Menopause is the start of an extraordinarily fulfilling time in your life. Unfortunately, this truth can be tough to see through all the hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats! Not to mention the changes in your appetite—in both the bedroom and the dining room.
I know firsthand that none of the symptoms of menopause are fun. But they are manageable. Whether you’re just beginning to notice cycle irregularity or you’re in the midst of menopause, there’s no need to suffer.
Here are 7 simple ways you can relieve common menopause symptoms, maintain your hormonal balance, and slow down aging to truly appreciate this transformative time in your life:
1. Quit Smoking and Limit Alcohol
You already know this one, but it bears repeating over and over! The toxins and nicotine in cigarettes have no place in a healthy lifestyle, and they’re especially harmful during menopause.
For one, smoking can make you enter menopause earlier than you otherwise would.1 Researchers don’t know exactly why this happens, but theorize that the hormonal disruption smoking causes, as well as oxidative stress that accelerates aging, could play a role.
Plus, you’re already losing bone strength and density as you hit your 40s and beyond. Smoking exacerbates this, in part by disrupting hormones like estrogen that are crucial for bone density, as well as impairing your absorption of minerals like calcium, which you need to maintain healthy bones. Along with not being able to build and keep strength, you’ll be left more vulnerable to conditions like osteoporosis.2
If you’ve hit your 40s or beyond, it’s time to start taking Complete Bone Support every day to keep your bones strong and healthy as their density can start to decrease. Even as I work hard at the gym and make smart diet choices that support my bone health, I take this every day to ensure I get the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients necessary to keep my foundation strong as I age.*
As for alcohol, like many people, I enjoy a glass of organic, additive-free red wine once in a while. But it’s still a great idea to be mindful about your consumption. (I recently tried 28 days without booze and loved the benefits!)
When it comes to menopause, more research is still needed, but some studies have shown links between alcohol intake and some types of breast cancer. Studies suggest that by increasing alcohol consumption by 10 grams per day (slightly less than a standard drink), risk of breast cancer increased 9% among postmenopausal women. Researchers aren’t sure exactly the mechanism behind this, but posit that alcohol’s impact on the gut, oxidative stress, and hormonal disruptions could be at work. 3
Plenty of factors (many beyond our control) are at play when it comes to developing different types of cancer, including your genetic makeup, pregnancy history, and environmental factors like pollution or exposure to radiation. Still, researchers have suggested that people should be more aware of the dangers associated with frequent drinking.
2. Get Daily Exercise
I know from experience the impact menopause can have on your mood. The drastic hormonal shifts your body experiences create a vicious cycle—imbalances can make you depressed, angry, or unfocused, or give you hot flashes that make it difficult to sleep. And what happens when you don’t sleep? The crankiness or brain fog sets in even deeper.
There is one proven remedy: exercise. Daily movement has been shown to relieve anxiety4 and depressive symptoms.5 Plus, routines like weightlifting or HIIT workouts can help combat the bone and muscle strength you’re losing during menopause, putting the “power” in “aging powerfully.”
The best time to exercise is whenever you’re going to actually do it. But the next best time? In the morning.5 Turns out, your fat cells are just as clued into your circadian rhythm as the rest of your body. Researchers recently found that a morning sweat session is best for burning fat and making energy.
Jumpstart your day with movement—your mood and the scale will thank you.
You can’t get the benefits of daily exercise if you’re not eating enough protein. Try my FREE 7-Day Eat Protein First Challenge to see for yourself just how eating protein first at every meal helps to build muscle, burn fat, keep you energized, and help you finally see real results from your exercise efforts.*
3. Eat Protein First, and Fight Menopause With Other Smart Diet Decisions
When it comes to diet, I always stress the importance of eating protein first at every meal. But it's especially important when it comes to menopausal age, when women start needing more protein to counteract the loss of bone strength and density that comes in your golden years.
Eating clean, lean protein first at every meal will also help fill you up, since protein is the most satiating nutrient. And when you're comfortably satisfied, you won't find yourself reaching for food you don't need or making unwise nutrition choices throughout your day.
Not sure how much protein you need every day? I've designed an easy calculator that will help you figure it out.
Along with getting enough protein every day, there are other diet measures you can take to mitigate the negative side effects of menopause, like hot flashes.
