Revitalise Your Gallbladder

Revitalise Your Gallbladder

Embrace Bitter Foods for a Healthier Gallbladder

Today we are delving into the fascinating world of bitter foods and how they can help cleanse and support your gallbladder’s health. As a naturopathic practitioner, I’ve seen time and time again how bitter foods can make a positive impact on our overall wellbeing, particularly in the realm of digestion and hormonal health.

The Bitter Foods and the Gallbladder

The gallbladder plays an essential role in the digestive process, storing bile produced by the liver and releasing it into the small intestine to break down fats. Bitter foods, such as leafy greens, dandelion root, and artichokes, have been shown to promote the production of bile, which in turn supports the overall function of the gallbladder.

Including bitter foods in your diet can help prevent gallstone formation and improve the flow of bile. By stimulating the release of bile, bitter foods can help flush out excess cholesterol and other waste products that contribute to gallstone formation. For a more indepth look into the role of bitter herbs on our health check out by blog post on Bitter Food, Sweeter Life.

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Benefits of a Gallbladder and Liver Cleanse

Let’s go through some of the benefits we can expect from doing a gallbladder and liver cleanse.

Improved digestion

A cleanse can help eliminate toxins and improve bile flow, resulting in better digestion and nutrient absorption.

Reducing Inflammation

By detoxifying the liver and gallbladder, a cleanse can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, potentially easing symptoms of various inflammatory conditions.

Enhanced energy levels

Removing toxins from the liver and gallbladder can help improve overall energy levels and vitality.

Weight management

A cleanse may aid in weight loss by promoting a healthier metabolism and improving digestion.

Hormonal balance

A healthy liver and gallbladder are essential for proper hormone production and balance, which can lead to improved mood and overall well-being.

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Herbal Medicine for Optimal Gallbladder Health

In addition to these dietary measures to support the gallbladder, herbal medicines can play an important role in practice. Let’s run through a few of the herbal medicine I commonly use in clinic to support the gallbladder.

Bitter Herbs

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) – Milk thistle is a well-known liver tonic that also supports the gallbladder by promoting bile production and flow. Its active ingredient, silymarin, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can protect the liver and gallbladder from damage.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – Dandelion root is another bitter herb that helps stimulate bile production and aids in detoxification. It supports both the liver and gallbladder, making it a valuable addition to any gallbladder cleanse.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) – Turmeric, a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant herb, contains curcumin, which can help reduce inflammation in the gallbladder and promote bile flow.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) – Peppermint is known for its ability to relax the smooth muscles of the gallbladder, which can help prevent or reduce the severity of gallstone attacks. It also aids in digestion by stimulating bile production.

Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) – Artichoke is a natural source of cynarin, which helps increase bile production and flow. It can aid in breaking down fats and support overall liver and gallbladder function.

Boldo (Peumus boldus) – Boldo is a South American herb traditionally used to stimulate bile production and secretion, ease gallbladder discomfort, and improve digestion.

Before embarking on a gallbladder cleanse, it’s essential to be aware of potential risks and complications, particularly if you have existing gallstones. Gallstones can range in size from small particles to large stones, and attempting a cleanse without proper medical guidance may result in complications.

When gallstones are present, a gallbladder cleanse could cause the stones to move, potentially leading to blockages in the bile ducts. Blocked bile ducts can cause severe pain, inflammation, and infection, requiring immediate medical attention. In some cases, emergency surgery may be necessary to remove the gallstones or even the entire gallbladder.

Certain herbs or supplements used in a gallbladder cleanse may interact with medications or cause adverse reactions in individuals with specific health conditions. It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a naturopath or medical doctor, before starting any cleanse or herbal regimen to ensure it is safe and suitable for your individual health needs.

Personalised Meal Plans for your Gallbladder Cleanse

To support your journey towards a healthier gallbladder and liver, we offer personalised meal plans tailored to your individual needs. Whether you are looking for a plant-based cleanse or prefer to include animal-based products, our clinic provides customised meal plans to help you achieve optimal gallbladder health.

Our meal plans not only incorporate the powerful benefits of bitter foods but also provide guidance on other essential nutrients and lifestyle choices to enhance your cleanse. By following a personalised meal plan, you can experience the benefits of a gallbladder and liver cleanse while still enjoying delicious and satisfying meals.

Are you ready to take the first step towards improved gallbladder and liver health? Contact our clinic today to discuss our meal plan options for both a plant-based and a non-plant-based gallbladder cleanse. Let’s work together to create a personalized cleanse that not only supports your gallbladder and liver but also aligns with your dietary preferences and lifestyle.

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Menopause Makeover – 8 week program

Check out my blog post on Healthy recipes to support you in menopause.

If you’d like more information on how I can support you during menopause, I’d love to work with you.

Contact me

Bitter Food, Sweeter Life

Bitter Food, Sweeter Life

In today’s world of sweet, sour, savory, and salty flavours, the bitter taste is rarely seen on the plate in western cultures. However, recent discoveries suggest that incorporating bitter foods and herbs into our diet can significantly improve hormonal health and digestion, which would be very helpful during menopause. In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of bitter foods, their impact on our health, and how to incorporate them into our daily lives.

The Bitter Truth

Understanding the role of Bitter Taste Receptors traditionally, it was believed that bitters stimulated digestion by interacting with receptors on the tongue, which then sent signals to the brain and digestive organs. Recent research has identified around 30 bitter taste receptors (TAS2Rs) and has also discovered that these receptors are not restricted to the mouth but are also present in the gastrointestinal tract. This new understanding of bitter receptors changes our perception of how bitter herbs work and suggests that tasting them is not essential for their digestive benefits.

