For some, the M word brings up thoughts of felonious females flirting with fiery flashes of fitful frustration.
However, not every woman experiences menopause in the same way.
As I stated on an earlier post, some common symptoms of menopause are (this is a partial list):
- Hot/cold flashes
- Night sweats
- Dizziness/loss of balance
- Mood swings
- Hair loss/weakened fingernails/dry skin
- Depression/panic disorder
- Tingling in hands and feet
- Digestion problems
- Rapid heartbeat
- Aching joints
The changing levels of estrogen and progesterone can last a few months, or they can last a few years. Some women may experience all of these symptoms, some may not.
HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is another way, but more women are avoiding that avenue, since HRT has been shown to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer.
One way to manage symptoms is with nutrition and diet. For quite a while soy has been one of the dietary staples of menopausal women, especially those who wish to avoid HRT. It has been widely thought that soy isoflavones helped prevent menopausal bone loss, but according to JAMA, “Conclusions In this population, the daily administration of tablets containing 200 mg of soy isoflavones for 2 years did not prevent bone loss or menopausal symptoms.” (http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1106084)
I am seeing more often articles and stories debunking the benefits of soy.
“Many menopausal women turn to soy to stave off nasty effects, like decreased bone density and hot flashes, because estrogen therapy is associated with risks for breast cancer and heart attack. But now researchers are calling for alternatives because a new study showed soy might not even work.” (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20090000-10391704.html)
“The vast majority of soy at your local market is not a health food. The exception is fermented soy, which I’ll explain more about later and even worse GMO soy that is contaminated with large pesticide residues as the reason it is GMO is so they can spray the potent toxic herbicide Roundup on them to improve crop production by killing the weeds.
Unlike the Asian culture, where people eat small amounts of whole non-GMO soybean products, western food processors separate the soybean into two golden commodities—protein and oil. And there is nothing natural or safe about these products.
Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story, points out thousands of studies linking soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.” (Mercola.com)
Today, depending on which source you go by, 86-94% of soy planted and grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. That is reason enough to avoid soy altogether.
If soy were to be avoided, what would be an alternative? HEMP.
Hempseed is a natural anti-inflammatory. It also helps to balance and restore the cellular structures.
Hempseed is a natural source of GLA, and is one of the few plants that contains GLA. This is important, because during menopause the body’s ability to convert LA to GLA is lessened.
The Omega 3 fatty acids found in hemp are the perfect ratio for the human body, and it is especially important for women to have a sufficient intake of them.
Low levels of Omega 3s are associated with inflammation, and inflammation is the root cause of many disorders and diseases. Hemp can reduce the effects of muscular pain, hot flashes, headaches, cardiovascular problems, hair and skin dryness and nail strength.
Hemp has been shown to reduce the effects and decrease the instances of depression and memory loss. The brain is mainly comprised of fatty acids, and having enough Omega fatty acids will help improve memory and brain function.
Osteoporosis, another symptom of menopause, is helped by the intake of hemp and Omega fatty acids. The essential fatty acids in hemp help with absorption of the calcium and vitamin D and aid in bone growth and calcification, and reduce calcium excretion in the urine (calcium loss and excretion through the urine can also cause kidney stones).
Hemp seeds are also rich in vitamin E, which is also important for those suffering from menopause.
One last note:
Hemp protein vs other proteins:
The edestin protein in hemp is one of the most easily digestible proteins. It is very similar to human globulin.
Omega fatty acids help reduce bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and may lessen the possibility of stroke or heart attack.
Hemp does not contain phytoestrogens. Soy does. These hormones mimic estrogen and have been linked to cancer. Soy also contains natural toxins that hinder protein digestion.
There are no known allergies to hemp. Hemp is safe for anyone to consume, from toddler to octogenarians and beyond.
photo: Angry Woman by Vera Kratochvil