Menopause; how to make it a postive experience.

Menopause is a phase of life in every woman when menstruation stopped naturally, however for some women this process is a time for anxiety and depression. Menopause usually occur at the ages of 45-55 years However, the average age for menopause in the UK is 51 years.

Physiology of Menopause;

Estrogen is a female sex hormone produced by ovaries. This hormone is responsible for secondary sexual characteristics in female ;like breast enlargement, broadening of the pelvis. However, estrogen receptors are also located in brain, skin, blood vessels and bones.

  • Estrogen is instrumented with VitaminD, calcium and other hormones to effectively breakdown and rebuild bone.
  • Estrogen has antiaging effects as it promotes collegen formation which is essential for skin elasticity.
  • Estrogen plays an important role in blood clotting. It also, relax, smooth and dilates blood vessels so blood flow increases.

Symptoms of Menopause;

As there is shift of hormones like estrogen and progesteron ,women may experience different symptoms like hot flushes,weight gain and psychologicl issues. Estrogen production gradually decreases so these symptomst appears slowly .

  • Hot flushes;most common symptom, around 75% women reported hot flushes .it is warmth sensation over face and upper body along with sweating and increased heart rate.
  • Psychological problems like depression and anxiety are common during this phase of life. As estrogen has an important role in serotonin production, modifying the production and the effects of endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain. Estrogen also protects nerves from damage and possibly stimulating nerve growth.
  • Weight gain; Low levels of estrogen cause muscle wasting and fat deposition in postmenopausal women which may result in weight gain.
  • Bone loss /osteoporosis ;The bones of the female skeleton depend on oestrogen to maintain their strength and resistance. Low levels of estrogen increase bone turnover and this results in severe reduction of bone density. Postmenopausal women are more likely to get fractures as reported by some studies.
  • vaginal dryness; cessation of estrogen production buy ovaries may result in vaginal atrophy(thinning of walls) and dryness.

How to manage symptoms of Menopause naturally;

Menopause is a natural phenomena and there are healthful, natural ways to manage the change it can bring. Life style interventions like diet,physical activity, and good sleep can minimize the symptoms of Menopause.

Diet; Diet play an important role in overall health in every phase of life. similarly Menopause symptoms can be reduced or minimized by taking balanced healthy diet consist of varied food groups.

  • Fresh fruits and vegeatbles; Fruits and vegetables are the source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. several vegetables like spinch argula and kala are loaded with mineals like calcium, magnesium,Zinc, iodine and folate.
  • vitamin D rich food ; As bone become week and fragile which may increases chance of fracture in postmenopause women. Food rich in vitamin D like dairy products,low fat yogurts and salmon may hepful .
  • Eat your phytoestrogens ;These are plant derived chemicals, mimic the action of human oestrogen and may help in reducing severity of hot flushes, and mood swings in some women. Foods like soyabeans, lentils and chickpeas are a rich source of isoflavin( one of Phytoestrogen).
  • Low sodium die; Avoid added salt as sodium increases calcium loss via the kidney. snack food,canned food and meat has high sodium content. Try to incorporate grains, vegetables, fruits and beans in your diet as they are low in sodium.

Moove your foot Exercise is another important pillar of a healthy life. Regular daily activities like walking and aerobic exercise are helpful in maintaining healthy weight, boots mood and improve blood circulation.  A review of studies correlates the greatest likelihood to reduce symptoms of menopause with women who have the greatest physical fitness.

Diverse Hands Holding The Word Exercise

Sleep well ; During this phase, women experience insomina (lack of sleep) or disturb sleeping habits.To overcome this issue, follow a regular sleep including weekends, block out all light sources and sleep in a cool environment to promote healthy sleep habits.

Stop smoking; women who smoke might reach menopause earlier then who never smoke. Giving up smoking may reduce the risk of other complication like cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis.

”Menopause is definitely a time of choice and should really be about finding out what you really want. It is time to take charge and shape the remaining chapters of your life.”

Eating for two in Pregnancy; Myth or Fact:

Pregnancy is a time when women believe that they need an extra amount of food for themselves and growing fetus. According to a survey conducted by the National Charity Partnership (NCP),1 in 3 pregnant women still believes that they should consume 300 or more calories every day.           

But studies have shown that this myth has harmful effects on the mother as well as baby health. Eating too many calories means excess weight gain which can be detrimental for both mother and baby.

There are no official guidelines for weight gain during pregnancy in UK, but according to the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendation:

Pregnancy complication for overweight or obese women

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia or high blood pressure
  • Increased risk of Miscarriages
  • Cesarean section

Being overweight or obese causes a problem for baby:

  • Large for gestational age
  • Premature birth
  • Birth defects
  • Risk of type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and obesity later in life.

According to NICE guidance: A pregnant women normally need to have 2,000 calories per day, as energy intakes do not change in the first 6 months of pregnancy.  However, women should require 200 extra calories per day in their last trimester.  These extra 200 calories can be

Take home message; 

Moderation is key; Eat varied diet comprises of all food groups.