Some foods contain phytoestrogens—plant-based compounds that are similar to human sex hormones. Research shows that eating phytoestrogens is a remarkably good way to get rid of hot flashes during menopause. Scientists think this is because phytoestrogens can bind to your body’s estrogen receptors to mimic the effects of estrogen on your body, counteracting the hormonal disruption that can lead to hot flashes.6
Some phytoestrogen-rich foods include flaxseed, apples, celery, and parsley.
I use flaxseed in my Hot-Flash-Halting Protein Shake, and there are some great inflammation-fighters in there as well that can help keep frustrating symptoms at bay. You'll also want to give a listen to my podcast episode with Dr. Alan Christianson on the topic. He’s got tons of suggestions for curing hormonal imbalances with accessible ingredients. His number one cure for hot flashes? Figs!
4. Opt for Heathy Fats
Don’t fear fat, just get smart about it.
Choose foods high in omega-3 essential fatty acids and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) like flax and chia seeds, full-fat coconut milk, fatty fish like salmon or sardines, and walnuts.
The benefits are myriad. First, omega-3s and MCTs are going to fight inflammation, which is linked to conditions including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and fibromyalgia, and could also be contributing to the joint pain you may have felt increase as you hit menopause age.7
They’re also excellent for brain health, helping to improve learning, memory, cognitive well-being, and brain blood flow—all critical as you grow older.8
If you’re eating the Standard American Diet, you’re likely not getting enough omega-3s (especially if you’re on a plant-based diet). Get your daily dose of brain-nourishing EPA and DHA with Omega Plus, providing a hearty 1,000 mg of omega-3 fats per soft gel.*
5. Make Sleep a Priority
Consistent, quality rest is a crucial element of overall health throughout your life, and unfortunately, menopause can disrupt your sleep in a few different ways. For one, those hot flashes or mood changes might be making it difficult to fall and stay peacefully asleep.
Additionally, your sleep hormone melatonin can be affected by menopause, since its production and secretion are partially controlled by progesterone and estrogen, which decline with menopause. Postmenopausal women have been found to have less melatonin than perimenopausal women.9 Decreased levels of it could lead to restless, wakeful nights.
This is the last thing you need as you try to mitigate the negative effects of menopause. A good night’s sleep gives your body time to recharge, allowing it to regulate10 and detoxify your hormones.11 Without proper rest, your hormones can become even more out of whack, potentially worsening your symptoms and perpetuating a cycle of fatigue, crankiness, and weight gain.
You know the basics of good sleep: close up the kitchen three hours before bedtime, keep your phone out of the bedroom, and do something that calms you like restorative yoga or reading a good book before you conk out. Start by committing to just one of those things tonight, and see how much better you feel in the morning!
When good rest remains elusive, it’s time to turn to Sleep Candy™. The non-habit-forming supplement relaxes you just enough to fall easily to sleep but still wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your day. It’s the balance that your body and your hormones deserve.*
6. Eat Your Veggies
Here’s another one that will benefit your whole life. If you’re not already getting in your daily dose of veggies (I recommend a minimum of 5 servings per day), menopause is absolutely the time to start. Vegetables high in antioxidants like broccoli, spinach, and carrots protect your body from free radicals that lead to accelerated aging, as well as stave off inflammation and weight gain.12
Plus, vegetables have tons of fiber. This is crucial, since fiber helps support estrogen detoxification, the process by which your body eliminates excess hormones and works to maintain a proper hormonal balance. Even as estrogen decreases with menopause, your levels of it can still be high compared to your other hormones (known as estrogen dominance), which can lead to the imbalances that cause both menopausal symptoms and put you at a higher risk for conditions like fibroids.
Researchers found that a diet rich in leafy greens helped make menopause less of a disruption to women’s lives, especially when compared to women who had a diet high in processed snacks.13
7. Stay In Tune With Your Body
Menopause looks a little different for everyone. I recommend tracking what’s going on in your everyday life—what you eat and when you eat it, what kind of exercise you do, and how you feel overall, like if you had a hot flash or trouble sleeping. (And don’t forget to note when you have a great day, too!)
Looking at this info will help you spot patterns that make sense of your symptom triggers and recreate the days where you feel your best. I recently started using the tracking app Cronometer to track my daily macros, including exactly what I eat and my workouts. Even after years on my own vigilant health and fitness journey, I was shocked at how much I learned about my body after just a few weeks of tracking!**
I also recommend getting lab work done so you can get as personal as possible when you treat your hormonal imbalances. My friends at YourLabwork make it too easy. All you have to do is order the specific tests you want, and go in for a local blood draw at one of the thousands of participating locations.
