8 Ways to Support your Brain through Menopause

Brain health has been a hot topic over the last 20+ years, as more of the populations around the world grow older, dementia and Alzheimer cases also grow. I know personally my memory has been waning as I hit menopause and that is something that researchers are looking at now, but will that lead to memory issues as I get older? Menopause and the loss of estrogen has been found to be a major player in dementia – that may be why more women are diagnosed more than men?.

According to the Alzheimer society, our global population is seeing a drastic change in age, so it is important for us to try to understand aging and learn how we can support our body and our brain health. We recently had a conversation with the Alzheimer Society of Durham about MEMORY, which was great, and they provided some great tips to help support our brain health. ALL IN MEMBERS CAN SEE THE RECORDED VIDEO IN YOUR PORTAL!

I noticed my inability to sometimes quickly recall the name of simple objects in my late 40’s, but didn’t think too much about it because I had always been a little bad at remembering names and dates throughout my whole life. Now in my 50’s (at times) I experience “brain fog” and it has become a bit frustrating to not recall the name of a toothbrush or stapler right away, when I know it’s sitting right there on the back of my tongue ready to come out. What feels like minutes is actually only seconds, but that inability to remember quickly was disconcerting until I started to learn a little about my brain and what was going on.

8 ways to support your brain health through menopause

Here are some of my top ways to support your brain health, while supporting your whole body health too!

  1. FIBRE rich foods helps to keep things moving – Fibre (such as ground flax seeds, vegetables and fruit) help to slow down the breakdown of our carbs to ensure balanced blood sugar levels and it helps support elimination! Super important ladies as we get older.
  2. Eat regularly, your brain gets hungry – Our brain needs food for energy and when we get hungry there is a tendency to choose things that are not always that nutritious for us. Eating regularly helps to keep our blood sugars balanced and helps you to make better food choices.
  3. Essential Fatty acids are great! – Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to provide the nutrients needed by our brain and nervous system. Oily fish (wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring), nuts/seeds (walnut, hazelnuts, almond, flax, chia, sunflower, pumpkin) are great options to add daily.

    A Mediterranean Diet is perfect for this! – check out my ebook chocked full of recipes

  4. Colour Colour Colour, can’t have too much! –Having a colourful plate with fruit and vegetables (green, orange, yellow, red) will help provide nutrients that support our whole body, with valuable vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!

  5. Amino Acids within a balanced meal – Nuts, beans, whole grains, seeds, vegetables, fish, eggs all provide us with valuable amino acids which our body needs to create neurotransmitters used by our brain. They help us feel happy, relaxed and sleep well!

  6. Exposure to environmental toxins are not good for our brain – Try to avoid pollutants in your home – no artificial scents or air fresheners (try essential oils instead), avoid using conventional laundry/dish detergent, parabens and chemicals in your shampoo, soap, creams, toothpaste and makeup. (see www.ewg.org for more info)

  7. Avoid things that are bad for you – This is easy, we know the things that aren’t good for our body – smoking, pollution, too much caffeine/alcohol, dyes/artificial or processed foods, sedentary lifestyle and processed white sugar.

  8. STRESS management, you can do it! Even though this is last, to me it is the most important for most of us. Stress is becoming the new normal way of living, but research has shown too much of it can be detrimental to our health – meditate, exercise, deep breaths are always helpful.

PLEASE SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE IS EXPERIENCING MEMORY ISSUES OR LOSS.

Why do women have more cognitive issues as we age?

Having difficulties recalling things is often typical of menopause and it is our declining estrogen levels that can affect how our brain functions. Thank goodness, I thought it was just me! Now that’s not to say if you are having cognitive issues you should just chalk it up to the decline of your hormones and that’s that…if you are concerned about your ability to not only recall but make good decisions or recognize things please seek the help of your doctor.

Here’s the other part of our brain health as we age women…sleep disturbance can become a major player from perimenopause onwards and that will also have an influence in how we feel and recall in our day. If you just don’t sleep well you’re probably going to feel grumpy, unfocused, irritable or depressed. Again, we can blame the drop of our hormones for this disruption, but following good sleep habits is super important to help support not only our sleep but our brain health. Find out more about the connection between insomnia and menopause.

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About the Author
Cindy Willems

Cindy Willems

Cindy is the owner/creator or My Fit Over 50. She is a registered acupuncturist, certified Pilates instructor, holistic nutritionist and educator. She takes a holistic approach to achieving whole body health and she believes that it is important to keep challenging the body and mind safely and efficiently as we age. Cindy also has a busy clinic called Women's Health Centre in Toronto, Ontario.