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Bitter Benefits

Understanding the role of Bitter Taste Receptors traditionally, it was believed that bitters stimulated digestion by interacting with receptors on the tongue, which then sent signals to the brain and digestive organs. Recent research has identified around 30 bitter taste receptors (TAS2Rs) and has also discovered that these receptors are not restricted to the mouth but are also present in the gastrointestinal tract. This new understanding of bitter receptors changes our perception of how bitter herbs work and suggests that tasting them is not essential for their digestive benefits.

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Bitter Greens

The addition of leafy bitterness to your diet by simply adding bitter leaves and vegetables into your meals can improve digestion and hormonal health. Examples of bitter leaves include dandelion greens, arugula or rocket, endive, and radicchio. Try adding these greens to your salads, sautéing them with garlic and olive oil, or blending them into a green smoothie.

Bitter Herbs

Incorporating bitter herbs into your daily routine can be as simple as enjoying a cup of digestive herbal tea. These teas often feature a blend of bitter herbs that work synergistically to improve digestion and overall health. Here are some popular herbal blends and formulas that you can try to experience the benefits of bitter herbs:

Traditional Digestive Tea Blend

Gentian root, Wormwood, Fennel seeds, Peppermint leaves, Chamomile flowers

This classic blend combines the digestive benefits of bitter herbs like gentian and wormwood with the soothing and calming properties of fennel, peppermint, and chamomile. The result is a tea that not only enhances digestion but also relaxes the gastrointestinal tract, reducing discomfort and bloating.

Scandinavian Bitter Tea Blend

Dandelion root, Burdock root, Licorice root, Calendula flowers, Orange peel

This Scandinavian-inspired blend offers a milder bitter taste with the addition of licorice root and orange peel. Dandelion and burdock roots provide gentle bitter properties, while calendula flowers offer anti-inflammatory benefits to help soothe the digestive system.

Liver Support Tea Blend

Milk thistle seeds, Artichoke leaves, Boldo leaves, Ginger root, Lemon balm

This liver-supportive blend features artichoke leaves and boldo leaves, both of which have bitter compounds that stimulate bile production and aid in detoxification. Milk thistle seeds provide further liver support, while ginger and lemon balm add flavor and digestive benefits to the mix.

Ayurvedic Digestive Tea Blend

Cumin seeds, Coriander seeds, Fennel seeds, Cardamom pods, Ginger root

Inspired by the ancient Indian system of Ayurveda, this warming blend incorporates aromatic spices with gentle bitter and digestive properties. Cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds all support digestion, while cardamom and ginger add a spicy kick and additional digestive benefits.

Bitter Greens Tea Blend

Nettle leaves, Dandelion leaves, Raspberry leaves, Peppermint leaves, Lemon verbena

For a green tea experience that provides a range of beneficial bitter compounds, try this blend of nettle, dandelion, and raspberry leaves. Peppermint and lemon verbena add a refreshing touch to this nourishing and healthful tea.

Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or a naturopath before incorporating any new herbs into your routine, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking medications. Enjoying a cup of bitter herbal tea daily can be a great way to include these powerful herbs in your diet and support hormonal health and digestion during menopause or perimenopause.

 Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a long history of using bitter herbs and herbal formulas to support digestion and overall health. These formulas are often composed of various herbs that work together to address a wide range of digestive issues. Here are some popular TCM herbal formulas that incorporate bitter herbs for digestive support:

Bao He Wan

  • Hawthorn fruit (Shan Zha)
  • Massa fermentata (Shen Qu)
  • Radish seed (Lai Fu Zi)
  • Tangerine peel (Chen Pi)
  • Forsythia fruit (Lian Qiao)
  • Pinellia rhizome (Ban Xia)
  • Poria (Fu Ling)

Bao He Wan is a classic TCM formula for indigestion, bloating, and acid reflux. This formula combines bitter herbs like hawthorn fruit and forsythia fruit with other herbs known to support digestion and reduce excess stomach acid.

Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang

  • Codonopsis root (Dang Shen)
  • Atractylodes rhizome (Bai Zhu)
  • Poria (Fu Ling)
  • Licorice root (Gan Cao)
  • Tangerine peel (Chen Pi)
  • Pinellia rhizome (Ban Xia)
  • Aucklandia root (Mu Xiang)
  • Amomum fruit (Sha Ren)

Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang is a modified version of the classic Liu Jun Zi Tang formula, with the addition of bitter herbs aucklandia root and amomum fruit. This formula is used to treat poor appetite, bloating, and diarrhea caused by weak digestive function and is particularly suitable for those with a weak spleen and stomach in TCM terms.

Huang Lian Shang Qing Wan 

  • Coptis rhizome (Huang Lian)
  • Scutellaria root (Huang Qin)
  • Forsythia fruit (Lian Qiao)
  • Gardenia fruit (Zhi Zi)
  • Mint (Bo He)
  • Licorice root (Gan Cao)

Huang Lian Shang Qing Wan is a powerful formula that contains several bitter herbs like coptis rhizome, scutellaria root, and forsythia fruit. This formula is used to clear heat and dampness in TCM terms, which can manifest as digestive issues, such as acid reflux, gastritis, or ulcers.