If you’re in your 40s or beyond, I recommend looking into your sex, stress, and thyroid hormones, all of which can shift as your body enters menopause. A clear picture of these hormone levels will help you get a bigger view of your health than is usually possible with a visit to a regular doctor, allowing you to unlock more ways to give your body the personalized care it deserves.
In 48 hours, you’ll get a personalized report with your results. You’ll be able to better understand how to manage your specific symptoms and learn more about the supplements that can help you feel like yourself.**
Managing Menopause Through Targeted Supplements
Menopause is a giant change to your body, but it doesn’t have to be an overly disruptive one. Part of aging powerfully is taking the reins of your own health, making smart lifestyle choices, and seeing firsthand the positive impact those can have on your well-being.
A few of my favorite supplements for tackling menopause symptoms are:
Di-Indolyl Methane, or DIM
DIM supports hormone balance by helping your liver effectively detoxify excess estrogen. Plus, it promotes the production of beneficial estrogen metabolites while discouraging harmful ones.14 Like I mentioned above, that detoxification helps maintain a hormonal balance that can stave off symptoms of menopause.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant found in just about every single cell in the body, and it supports the health and regeneration of mitochondria (which are tiny “energy factories” inside your cells). This can help restore that vibrant, youthful energy you want to take with you into your later years.
CoQ10 is also critical for heart and liver health, and it promotes optimal metabolic function for better fat-burning ability.15 This is especially helpful when you’re navigating the menopausal wild west and weight gain may be an obstacle on your path to the other side.
As an antioxidant, CoQ10 also prevents DNA damage that can lead to symptoms of aging and menopause, and it builds proteins to be used more efficiently throughout the body.16
Talk about a multi-tasker that can benefit anyone! Annatto is the richest source of tocotrienols, which belong in the vitamin E family. Annatto helps support healthy aging, cellular energy generation, and maintains muscle and bone mass during the aging process.17 It’s also a good protector against age-related cardiovascular difficulties,18 as well as helping you battle inflammation.19
The annatto plant also contains a compound called geranylgeraniol (GG), which enhances its overall benefits. GG declines naturally as you age, so you’ll want to supplement accordingly for internal CoQ10 production, endogenous CoQ10 absorption, calcium delivery to your bones, and overall hormone balance.20
These were the big supplements that helped me through my menopause journey. That’s why I combined them into one, easy-to-take packet in my Menopause Support kit. The powerhouse combo helps improve estrogen balance and inflammation, keeping frustrating symptoms at bay. Not only will the supplements keep your heart, hormones, and waistline happy, each on-the-go packet is a reminder that this isn’t the time of your life to slow down—it’s the time to show everyone how fantastic aging powerfully can look and feel.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern.
**I couldn’t make it without supportive relationships, and I bet you feel the same! That’s why my team and I offer you products and services we believe in. If you happen to purchase something I recommend here, I may receive some kind of compensation. However, I only bring you partners whose content and core values will serve you with the same commitment to excellence my team and I strive for every day. Please be in touch with any concerns.
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- Freudenheim J. L. (2020). Alcohol's Effects on Breast Cancer in Women. Alcohol research : current reviews, 40(2), 11. https://doi.org/10.35946/arcr.v40.2.11
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- Chen, M. N., Lin, C. C., & Liu, C. F. (2015). Efficacy of phytoestrogens for menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Climacteric : the journal of the International Menopause Society, 18(2), 260–269. https://doi.org/10.3109/13697137.2014.966241
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- Toffol, E., Kalleinen, N., Haukka, J., Vakkuri, O., Partonen, T., & Polo-Kantola, P. (2014). Melatonin in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women: associations with mood, sleep, climacteric symptoms, and quality of life. Menopause (New York, N.Y.), 21(5), 493–500. https://doi.org/10.1097/GME.0b013e3182a6c8f3
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- Safabakhsh, M., Siassi, F., Koohdani, F., Qorbani, M., Khosravi, S., Abshirini, M., Aslani, Z., Khajehnasiri, F., & Sotoudeh, G. (2020). Higher intakes of fruits and vegetables are related to fewer menopausal symptoms: a cross-sectional study. Menopause (New York, N.Y.), 27(5), 593–604. https://doi.org/10.1097/GME.0000000000001511
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