It is widely anecdotally acknowledged that Asian cultures don’t have the same incidence of menopausal (literally a pause in menstrual or ovulating processes) symptoms and inconveniences. It is proposed that this has much to do with the abundance of phytoestrogens and isoflavones from soy and certain other seeds and vegetables in Asian diets. The same relative absence of symptoms can be found in segments of the Mayan culture who also share a plant rich diet and a more positive view of this phase of women's lives like their Asian counterparts. I have summarized the gist of a very informative article but if you’d like to explore this viewpoint more in depth I refer you to the online article “Menopause In Different Cultures” - by the Women’s Health Network.
If you are soy sensitive there are other dietary sources of estrogen such as flax seeds and meal. If you do decide to increase your soy or phytoestrogen consumption sometimes the jump can inhibit thyroid function so consider adding another popular Asian and British Isles ingredient: seaweed.
Strengthening Thyroid function can help regulate temperature swings common to menopause after the ovaries have receded in their peak reproductive activity and this master gland has to adjust to this change. Seaweed can help here as can well designed and assimilable calcium supplements that support the parathyroid and optimal bone density, another imperiled factor due to minor or more pronounced disruptions in the hormones and their cofactors such as vitamin D. Sources of iodine and micronutrients (is trace minerals) can also help counteract the hair loss that often accompanies menopause. Such nutrients are needed because they often borrow from each other in biochemical processes where hormones and other essential substances are synthesized or converted for use body-wide, significantly by the endocrine and nervous systems.
Love your Liver by avoiding fried, over processed and saturated fats that toxify and overwork the liver, and that in turn interfere with proper hormone production and regulation via the liver. Maintaining liver health benefits digestion overall, reducing bloating and gastric discomfort. Liver cleansers and support like Gaia’s Liver Cleanse which contains legendary herbal detoxifiers like dandelion and yellow dock, and Gaia’s Liver Health containing milk thistle and Schisandra can reestablish optimal liver conditions and its related hormone balancing roles. Choline supplements such as lecithin or food sources such as egg yolk, beans and lentils as well as probiotics can also assist liver function.
There are also many targeted supplements that support hormone production, function and regulation:
Solgar’s Menopause Relief contains saffron and Siberian rhubarb for improved disposition.
Red clover and other phytoestrogen sources such as black cohosh, soy extract can help compensate for the reduction of reproductive hormones that can age skin and other tissues, loss of energy and mental sharpness. All of these herbs can be found in Nature’s Way Estrosoy, as well as source naturals Hot Flash supplement which includes the aforementioned herbs with dong quai (a female rejuvenate and reproductive tonic like ginseng).
New Chapter’s Estrotone includes evening primrose for encouraging mood stability, black cohosh and chaste tree as phytoestrogen sources, ginger and rosemary as anti-inflammatories, and Schisandra that helps the liver orchestrate and distribute hormones among other key detoxifying functions, addressing night sweats and hot flashes.
Nature’s Way Dim-Plus containing Diindolylmethane and vegetable sources such as broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables helps regulate estrogen to “increase[es] [sic] the level of “favorable” estrogen while reducing the level of “less favorable” estrogens” according to its label.
Also, homeopathics like Lachesis, aconite, and pulsatilla can alleviate the respective symptoms of hot flashes, anxiety, and mood swings.
Traditional Medicinal’s sage, moringa, spearmint tea is a pleasant tasting and accessible way of consuming moringa to support rejuvenation, sage to cool hot flashes and spearmint to support mental clarity.
Exercise helps the body work more efficiently in all its processes and can reduce water weight gain and storage of competing hormones from the environment such as xenoestrogens from plastics, fossil fuels, fertilizers and pesticides in adipose or fat tissue.
Controlling blood sugar with diet, exercise and chromium and bitter melon-based supplements benefit the pancreas which helps influence how we either use fat for energy or default to storing it; which can in turn invite hormonal imbalances.
Mindful exercises such as yoga and tai chi as well as meditation practices can stabilize mood, manage stress and expand control over brain waves that promote more positive states of mind. This can in turn beneficially influence the body’s response to stress, modulating cortisol (a stress related hormone that in excess promotes weight gain, disturbs sleep, and contributes to aging) and thereby encourages a less erratic or severe hormone response.
Aromatherapy, the smell organ being a portal to the brain and nervous system, can be employed to sooth and uplift diffusing helichrysum, holy basil, lavender, lemon, rose, sage, angelica essential oils individually or in combination can be diffused day or night to reduce discomfort from night sweats or fitful sleep as well as irritability.
CBD and other phytocannabinoids like magnolia, echinacea angustifolia, hops, clove and white peony can allay irritability, anxiety and bodily tension, reinforcing one’s comfort level by augmenting the body’s endocannabinoid system.
A combination of these strategies can help you achieve that sweet spot in your quality of life in what can be the sweet spot of a woman's life span.