Remember to consult with a TCM practitioner, healthcare professional, or a naturopath before incorporating any new herbs or herbal formulas into your routine, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking medications. Including TCM herbal formulas in your daily routine can provide an additional layer of support for hormonal health and digestion during menopause.

Bitter Recipe Inspiration

Embrace bitter flavours in Your kitchen, including bitter foods into your diet can be as simple as adding a handful of bitter greens to your salad or experimenting with bitter herbs in your cooking. Here are some recipe ideas to get you started.

Dandelion green salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and a lemon vinaigrette

Bitter green smoothie with kale, arugula, cucumber, and green apple

Roasted radicchio and endive with balsamic glaze

Wormwood tea or gentian-infused digestive cocktail

Arugula and Fennel Salad

Combine fresh arugula, thinly sliced fennel, and toasted walnuts with a simple lemon vinaigrette for a refreshing and bitter green salad.

Sautéed Dandelion Greens

Sauté dandelion greens with garlic and olive oil, then finish with a splash of lemon juice or vinegar for a nutritious and bitter side dish.

Bitter Melon Stir-Fry

Stir-fry thinly sliced bitter melon with your choice of protein, vegetables, and a savory sauce for a flavourful and healthy meal.

Radicchio and Pear Salad

Toss chopped radicchio with sliced pears, goat cheese, and toasted pecans, then dress with a balsamic vinaigrette for a delicious, bitter salad.

Endive and Smoked Salmon canape

Fill Belgian endive leaves with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers for a tasty and elegant appetizer featuring a hint of bitterness.

Broccoli Rabe with Chili and Garlic

Sauté broccoli rabe with garlic, red chili flakes, and olive oil for a spicy, bitter, and delicious side dish.

Bitter Greens Soup

Prepare a nourishing soup with a mix of bitter greens, such as kale, collard greens, and mustard greens, along with onions, garlic, and vegetable broth.

Grilled Chicory with Balsamic Glaze

Grill halved chicory heads and drizzle with a balsamic glaze for a deliciously bitter and slightly sweet side dish.

Bitter Chocolate Smoothie

Blend raw cacao powder, banana, almond milk, and a touch of honey for a bitter chocolate smoothie packed with antioxidants and nutrients.

Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Combine steamed artichoke hearts, spinach, cream cheese, and Parmesan cheese for a delicious and creamy dip featuring the bitter taste of artichokes.

 

Experiment with these recipe ideas to include more bitter foods in your diet and enjoy the potential health benefits they provide. Don’t be afraid to get creative and incorporate bitter ingredients into your favourite dishes! For more recipe ideas and cooking classes which always include some bitter foods, check out The Cooking Naturopath for some inspiration.

To further enhance your menopausal journey, consider joining our Menopause Makeover program, a holistic approach to managing menopause symptoms that includes personalised guidance, support, and additional resources tailored to your needs.

Together, we can help you transition through menopause with greater ease and confidence. Contact us today to get started on your health and vital life.

Vitamin C deficiency causing scurvy

Menopause Makeover – 8 week program

Check out my blog post on Healthy recipes to support you in menopause.

If you’d like more information on how I can support you during menopause, I’d love to work with you.

Contact me

Menopause Bone Health – 101

Menopause Bone Health – 101

Menopause is a time of significant hormonal changes for women. As estrogen levels decline, the risk of osteoporosis and bone loss increases. Taking care of your bone health during and after menopause is crucial for maintaining overall well-being. In this article, we will explore ten tips for promoting healthy bones, covering essential nutrients, lifestyle adjustments, and the importance of consulting with a naturopathic practitioner for personalised guidance and high-quality bone support supplements.

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Tips for Healthy Bones after Menopause

Focus on bone-building foods and nutrients in your daily diet

A diet rich in bone-building nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin K, is essential for maintaining strong bones. Include foods like dairy products, leafy greens, fish, nuts, seeds, and fortified cereals in your diet to support optimal bone health.

While calcium is a vital nutrient for bone health, there are other essential nutrients such as boron, vitamin K, zinc, magnesium, and manganese that play significant roles in bone formation, maintenance, and overall health. To ensure that you’re getting a wide range of these nutrients, it’s essential to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Boron: This trace mineral is necessary for the proper metabolism of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. Foods rich in boron include avocados, apples, pears, peaches, grapes, almonds, and legumes.

Vitamin K: This vitamin is essential for bone mineralization and helps maintain bone density. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard greens, and Swiss chard are excellent sources of vitamin K. Other sources include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and fermented foods like natto and sauerkraut.

Zinc: This mineral plays a crucial role in bone formation and the immune system. Foods high in zinc include oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products.

Magnesium: Magnesium is vital for calcium absorption and bone formation. Foods rich in magnesium include leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, and bananas.

Manganese: This trace element is essential for the formation of bone and cartilage. Rich sources of manganese include whole grains, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and legumes.

To ensure you’re getting all of these essential bone-building nutrients, aim for a colorful and diverse diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins. By incorporating these nutrient-dense foods into your daily meals, you’ll not only promote healthy bones but also support overall well-being during and after menopause. Remember that a balanced diet, combined with regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle, is the best way to maintain strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.

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Shedding Light on Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another crucial nutrient for bone health during and after menopause. It plays a vital role in calcium absorption and helps maintain proper calcium levels in the blood. Without adequate vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Here, we’ll discuss how vitamin D is converted into its active form, its requirements for absorption, and the various sources from which you can obtain it.

