Depression, mood swings, bloating and weight gain, the all-too-familiar symptoms that many women experience during their monthly cycle and/or during menopause. All of these can be exacerbated by lifestyle and diet. The good news is that we can take direct action to offset these symptoms naturally.
The easiest change is adopting a whole food detox diet that can give the body a chance to rest. This also helps the body’s detoxification systems work more efficiently. When we allow this space, some of the most annoying symptoms of menopause and PMS fade into distant memories. Detoxing also helps to reset the appetite so food choices become much more intentional.
If a woman’s diet is filled with processed carbohydrates and sugar, she can experience not only estrogen and progesterone imbalances, but also disrupted insulin balance, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, and, quite possibly, a deficiency of essential fatty acids necessary to stay healthy and manufacture hormones (Gittleman, 2010).
This is a more pronounced problem during menopause, or peri-menopause, when a woman will not ovulate for many successive months. Her ovaries may secrete estrogen erratically, translating into surges of estrogen, followed by unusually low levels. When estrogen surges, a woman may experience water retention, weight gain, breast swelling and tenderness, sleep disturbance, and mood swings (Gittleman, 2010).
Many women believe that their metabolism slows during menopause. Metabolism is the process of digesting, or breaking down that which we take in (food, medication, beverages or toxins), and turning it into energy or other substances the body needs, then eliminating waste the body does not need. The truth is, our diets can make this entire process function less efficiently.
Detoxing really supports the body’s processes of eliminating waste; and our liver is the organ that does most of this work. It converts toxins that enter the body through the mouth, air or skin into water-soluble substances the body can easily get rid of. The liver also has the important job of eliminating excess hormones the body cannot use.
When the liver performs it job optimally, toxins and excess hormones can be efficiently broken down and eliminated. If the liver is not working properly, toxins will build up and cause inflammation. Toxins end up being re-circulated and eventually stored in fatty tissues. Once stored, those toxins are constantly released and trigger many symptoms commonly seen in menopause.
Your body is detoxifying every minute of the day. In fact, your body uses 80% of the energy it produces in order to detoxify. The constant detoxification is why we need to keep the body’s detoxification channels (liver, kidneys, skin) consistently open and working optimally. The most essential thing we can do to support our bodies in this important function is to modify our diet and lifestyle. We must choose foods and behaviors that support our bodies in this essential function.
Detox programs are everywhere, and some are rather drastic — asking participants to eat or drink just one juice for a total of 10-20 days. While these short term programs may feel like an easy fix, they rarely lead a person to make meaningful changes that significantly support long-term optimal health. The purpose of a detox is to help the individual give up some habits that challenge healthy metabolism and elimination. A good detox will support the digestive tract and the liver so that they can each work more efficiently, and improve the body’s natural processes of metabolism and elimination for over all health.
Contact me to learn more about healthy ways to detox!
I run occasional 7 day detox programs at: www.CenterPointHealing.com
For more information on detoxing and menopause, see the following resources:
Gittleman, L. (2010). Before the change: Taking charge of your premenopause. Kindle Locations 510-512. HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Haas, E. (2006). Staying healthy with nutrition. Berkley, CA: Celestial Arts.
Haas, E., (2012). The detox diet: The how-to and when-to guide for clearing your body of toxic substances (3rd ed.). New York: Random House, Inc.
Jardim, N. (2013). Hormone balance & your liver function. Retrieved on 4/26/2016 at: http://nicolejardim.com/hormone-balance-your-liver-function/