones. If you do decide to take HRT, ask if you can take an estrogen-only, low-dose formula and try to take it for the shortest time possible. You also may want to ask about vaginal or transdermal HRT.

Decrease your stress with yoga, meditation or deep breathing.

Bottom line

If you do decide to take HRT, ask if you can take an estrogen-only, low-dose formula and try to take it for the shortest time possible. You also may want to ask about vaginal or transdermal HRT.

It’s important to work closely with your physician or other specialist in menopausal health to decide what’s right for you and then monitor on a regular basis.

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Top 10 Tips to Burn Menopausal Belly Fat

Top 10 Tips to Burn Menopausal Belly Fat

Top 10 Tips to Burn Menopausal Belly Fat

Weight gain as we hit menopause seems to be an inevitable part of life. This is due to a number of reasons:

  • Hormones. It’s our bodies way of adapting to our new hormone changes.
  • As we age we become more insulin resistant due to poor food choices through the years. Insulin controls our blood sugar levels and is driven by the foods that we eat. A diet high in breads, pastas, high-sugar coffee drinks, packaged foods and sugar exposes us to higher blood glucose levels, thereby creating an insulin sensitivity and resistance that will cause our bodies to convert the majority of the calories that we eat as fat.
  • We start lose lean muscle tissue, which in turn slows down our metabolism. This lose starts in our early 30’s and starts to pick up steam in our late 40’s, early 50’s. Instead of using more calories to keep our lean muscle tissue warm, our bodies use less because it takes less energy to keep fat warm.
  • Lack of sleep. When we don’t get a good night’s rest our two hormones leptin and gherlin become out-of-balance. Leptin, the hormone involved in regulating our appetite and telling our brain when we are full, becomes elevated with lack of sleep and gherlin, the hormone responsible for telling our brain when to eat, becomes elevated. When we don’t get enough sleep, we end up with too little leptin in our body, which makes our brain think that we don’t have enough energy for our needs. So our brain tells us that we’re hungry, even though we don’t actually need food at that time. It also takes steps to store the calories we eat as fat, so we’ll have enough energy the next time we need it.
  • Stress. With the increased demands in our lives, accompanied by years of yo-yo dieting, binge eating and even undiagnosed food sensitivities, our bodies are under constant stress. If we allow our stress to manifest on a daily basis, over time our adrenal glands (located on the top of each kidney and responsible for releasing a variety of hormones) will reach fatigue and our once efficient adrenals (helping us to us deal with positively to stress responses) will become out-of-balance and will begin storing calories, instead of burning them.

How does stress pack the pounds around the waistline

If your adrenal’s are out-of-balance a common symptom is extra fat around the waistline.

You see, in normal circumstances when we are under stress the brain will signal to the adrenal glands to produce and release cortisol.

It is cortisol’s job to mobilize our glucose, amino acids and fat to prevent our blood sugar levels from going too low. It is making sure that the control centre, our brain, will always have energy/food to keep it going.

After years (or sometimes only months for some women) of long term stress, the cortisol and insulin levels will remain high in the blood and the extra glucose gets stored as fat – and mostly in the abdomen and thighs.

In addition, the fat being stored in the abdomen is the body’s way of protecting the internal organs. Since the body is under constant stress it will work to protect the internal organs, as well as the brain.

How to lose the menopause belly fat

1/ Control your stress.

  • Try meditation, yoga or any mindfulness based activity. Be present and in the moment.
  • Try my favourite meditation app, Headspace
  • Deep belly breathing. Deep breathing can stimulate the vagus nerve, which can calm an overactive central nervous system.

Lie on your back with a book resting on your belly. Inhale deeply and feel the book rise under your belly. Exhale fully and feel the book lower toward the spine.

Repeat for 5-10 minutes daily to improve your vagus nerve function.

2/ Strength train.

  • Build your lean muscle mass with a properly designed strength training workout.
  • Aim for 3 times a week workouts, total body workouts.

3/ Eat regular meals and snacks everyday.

  • No more starving yourself, or yo-yo dieting. These will only damage your metabolism further.
  • You need to keep your blood sugar levels stable to prevent the cortisol from being released.
  • Eat foods lower in the glycemic index. All foods are listed, or indexed, according to their effect on your blood sugars.
    • Unlimited foods at a 55 or less rating (most veggies)
    • Limited foods at 56-69 rating (beets, yams, most fruits)
    • Eliminate foods indexed 70 or higher (donuts, energy bars, bread, potatoes)

4/ Eat more protein.

  • A higher protein diet (meats, beans, legumes) will help support your lean muscle tissue.
  • Protein also helps us feel fuller, quicker and for longer
  • Aim for a 20-30 grams of protein with each meal and 10-15 for your snacks

5/ Move more throughout the day.

  • Make a point of moving as much as you. This has a huge effect on your metabolism. Walk, do exercises while watching TV, be active as often as you can.
  • All this extra movement through the day is called NEAT, non-exercise activity theremogenesis. It is the energy the body uses that is not planned exercise, sleeping or eating. In active people it can account for as much as 50% of your daily calorie burn.