Vitamin D Conversion: Vitamin D is available in two main forms: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Both forms are inactive and must be converted into their active forms in the body. The conversion process begins in the liver, where vitamin D is converted into calcidiol (25-hydroxyvitamin D), the primary circulating form of vitamin D. Calcidiol is then further converted into calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) in the kidneys, which is the active form of vitamin D that plays a crucial role in calcium homeostasis and bone health.

Vitamin D Absorption: For optimal absorption, vitamin D needs to be consumed with fat-containing foods, as it is a fat-soluble vitamin. Additionally, maintaining proper levels of magnesium and maintaining a healthy gut can also help enhance the absorption of vitamin D.

Vitamin D Sources: There are several ways to obtain vitamin D, including sunlight, diet, and supplements.

Sunlight: Sun exposure is the most natural way to produce vitamin D. When your skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, it synthesizes vitamin D3. Aim for 10 to 30 minutes of sun exposure on your face, arms, and legs at least two to three times per week. However, factors like skin tone, age, sunscreen use, and geographical location can affect your body’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight.

Dietary Sources: Few foods naturally contain vitamin D, but some options include fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), fish liver oils, egg yolks, and fortified foods such as milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals.

Supplements: If you’re unable to obtain enough vitamin D from sunlight and food, supplements can be a helpful option. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare practitioner or naturopath before starting a supplement regimen, as they can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific needs.

In conclusion, maintaining optimal vitamin D levels is crucial for bone health during and after menopause. By focusing on sunlight exposure, incorporating vitamin D-rich foods into your diet, and considering supplementation if necessary, you can support the health of your bones and overall well-being

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Calcium – The Cornerstone of Health Bones

Choosing the Right Calcium Supplement: A Guide for Menopausal Women (Expanded)

When it comes to bone health during and after menopause, calcium plays a critical role. But with so many calcium supplements on the market, how can you choose the best one for your needs? In this section, we’ll delve into the various forms of calcium, discuss the importance of cofactors, and compare the efficacy of different calcium supplements for menopausal women, including hydroxyapatite.

Different forms of calcium:

Calcium supplements come in several forms, including calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium lactate, calcium gluconate, and calcium hydroxyapatite. Each form has its own benefits and drawbacks:

  • Calcium carbonate: This is the most common and least expensive form of calcium supplement. It contains the highest percentage of elemental calcium but requires stomach acid for proper absorption. It is best taken with a meal to ensure optimal absorption.
  • Calcium citrate: This form of calcium is easier to absorb and is a good option for people with low stomach acid levels or digestive issues. It can be taken with or without food.
  • Calcium lactate and calcium gluconate: These forms of calcium are less concentrated but are also easier to absorb. They are good options for people who cannot tolerate calcium carbonate or calcium citrate.
  • Calcium hydroxyapatite: This form of calcium is derived from the mineralized bone matrix and contains calcium in a form similar to that found in our bones. It is highly bioavailable and is often combined with other bone-supporting nutrients, such as phosphorus, collagen, and trace minerals. This form of calcium is particularly beneficial for menopausal women, as it closely mimics the natural composition of bone tissue.

The importance of cofactors:

Cofactors are essential for the proper absorption and utilization of calcium. The most important cofactors for calcium include vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K2, and boron. These nutrients work together to ensure that calcium is effectively absorbed and directed to the bones, rather than being deposited in other tissues or organs.

Comparing the efficacy of different calcium supplements:

When it comes to the efficacy of calcium supplements for menopausal women, research suggests that calcium citrate and calcium hydroxyapatite may be better options than calcium carbonate. Studies have shown that calcium citrate and hydroxyapatite are more easily absorbed and utilized by the body, particularly in older adults or those with compromised digestion. Moreover, calcium citrate and hydroxyapatite are less likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as constipation, compared to calcium carbonate.

In conclusion, when selecting a calcium supplement, consider factors like absorption, tolerability, and the presence of essential cofactors. For menopausal women, calcium citrate or calcium hydroxyapatite with added vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K2, and boron may be the most effective options for supporting bone health. As always, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional or a naturopathic practitioner before starting any new supplement regimen.

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Maintaining an Alkaline Diet for Optimal Bone Health

An alkaline diet focuses on consuming foods that have a more alkaline effect on the body, which can help to maintain a healthy pH balance and promote optimal bone health. Here, we’ll discuss which foods to include, which foods and drinks to avoid, and any precautions you should consider when adopting an alkaline diet.

Foods to include:

An alkaline diet emphasizes the consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. These foods are generally high in alkaline minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which help neutralize acidity in the body. Some examples of alkaline foods are:

  • Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts
  • Root vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots
  • Fresh fruits, especially berries, apples, pears, and bananas
  • Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, chia seeds, and flaxseeds
  • Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and beans
  • Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats

Foods and drinks to avoid:

An alkaline diet encourages minimizing the consumption of foods and beverages that can create an acidic environment in the body. Some examples of acidic foods and drinks include:

  • Processed and refined foods like white bread, pastries, and sugary snacks
  • Animal proteins like red meat, poultry, and dairy products
  • Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and black tea
  • Alcohol, particularly in excess
  • Soft drinks and sugary beverages
  • Foods high in added sugars and artificial sweeteners

Precautions and considerations:

While an alkaline diet can be beneficial for overall health and bone maintenance, it’s essential to keep a few precautions in mind:

  • Balance is key: Don’t eliminate all acidic foods entirely, as they may still provide essential nutrients. Instead, aim for a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from all food groups.
  • Individual needs: Everyone’s nutritional needs are unique, and it’s crucial to tailor your diet to meet your specific requirements. Consult with a healthcare professional or a naturopathic practitioner before making significant changes to your diet.
  • Beware of extremes: Some proponents of the alkaline diet advocate for a highly restrictive eating plan that may not be sustainable or provide adequate nutrition. It’s essential to find a balanced approach that supports your overall health and wellbeing.

