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What You Need to Know in Your 40s to Have a Healthy Menopause -- Without Hormone Replacement Therapy
Date:5/22/2009

BOULDER, Colo., May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- A woman may share genetics with her mother, but she's not necessarily destined to have the same unpleasant menopause filled with hot flashes, insomnia, and mood swings. The June issue of Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living magazine outlines simple steps women can take during their 40s to lessen the side effects of "the change"--without resorting to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which increases risk of breast cancer, strokes, and heart disease.

The "Embracing Menopause" issue helps women redefine this rite of passage as an opportunity for self-discovery and renewal. The key to a positive transition: Eat well, exercise regularly, and practice de-stressing in your 40s so you won't be depleted as you move into perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause, when hormones, especially estrogen, fluctuate wildly.

"You're doing yourself a big favor if you're healthy going into menopause," says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, professor of ob-gyn at Yale University. "That isn't to say you're not going to have challenges. But I tell my patients it's best to hit the ground running."

A healthy diet and lifestyle--along with some non-drug alternatives--can reduce menopausal symptoms:

1. Strengthen bones. Dropping estrogen levels means weaker bones. Take calcium supplements and do weight-bearing exercises.

2. Eat more soy. Tofu, soy milk, soy beans and tempeh contain estrogen-mimicking isoflavones. (If you're at risk for breast cancer, eat lentils or chickpeas instead.)

3. Take herbs. Plant-based phytoestrogens--found in black cohosh, red clover, dong quai and chasteberry (vitex)--curb hot flashes and other menopausal complaints.

Surprisingly, women aren't the only ones with hormone swings. Another June Natural Solutions article on male menopause offers alternat
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SOURCE Natural Solutions Magazine
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