6/ Avoid sugar.

  • Nothing has a greater impact on your insulin levels than sugar.
  • Be wary of artificial sweeteners too. These have been shown to increase our tolerance for the taste of sweet. Meaning in the future it will take a higher dose to satisfy our sweet tooth.

7/ Avoid low calorie, low fat foods.

  • Quite often the food labels are manipulated in a such a way that it makes the food look like it’s low calorie. Read the serving sizes carefully.
  • Studies have also shown that we tend to eat 50-100% more of a food product when labelled low calorie
  • Low fat foods can have a detrimental affect on our brain. The brain is mainly made of fat and cholesterol, and a diet that skimps on healthy saturated fats robs the brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally. Eat foods such as grass-fed beef, organic dairy products (butter, cream, milk), and coconut oil.

8/ Eat at the right time of day.

  • Cortisol has a natural rhythm, which is highest in the morning, and decreases gradually as the day progresses, and is lowest at night so restful sleep can occur.
  • Eating tends to increase cortisol, so eating the largest meal earlier in the day is the best option for weight loss and maintenance.
  • In addition, our body’s ability to process carbohydrates decreases as the day goes on. We metabolize carbohydrates in the morning better and more efficiently compared to later at night in bed and the more efficiently our body can use the food we eat, the easier it is to lose weight.

9/ Get in 300 minutes.

Aim for 300 minutes of exercise, strength and cardio, a week.

10/ Drink water.

  • The body has no idea whether it is hungry, or thirsty. However, it only has one signal, and that’s the hunger signal. We could actually be dehydrated and masking itself as hunger. Aim for your half your body weight in fluid ounces in water or herbal tea everyday.
  • Keep a 1L re-fillable bottle by you at all times.
  • Start your day with a big glass of water.
  • Increased water is also important if you are increasing your protein for the first time. The water will help flush the kidneys.
  • Water also increases your energy and decreases fatigue.

 

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Are You Going Into Early Menopause?

Are You Going Into Early Menopause?

Are You Going Into Early Menopause?

We all know menopause is going to hit us.

But, when exactly will it hit us?

To fully understand when menopause may hit us we first need to understand the three stages of menopause.

The Three Stages of Menopause

Perimenopause or “menopause transition.” Perimenopause can begin 8 to 10 years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but can start in the 30s as well. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last 1-2 years of perimenopause, the drop in estrogen accelerates. At this stage, many women can experience menopause symptoms. Women are still having menstrual cycles during this time, and can still get pregnant.

Menopause. Menopause is the point when a woman no longer has menstrual periods. At this stage, the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and producing most of their estrogen. Menopause is diagnosed when a woman has gone without a period for 12 consecutive months.

Postmenopause. These are the years after menopause. During this stage, menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, can ease for most women. But, as a result of a lower level of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

Are You Going Into Early Menopause

Early menopause can be triggered by a number of factors:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Poverty (experts hypothesize that women in poverty have poorer eating habits)
  • Smoking (this can increase your risk of early menopause by 30%!)
  • Alcohol, although it is noted that yes alcohol may contribute to entering the phases of menopause at an earlier age, it is not necessarily deemed as “early menopause” – not sure what the difference is myself.
  • Medical treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation
  • Chromosomal abnormalities
  • Women who have had their ovaries surgically removed
  • Premature ovarian failure (POF)
  • An overload of heavy metals like lead, mercury and cadmium can also be a cause

When premature menopause is suspected, you can ask your doctor to order blood tests that look at the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol.  This work-up should also include the thyroid and the adrenal glands because they can be affected too.

Relief for the Symptoms of Early Menopause

According to WomentoWomen.com:

“Our estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels are constantly shifting throughout our life, and that’s normal. But as we age, the fluctuations and ratios between these hormones can become more extreme. When the body cannot regulate these shifts in hormone levels, women can experience common symptoms of menopause, including night sweats, hot flashes, food cravings, and fatigue.”

We can balance these symptoms naturally with:

  • A healthy, whole food diet
  • Herbal remedies such as black cohosh, passionflower, chasteberry, wild yam and ashwagandha have been shown to help support our hormone production
  • Lifestyle changes such as removing environmental toxins, getting enough sleep
  • Reducing chronic stress
  • Getting more exercise

Health Concerns for Early Menopause

Our hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone), are needed for the years leading up to menopause.

They offer protection against cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

If you have been found to be in early menopause chat with your doctor, or a naturopath who specializes in women’s health and get yourself on a health plan to protect your heart and your bone health.

Some things to look at are:

  • Vitamin D, to support your bones
  • Strength training, to help build new bone and strengthen the heart
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Studies have shown that women who go through menopause before the age of 46 are twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease or have a stroke
  • Don’t smoke – or quit
  • Take a high-quality omega 3, daily
  • HRT (hormone replacement therapy)

Local Naturopaths Who Specialize in Women’s Health

Dr. Karen McGee

Dr. Heli McPhie

Dr. Nishi Dhawan

 

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