In conclusion, maintaining an alkaline diet can be an effective strategy to promote optimal bone health during and after menopause. By incorporating a variety of alkaline-forming foods, minimizing acidic food and drink intake, and adopting a balanced approach, you can support your body’s natural pH balance and help protect your bones. Always consult with a healthcare professional or a naturopathic practitioner before making significant changes to your diet.

Oxalate-Calcium interaction

Including oxalate-containing foods in the diet without impacting calcium absorption:

While it’s essential to be aware of the oxalate-calcium interaction, it’s also crucial to recognize that many oxalate-containing foods are nutrient-dense and can be part of a healthy diet. To include these foods without significantly affecting calcium absorption, consider the following tips:

  • Balance and moderation: Aim to consume oxalate-containing foods in moderation, without completely eliminating them from your diet. Rotate these foods with other non-oxalate-containing fruits and vegetables to ensure a balanced intake of essential nutrients.

  • Pair with calcium-rich foods: Consuming oxalate-containing foods alongside calcium-rich foods may help to reduce the impact of oxalates on calcium absorption. For example, you could enjoy a spinach salad with a calcium-rich food like cheese, yogurt, or tofu.

  • Timing of consumption: Space out your consumption of oxalate-containing foods and calcium-rich foods. By allowing some time between consuming oxalate-rich foods and calcium-rich foods, you may minimize their interaction and promote better calcium absorption.

  • Cooking methods: Some studies suggest that cooking methods like boiling can help reduce the oxalate content of certain foods. Boiling oxalate-containing vegetables, such as spinach or beet greens, can help decrease the oxalate content and improve calcium absorption.

  • Individual tolerance: It’s important to note that individual tolerance to oxalates can vary, and some people may be more sensitive to their effects on calcium absorption. Consult with a healthcare professional or a naturopathic practitioner to determine the best approach for your specific needs.

In summary, while oxalate-containing foods can impact calcium absorption, they also provide essential nutrients and can be part of a healthy diet when consumed mindfully. By balancing your intake of oxalate-rich foods with calcium-rich foods, using appropriate cooking methods, and considering the timing of consumption, you can support optimal calcium absorption and bone health during and after menopause. Always consult with a healthcare professional or a naturopathic practitioner before making significant changes to your diet.

In conclusion, taking care of your bone health during and after menopause is vital for maintaining a high quality of life and preventing future complications. By implementing the tips discussed in this blog post, you can actively work towards stronger, healthier bones. If you’re looking for more personalized guidance and support on this journey, consider joining our Menopause Makeover program, specifically designed to help women navigate this important stage of life. To learn more about the program or to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced naturopathic practitioners, please give us a call or reach out via our website. We’re here to help you embrace the changes and thrive during menopause and beyond.

Check out my blog post on Healthy recipes to support you in menopause.

If you’d like more information on how I can support you during menopause, I’d love to work with you.Contact me

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omega-3 for wound healing

Menopausal Vaginal Dryness

Menopausal Vaginal Dryness

Menopause is a natural phase in a woman’s life, marking the end of her reproductive years. Perimenopause is the transitional period leading up to menopause, during which the body undergoes various hormonal changes. One of the most common and sometimes distressing symptoms experienced during both perimenopause and menopause is vaginal dryness and thinning which can bring about various challenges, including itching and discomfort during intimacy. By embracing lifestyle adjustments including dietary changes and perhaps some herbal medicine, you can better manage these symptoms and maintain a healthy, satisfying sex life throughout menopause. 

 The primary cause of vaginal dryness and thinning during menopause and perimenopause is the decline in estrogen levels. Estrogen is a hormone responsible for regulating many aspects of a woman’s reproductive system, including the menstrual cycle and maintaining the elasticity, thickness, and natural lubrication of the vaginal tissues. 

As a woman approaches menopause, her ovaries gradually produce less estrogen. This hormonal shift can over time lead to a condition called vaginal atrophy, characterized by thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal walls. As the vaginal tissues become thinner and more fragile, they can lose their natural lubrication, leading to dryness and discomfort during sexual activities and even daily life.

In addition to the hormonal changes, other factors can exacerbate vaginal dryness and thinning during menopause and perimenopause.

These factors include

Medications – Some medications, such as antihistamines and antidepressants, can have a drying effect on the mucous membranes, including those in the vagina.

Smoking – can negatively impact blood circulation, leading to reduced oxygen supply to the vaginal tissues, which can result in dryness and thinning.

Autoimmune disorders – Certain autoimmune conditions, like Sjogren’s syndrome, can cause dryness in various parts of the body, including the vagina.

Insufficient arousal – A lack of adequate arousal before sexual activities can lead to insufficient natural lubrication, exacerbating vaginal dryness.

Stress and anxiety – Psychological factors, such as stress and anxiety, can affect a woman’s sexual response and contribute to vaginal dryness.

Understanding the causes of vaginal dryness and thinning during menopause and perimenopause can help guide appropriate treatment options and lifestyle adjustments. By addressing these issues, women can experience a more comfortable and fulfilling sex life during this transitional phase.

