Menopause is a completely natural and normal process and women’s bodies are designed to enter it at a certain point in their lives, so it shouldn’t be regarded as a health issue, although it can be accompanied with some rather unpleasant symptoms.
When estrogen production falls in menopause, the increased storage of fat very often ends in weight gain. Estrogen is produced heavily in the teen years and this is what activates ovaries and releases eggs into the fallopian tubes. This is a process that continues until the late 40s / early 50s then declines over time, to the point that ovary release stops and the female body shifts from reproductive phase to maintenance of health phase.
This is a time when women can become more susceptible to various hormonal changes which often result in increasing ability to store fat around the midsection.
Estrogen, however is not the only culprit for weight gain during menopause. Any imbalance of hormones can contribute to it, which is why we need to pay attention to the huge role played by insulin, cortisol, thyroid hormones and leptin.
This is a hormone that reduces circulation of blood sugar and if you want to ensure a balance of insulin, you should consume foods with low glycemic indexes and avoid those foods that are rich in carbs and have a high glycemic index. Foods like this trigger a spike in blood sugar levels and eventually lead to the development of insulin resistance, a condition in which the levels are high in the bloodstream and the cells are less sensitive.
This then causes weight gain because the blood sugar needs to be eliminated from the bloodstream and is sent into fat cells for storage.
Cortisol, the stress hormone, is released by the adrenal glands and it spikes blood sugar levels and supplies the body with the fuel it needs in order to perform its functions.
However, when there is chronic elevation of blood sugar levels, the body can develop cortisol resistance and adrenal fatigue, which means the body can’t keep up with the demands of using the fuel, which means they get stored as fat.
This hormone is produced by fat cells and sent to tell the hypothalamus that we are satiated. The levels of leptin are increased in response to higher levels of sugars such as fructose.
High blood sugar and fructose levels can, over a period of time, lead to leptin resistance in the cells of our hypothalamus and send us the message that we are not satiated although we are in fact already full. One of the common reasons for overeating is this hormonal imbalance and leptin resistance.
Thyroid hormones determine how much energy the body cells can produce. When thyroid levels are increased, cells burn more carbohydrates and fats in order to produce cellular energy, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), in the mitochondria.
When the functioning of the thyroid hormones changes, the body cannot produce energy and burn carbs and fats properly so they end up being stored in cells.
In order to maintain hormonal balance and optimize health while at the same time preventing weight gain in menopause, we recommend you follow the tips given below:
Green, lean and clean eating
For maintaining optimum health, you should eat a healthy diet, including certain foods which help to regulate levels of blood sugar and thus balance hormones.
Be sure to consume more greens, especially the dark green leafy kinds of veggies, but avoid those vegetables that are GMO, rich in inflammatory fats, or treated with pesticides, herbicides and chemicals.
You can consume the lean meats and organic foods which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids as well as various seeds and nuts.
Women who are aged over fifty years old generally lose muscle mass because of physical inactivity, and this can also cause osteoporosis. That’s why physical activity is so important and women in menopause should strive to, at the very least, walk for 20 to 30 minutes every day, a few times a week. It’s vital to stay active and keep your body in good shape.
Functional lab testing
You can get hormonal levels and cellular health tested through functional lab testing so as to deal with any existing issues promptly.