  • Fruits and vegetable should be taken in plenty as they are a good source of fibre and vitamin.
  • Choose healthy carbohydrates like whole- grain cereals, bread.
  • Proteins either in the form of meat, eggs or plant based like pulses.
  •  Eat two portions of fish as it is an excellent way to get omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Choose healthy snacks.
  • Avoid salt laden and sugary food.   

Moderate light exercise during pregnancy is also helpful for preventing excess weight gain.

‘‘Listen to your body, but only when you know its intentions are sound.’’

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

#Chronic#fatigue#syndrome CFS 
It is a medical condition of unknown cause affecting adults as well as children. 
#Symptoms
The main s
ymptom of CFS is extreme/constant fatigue, other symptoms are:
*lack of sleep(insomnia)
*Muscle or joint pain.
*Headaches.
*A sore throat or sore glands that aren’t swollen.
*Problems thinking, remembering or concentrating.
Flu-like symptoms,feeling dizzy or sick
*Fast or irregular heartbeats (heart palpitations.
*Symptoms of Irritable bowel Syndrome(IBS) like stomach pain altered bowel habits and bloating.
Does diet play any role in CFS treatment ???
Diet alone isn’t the cause, or cure, of CFS
poorly-balanced diet, can compromise your health. *Try to include low GI (Glycaemic Index) foods, such as oats and wholegrains, which slowly release energy, helping to keep your energy levels stable.
*Fruits and vegetables
*Dairy and alternative *Proteins like Beans, Pulses, fish and lean meat 


Keep hydrate urself 10-12 glasses of water or other forms of liquids but without added sugar can helps in keeping the body hydrated. 
There are some claims about the effectiveness of  #supplements  like Multivitamins, #Magnesium and #Omega3 fatty acids in CFS but any benefit of supplements in CFS is unproven and there is a need for further research in this area.

Premenstrual Syndrome and Diet.

#Premenstrual#syndrome (PMS) and #Diet
Premenstrual syndrome is complex disorder affecting women in their child bearing. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it’s a group of physical or mood changes that occur one to two weeks before menstruation. Symptoms usually stop once a woman’s period begins
👉Causes:
The exact cause of this syndrome is remains unclear however, certain #neurotransmitters like #serotonin and#GABA( gaba aminobutyric acid) may play an important role in the pathophysiology of this syndrome. Serotonin helps to regulate mood and behavior, while GABA tends to promote calmness and ease anxiety.Research suggests that women who suffer from PMS may have abnormal serotonin neurotransmission, leading to symptoms such as irritability, depressed mood, and food cravings. 
The role of progesterone is inconclusive as suggested by some studies.


👉 #Risk factors :*Obesity *Family history *environment, and diet may play an important in its onset.
👉 Symptoms: headache, breast tenderness mood swings, abdominal bloating and food cravings.
👉The food connection :
certain vitamins like #vitaminD vitaminB1 and B6 may improve symptoms. Studies revealed that 1000mg/ day of calcuim along with 10 micrograms of #VitaminD may reduces premenstrual pain and migraine.
👉Dairy products or other alternative sources, egg and fortified cereals are the best choices.
👉Vitamin B6 is a factor in the synthesis of the amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine, the precursors to serotonin and dopamine, respectively, both of which affect mood. 
The researchers found that higher intakes of dietary thiamine and riboflavin for approximately two to four years was associated with a significantly lower incidence of PMS.
Some minerals like #Iron#zinc and #Magnesiumalso associated with PSM.
Evidence suggests magnesium may be beneficial in reducing fluid retention associated with PMS.
👉Take home Message :
A blanced diet with plenty of calcium, vitamin D and vitaminB 
Do include whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables.
with moderate physical activity🏃‍♀️ If symptoms getting worse always consult your GP.

Eat Your Water


#Eat
#your#water
fruits and vegetable are helpful to keep our body well hydrated.Water in fruits and vegetables is surrounded by molecules that facilitate the entry of water into cells, which is why it is referred to as cellular water. Cellular water is absorbed slowly, providing you with lasting hydration

Folic Acid Fortification in the UK

#Folic#acid fortification in #UK
Government strats consultation to add #folicacid to flour in the UK to help prevent birth defects like #spinabifida
👉why folic acid is important 
This vitamin is essential for fetus brain development. It is recommended that women should take 400 micrograms of #Folic acid before conception and continue upto first 3 month as baby’s brain and spinal cord developed in first 12 weeks.
👉but it is reported that around 1,000 pregnancies are affected by Neural tube defects due to lower intake of folic acid and over 40% are fatal.

👉Despite voluntary fortification, data from the last 9 years shows folate intakes of women who could become pregnant have continued to decline and are particularly low in areas of deprivation. 
➡️This mandatory Fortification would also help the wider population meet recommended folate intake levels and could helpful to prevent around 200 birth defects a year.

About me…

My name is Shazia Faisal and I am a General practitioner and registered nutritionist. I believe in preventive medicine. Nutrition is an important pillar along with other components for a healthy life. Nutritional education as an appendage to conventional medicine has the power to close the gap in current medical treatment that’s why I equipped my self with MSc in Clinical Nutrition. My aim is to spread evidence-based awareness and knowledge about a healthy lifestyle. I want to motivate and inspire people by giving ideas about a balanced diet, stress management and physical activity as healthy eating is not about weight loss but its lifestyle.