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Herbal Medicines for Vaginal Dryness

Menopausal and perimenopausal women often seek natural remedies to address vaginal dryness and thinning. Several herbal medicines have shown promise in supporting vaginal health during this transitional phase. Here, we explore some of these herbs and their mechanisms of action.

Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) Black cohosh is a popular herbal remedy for various menopausal symptoms, including vaginal dryness. It contains phytoestrogens, which are plant compounds that can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. By binding to estrogen receptors, these compounds may help alleviate vaginal dryness and promote tissue regeneration.

Sea buckthorn oil (Hippophae rhamnoides) Rich in omega fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidants, sea buckthorn oil can provide nourishment and support for the delicate vaginal tissues. It can be taken as a supplement or applied topically to help alleviate dryness and maintain the elasticity and thickness of the vaginal walls.

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus) Chasteberry has been used for centuries to balance hormones and alleviate menstrual discomfort. While it doesn’t have a direct estrogenic effect, it may help regulate the levels of other hormones that influence estrogen production. This can lead to an improvement in vaginal dryness and overall hormonal balance during menopause.

Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) Shatavari is a traditional Ayurvedic herb known for its adaptogenic and hormone-balancing properties. It’s believed to nourish the reproductive system and support the natural production of estrogen, helping to alleviate vaginal dryness and other menopausal symptoms.

Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) Dong quai, also known as female ginseng, is a popular herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine for supporting women’s reproductive health. While its exact mechanism of action remains unclear, dong quai may help balance hormone levels, which can have a positive impact on vaginal dryness and other menopausal symptoms.

Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) Wild yam contains a compound called diosgenin, which is thought to have estrogenic effects. Some women use wild yam creams to alleviate vaginal dryness, although scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness is limited.

It’s essential to note that while these herbs can be beneficial for menopausal vaginal health, it’s crucial to consult a qualified naturopathic practitioner before starting any herbal treatment. They can help you determine the most appropriate herbal formulation for your specific needs and ensure that they don’t interact with any medications you may be taking. With the right guidance, you can embark on a natural and holistic journey to optimal vaginal health during menopause and beyond.

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Holistic approaches to help Vaginal Dryness

Stay hydrated and maintain a balanced diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Staying well-hydrated is essential during menopause, as it can help maintain the body’s natural lubrication and keep vaginal tissues healthy. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day, and consider adding hydrating fruits and vegetables, such as cucumbers and watermelon, to your diet.

A balanced diet plays a vital role in managing menopausal symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods like fish, nuts, and seeds, have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce vaginal dryness. Incorporate foods high in omega-3s, such as salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds, to support overall health and maintain proper hormonal balance.

Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that resemble the structure and function of human estrogen. They can bind to estrogen receptors in the body, providing a gentle and natural way to balance hormone levels during menopause. This can help alleviate vaginal dryness, as well as other symptoms associated with declining estrogen levels.

The addition of phytoestrogen-rich foods into your diet is a simple and effective way to support your body during menopause. Some excellent sources of these beneficial compounds include soy products, flaxseeds, legumes, and certain herbs like black cohosh and dong quai. These foods not only provide phytoestrogens but also contribute to a well-rounded, nutrient-dense diet that supports overall health and well-being.

Lubrication

Vaginal dryness can make intimacy uncomfortable and even painful. Using a natural, water-based lubricant can alleviate discomfort and enhance pleasure. Opt for a product free of artificial fragrances, colors, and preservatives to minimize irritation. Apply the lubricant generously before and during sexual activities to maintain a comfortable level of moisture.

Sea buckthorn oil is rich in essential nutrients, including Vitamin E, Omega fatty acids 3, 6, 9, antioxidants and phytonutrients. These properties make sea buckthorn oil particularly helpful for women experiencing. Sea buckthorn oil can be taken orally as a supplement but for vaginal dryness it is best to use it topically, applying it after a shower to your vulva liberally.

Practice pelvic floor exercises

Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, can help strengthen the muscles around the vagina, improving both bladder control and sexual function. To perform Kegel exercises, contract your pelvic floor muscles as if you’re trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold the contraction for a few seconds, then relax. Repeat this process 10-15 times, three times a day.

Not only can Kegel exercises help with vaginal dryness, but they may also improve overall pelvic health and prevent conditions like pelvic organ prolapse. Consult with a healthcare professional to ensure you’re performing these exercises correctly and to discuss other pelvic floor strengthening techniques.

Open communication with your partner is key to maintaining a healthy and satisfying sex life during menopause. Discuss the changes you’re experiencing and any concerns you may have, and work together to find solutions that accommodate both of your needs.

Consider exploring alternative forms of intimacy, such as massage, cuddling, or non-penetrative sexual activities, to maintain a close connection with your partner while you navigate menopause. Patience, understanding, and communication can help you maintain a strong bond during this transitional phase.

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Some more tips to consider

In addition to herbal medicine and dietary changes, making some lifestyle adjustments can help manage menopause your symptoms.

Exercise regularly

Engaging in regular physical activity such as yoga and tai chi can improve mood, support bone health, and help maintain a healthy body weight during menopause. These practices can also help enhance balance, flexibility, and mindfulness, which contribute to overall wellbeing.

Prioritize sleep

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support hormone balance and overall wellbeing. Establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a calming bedtime routine to promote better sleep. Sprinkling some lavender essential oil on your pillow promtes sleep and relaxation.

Manage stress

Chronic stress can exacerbate menopause symptoms. Incorporate stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or mindfulness practices into your daily routine. Finding the right work-life balance can also help reduce stress and create a more harmonious lifestyle.

