What is menopause?

Menopause – a nature designed little tap, saying: “Your childbearing years are over. Time to move on now.”

Occurring before or after 50 years of age, menopause signals the total halt of menstrual periods and the production of estrogen and progesterone.


Menopause could also be surgically induced, for example if you have your ovaries removed.

Its arrival is trumpeted by the following symptoms:

• Hot flashes
• Natural menstrual irregularities
• Depression
• Mood swings
• Other symptoms you wouldn’t even want to imagine

Good nutrition and small lifestyle changes can help to maintain a healthy menopause.

Exercising and eating right can make a real difference to how you feel – and can help to maintain health during and after the menopause.

How do you know if you’re in menopause?

You can determine whether or not your symptoms are due to menopause by completing a simple blood test to check your hormone level – a FSH test.

The “normal” values vary among labs and methods used, but typically the “normal” range of FSH is considered to be between 5 to 20 IU/L, with levels above that indicating that you’re moving into menopause.

Allow me to stress this:


A conventional approach of hormone replacement therapy could easily be traded for effective, heart-healthy and natural menopause relief.

Let’s make ‘how to survive menopause’ food strategies.

1. Balance hormones

Taking phytoestrogens or plant-estrogens before menopause can moderate day-to-day estrogen levels, so that when menopause comes, the drop won’t be so dramatic [1,2].

Based on their chemical structure, phytohormones can be classified as isoflavonoids, flavonoids, anthraquinones, triterpenes, lignans and saponins.

how to survive menopause_2Where are they found?

Phytoestrogens are found in licorice, alfalfa, flaxseeds and phytoestrogens such as soy. Isoflavones are found in soya beans, tofu, soya milk, soya flour and other soya based products.

Essential fatty acid like Gamma Linolenic Acid (G.L.A) is the precursor for the production of the protective and calming prostaglandin PGE1 which helps regulate hormonal balance and support menopausal health. GLA is found in evening primrose oil, blackcurrant seed oil, borage oil and hemp seed oil [3].

Foods that boost progesterone levels

In terms of progesterone, yams, soy, whole grains, walnuts, red meat, poultry, shellfish and herbs and spices like thyme, turmeric and oregano all boost your progesterone levels.

Some herbs seem to have an effect on hormone levels

– Black cohosh and chasteberry are herbal remedies that have claims of regulating hormones.

– Herbs such as saw palmetto, dong quai, hops and motherwort leaf are all thought to raise your estrogen levels.

– Sage extracts are well known and widely used for their ability to help relieve the symptoms of menopausal sweats and hot flushes [4].

– Royal Maca also seems to be an amazing adaptogenic herbal solution for menopause that has helped many women [5]. Maca was acting as a toner of hormonal processes by acting as a toner of hormonal processes.

Speak to your doctor before using any of these herbs, especially because raising levels of one hormone may decrease the other.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below or on Facebook and Twitter. If you need help or support, I will be more than happy to have a chat with you – click on my Expert Page and ask me a question.

Dr. Vilma continues to explore food strategies to survive menopause in Part 2 of ‘Eat to Beat Menopause’ tomorrow.

Connect with Expert Dr. Vilma Brunhuber.  

[1] Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jan-Jun; 5(9): 41–47
[2] NPS Medicinewise, 2014
[3] Dr Andrew Weil
[4] A. Vogel
[5] Int J Biomed Sci. 2005 Jun; 1(1): 33–45

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