MOOD SCIENCE


A significant drop in oestrogen levels that accompanies perimenopause can lead to low mood, depression and anxiety. Declining oestrogen means we no longer produce a decent level of serotonin (our happy hormone).  This can be made worse when we eat sugary or processed foods, smoke, drink alcohol and caffeine or eat food that we have an intolerance too. Attention is diverted away from hormone production, as it focuses instead on managing blood sugar or detoxifying the liver.   Whilst foods don’t actually contain serotonin, you can promote your mood by eating foods that contain amino acid tryptophan, as serotonin is synthesised from this. Here are some happy foods to add to your shopping list: eggs, cheese, pineapple, kiwi, grapefruit (avoid if on tamoxifen and SSRI anti-depressants), banana, tomatoes, tofu, salmon, turkey and seeds (sesame, pumpkin and chia seeds)


MOOD HACK


Kick start your day with these delicious no-flour banana pancakes courtesy of @Midlife Kitchen. Place 2 ripe bananas in a bowl and mash with a fork. Whisk in 2 eggs and combine well. Stir in seeds mentioned above. Heat a non stick frying pan and spray with a little olive oil. Add small scoops of the mixture to the pan so they remain soft and easy to turn. Sprinkle with a dusting of cinnamon whilst cooking. Fry until golden (3 minutes of each side). Serve with grapefruit slices for an added boost of happiness and natural yoghurt


If you found this helpful and would like to learn more, sign up for our paid-for HALO online course, starting April 20th. Register interest to hello@overthebloodymoon.com

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CAFFEINE SCIENCE


I know you're going to hate this one but caffeine really is the devil once we hit perimenopause. Caffeine can be found not just in coffee but in tea, green tea, matcha powder, energy & fizzy drinks, chocolate and some cold & flu medicines & cough syrups. We all know it's a stimulant. It interferes with the body's natural energy balance, making us feel like we need to drink it to stay awake but in fact it is messing with our natural energy levels. The more we drink, the more we have to drink to feel awake and because it's addictive, we end up in a vicious cycle. Caffeine blocks adenosine, your body's natural sleep-inducing agent. As it stays in our system for up to 7 hours, it makes it harder for us to fall asleep and can make us wake more often in the night. Caffeine slightly raises the heart rate and narrows blood vessels and whilst we may enjoy that fluttery sensation in the morning, it raises cortisol levels (the stress hormone) to that of someone experiencing acute stress. Not great for anyone already feeling anxious about the pandemic. Caffeine has been scientifically proven to be a trigger for hot flushes, palpitations, headaches, itchy skin and insomnia, in perimenopause. Enough said?

CAFFEINE SUBSTITUTE HACK


So, it might be hard to go cold turkey on your morning coffee but replacing it with decaf means you are only intaking 3% of caffeine and often still get the same taste and placebo affect as drinking the real thing.  Once you've weaned yourself to this version, try 100% caffeine-free alternatives, such as chicory root or ramon seeds coffee which contain anti-oxidants, good for heart health. Replacing caffeine is made easier with hot water-based tonics. Try dropping in a cinnamon stick with a slice of orange and teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or adding in fresh ginger, lemon and manuka honey. It takes most people up to 9 days to wean themselves off caffeine without any withdrawal effects, so whilst you're home-based, you've got nothing to lose! Make a note in a journal over the course of a week to see the impact it has on your sleep and anxiety levels, as tracking progress helps new habits stick!


If you found this helpful and would like to learn more, sign up for our paid-for HALO online course, starting April 20th. Register interest to hello@overthebloodymoon.com

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MOVEMENT SCIENCE


There are so many evidence-based reasons why we should get moving in perimenopause, such as weight management, promoting mental health, and strengthening our bone and muscle mass (all covered over the coming weeks). Another reason is to exercise regularly is to help with joint and muscle pain - a symptom that 50% women report experiencing during their menopause transition. Falling levels of oestrogen reduce the amount of fluid the body holds which results in less lubrication to protect joint tissues and declining levels of flexibility of our ligaments and tendons. Women tend to experience joint pain mostly in the morning with aches, stiffness and burning sensations disappearing as the day wears on.  


MOVEMENT HACK


Pain can make the strongest of women emotional. Understanding the right kind of exercise can be crucial in maintaining pain, as well as mental and emotional resilience. Here are some tips you can try:


1. Think of your movement as food. The movement you give your body is just as important as the food you put in your mouth to fuel it. After exercising, how does your body and mind feel? 2. Work out what exercise makes you happy! If you are suffering joint and muscle pain, low impact exercises such as yoga, cycling, low impact aerobics and dance (and swimming after lock-down) are great ways to keep up your fitness. Always warm up first and avoid high impact exercise and heavy weights that can make joint pain worse.

3. Create a weekly movement menu bespoke to your needs. Mixing up your exercise is important not only for your physical health but your mental health too. A movement menu can be a lot of fun, as well as making sure you don't over-do it in a specific area which will see you loose energy, instead of maintain it

4. Pain can be debilitating but always keep moving. We now know just how detrimental stopping exercise altogether can be for our bodies. Instead think about a more gentle way to move that your body can handle until the pain diminishes

5. Be aware of your posture and how you move throughout the day not just when you are exercising. Good posture helps alleviate pressure off the joints. Don't forget to drink plenty of water or herbal teas throughout the day (8 glasses) as hydration helps replenish lost fluids and makes joints more nimble


Today's tip has been brought to you by @Abi Adams, an inspiring and experienced woman's movement coach who specialises in using various disciplines like yoga, martial arts and calisthenics to help women tune into their body's changing rhythm to get the most from their exercise - www.abiadams.co.uk

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