Stay connected

Maintaining social connections and nurturing relationships with friends, family, and intimate partners can improve mood and provide a support network during menopause. Open communication and understanding can also enhance sexual intimacy, as you and your partner may need to adapt to physical and emotional changes that occur during this time.

Foster sexual health

Menopause can lead to changes in sexual desire and comfort during sexual intimacy. Vaginal dryness commonly happens with the drop of oestrogen and needs to be addressed to prevent trauma and discomfort during penetrative intimacy. Many women find they need to make changes to sexual routines during menopause, due to lower libido, vaginal dryness and thinning. Talk with your partner about ways to adapt, and find solutions that work for you. Experiment with different forms of intimacy, lubricants, or relaxation techniques to maintain a fulfilling sexual relationship. Speak with your GP or Naturopath to explore solutions so you can enjoy sexual intimacy for as long as you wish.

Embrace self-care

Taking time for yourself is crucial during menopause. Prioritize self-care activities that nourish your body, mind, and spirit, such as reading, journaling, taking a relaxing bath, or engaging in a creative hobby.

By incorporating these lifestyle modifications into your daily routine, you can create a supportive environment that allows you to better manage menopause symptoms and enhance your overall quality of life.

Managing menopause symptoms can be effectively approached through a combination of  herbal medicine, nutritional and dietary strategies, and lifestyle modifications. By taking a holistic approach, you can improve your overall wellbeing and navigate the menopause transition with greater ease. If you’re interested in a more comprehensive and guided approach, consider joining our upcoming Menopause Makeover program, designed to provide personalized support and tailored solutions to help you thrive during this phase of life. Don’t forget to follow us on social media for regular updates, tips, and resources to support your journey towards optimal health and wellness during menopause and beyond.

 

Vitamin C deficiency causing scurvy

Menopause Makeover – 8 week program

Check out my blog post on Healthy recipes to support you in menopause.

If you’d like more information on how I can support you during menopause, I’d love to work with you.

Contact me

 

Holistic Approach to Menopause

Holistic Approach to Menopause

Menopause is a natural transition in a woman’s life, marking the end of her reproductive years, and it often takes women by surprise amidst the demands and schedules of a busy life. Some women sale through this time of transition, yet others experience various symptoms that can impact daily life, including hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. Fortunately, complementary medicine offers a range of holistic approaches to managing these symptoms, including herbal medicine, nutritional and dietary strategies, and lifestyle adjustments to establish hormonal balance.

Vitamin C deficiency causing scurvy

Herbal Medicines for Menopause Symptoms

Herbal medicine has been used for centuries to support various aspects of health, including hormonal balance during menopause. A naturopath will prescribe a herbal medicine formulated to address your specific menopausal state drawing on some of these herbs and often others as well, but these following herbs will be drawn upon frequently in menopause formulas.

Black Cohosh (Actaea racemosa formerly Cimicifuga racemosa)

Black cohosh has been shown to help reduce hot flashes, night sweats, and other menopausal symptoms by modulating hormone levels. Studies suggest it may have estrogen-like effects, which can help alleviate hormone-related symptoms.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Known for its calming properties, lavender can help reduce anxiety, stress, and insomnia often experienced during menopause. Aromatherapy using lavender essential oil may help improve sleep quality and promote relaxation.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Rich in isoflavones, red clover may mimic estrogen in the body, helping to alleviate hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. Some studies show positive effects on bone density and cardiovascular health as well.

Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus)

Chasteberry has been used to support hormonal balance, particularly in reducing symptoms of PMS. While its effects on menopause are less researched, it may help improve mood and support overall hormonal health.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Known for its mood-enhancing properties, St. John’s Wort can help alleviate mild to moderate depression and anxiety associated with menopause.

Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)

Dong Quai has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to support women’s reproductive health. It may help balance hormone levels, improve mood, and reduce hot flashes, although more research is needed to confirm its efficacy.

Withania (Withania somnifera)

Also known as Ashwagandha, this adaptogenic herb can help the body adapt to stress, improve mood, and support overall hormone balance.

Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)

A popular Ayurvedic herb, Shatavari is believed to help balance female hormones, support fertility, and alleviate menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness.

Korean Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

This adaptogenic herb may help improve energy levels, support cognitive function, and reduce fatigue during menopause. Some studies also suggest it can have a positive impact on mood and sexual function.

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)

Milk thistle is often used to support liver health, which plays a crucial role in hormone detoxification. By promoting liver function, milk thistle may help maintain hormonal balance during menopause.

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Sage has been shown to help reduce hot flashes, night sweats, and excessive sweating. It may also improve mood and cognitive function during menopause.

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

Another adaptogenic herb, Rhodiola can help combat fatigue, improve mental clarity, and support overall hormone balance.

It’s essential to consult with a qualified naturopathic practitioner before using herbal medicine, as some herbs may interact with medications or have contraindications. A practitioner can recommend the appropriate herbs, dosages, and formulations tailored to your individual needs and menopause symptoms.

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Nutritional approaches for Menopause Symptoms

 Optimising your nutrition during menopause is crucial for managing symptoms and maintaining overall health. A well-balanced diet, along with specific nutrient supplementation, can significantly impact your wellbeing during this transitional time. Here’s  of nutritional treatments and dietary strategies that may help alleviate menopause symptoms:

Phytoestrogens

Found in plant-based foods such as soy, flaxseeds, and legumes, phytoestrogens have a estrogen-like effect on the body. The addition of these foods in your daily diet may help balance hormone levels and reduce symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats.

Calcium and Vitamin D

With the decline in estrogen levels, bone density can decrease, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Consuming calcium-rich foods like dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified plant-based milk, along with vitamin D, can support bone health during menopause.

Magnesium

This essential mineral is vital for various physiological functions and can help reduce symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and muscle cramps. The addition of magnesium-rich foods such as almonds, spinach, and pumpkin seeds into your diet is beneficial to hormonal health at all stages of life, but particularly in peri and menopause.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Found in fatty fish, walnuts, and chia seeds, omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flushes. They also support cardiovascular health, which can be impacted during menopause.

B Vitamins

Essential for energy production and mood regulation, B vitamins can help alleviate fatigue and mood swings. Having a diet rich with whole grains, lean meats, and leafy greens will boost your vitamin B levels, but you may still benefit from taking a good quality B complex supplement.

Probiotics

A healthy gut microbiome is essential for overall health and hormone balance. Consuming probiotics through fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement, can support gut health and promote hormone regulation during menopause.

Antioxidants

Menopause can increase oxidative stress, leading to inflammation and chronic health issues. Boost your intake of antioxidant-rich foods like berries, dark chocolate, and green tea  to combat oxidative stress and support overall health.

Sea Buckthorn Oil

Sea buckthorn oil is rich in essential nutrients including Vitamin E, Omega fatty acids 3, 6, and antioxidants and phytonutrients. These properties make sea buckthorn oil particularly helpful for peri and menopausal women experiencing vaginal dryness, a common symptom of hormonal changes during this stage of life. Sea buckthorn oil can be taken orally as a supplement but is especially good as a topical treatment for vaginal dryness.

Hydration

Staying hydrated is essential for maintaining healthy bodily functions, including hormone regulation. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water daily and consume water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables to maintain optimal hydration levels, if you live in the tropic you will probably need even more water during the summer months. It’s important to point out here that soft drink, colas, tea and coffee and of course alcohol are not included in this fluid intake, although herbal teas do count.

Balanced Diet

Create a diet plan that focuses on whole foods, including lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, to support hormonal balance and overall health during menopause. Limit processed foods, added sugars, and excessive caffeine to avoid exacerbating symptoms.

Mindful Eating

Listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues can help you maintain a healthy weight during menopause, which is important for hormone balance and overall wellbeing. Practice mindful eating techniques, such as eating slowly, savoring each bite, and paying attention to your body’s signals.

Incorporating these nutritional treatments and dietary strategies into your daily routine can significantly impact your menopause journey. If you would like assistance with formulating a healthy eating plan to support you through menopause, I love working with women and creating meal plans that inspire and delight the senses and improve your vitality in menopause. Working with a qualified naturopathic practitioner who can tailor a personalised nutrition plan for your unique needs and symptoms can be a game changer in menopause.  Remember, consistency and patience are key when implementing new dietary changes for lasting results.

Protein for wound healing
omega-3 for wound healing

Lifestyle Suggestions

In addition to herbal medicine and dietary changes, making some lifestyle adjustments can help manage menopause your symptoms.

Exercise regularly

Engaging in regular physical activity such as yoga and tai chi can improve mood, support bone health, and help maintain a healthy body weight during menopause. These practices can also help enhance balance, flexibility, and mindfulness, which contribute to overall wellbeing.

Prioritize sleep

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support hormone balance and overall wellbeing. Establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a calming bedtime routine to promote better sleep. Sprinkling some lavender essential oil on your pillow promtes sleep and relaxation.

Manage stress

Chronic stress can exacerbate menopause symptoms. Incorporate stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or mindfulness practices into your daily routine. Finding the right work-life balance can also help reduce stress and create a more harmonious lifestyle.

Stay connected

Maintaining social connections and nurturing relationships with friends, family, and intimate partners can improve mood and provide a support network during menopause. Open communication and understanding can also enhance sexual intimacy, as you and your partner may need to adapt to physical and emotional changes that occur during this time.

Foster sexual health

Menopause can lead to changes in sexual desire and comfort during sexual intimacy. Vaginal dryness commonly happens with the drop of oestrogen and needs to be addressed to prevent trauma and discomfort during penetrative intimacy. Many women find they need to make changes to sexual routines during menopause, due to lower libido, vaginal dryness and thinning. Talk with your partner about ways to adapt, and find solutions that work for you. Experiment with different forms of intimacy, lubricants, or relaxation techniques to maintain a fulfilling sexual relationship. Speak with your GP or Naturopath to explore solutions so you can enjoy sexual intimacy for as long as you wish.

Embrace self-care

Taking time for yourself is crucial during menopause. Prioritize self-care activities that nourish your body, mind, and spirit, such as reading, journaling, taking a relaxing bath, or engaging in a creative hobby.

By incorporating these lifestyle modifications into your daily routine, you can create a supportive environment that allows you to better manage menopause symptoms and enhance your overall quality of life.

Managing menopause symptoms can be effectively approached through a combination of  herbal medicine, nutritional and dietary strategies, and lifestyle modifications. By taking a holistic approach, you can improve your overall wellbeing and navigate the menopause transition with greater ease. If you’re interested in a more comprehensive and guided approach, consider joining our upcoming Menopause Makeover program, designed to provide personalized support and tailored solutions to help you thrive during this phase of life. Don’t forget to follow us on social media for regular updates, tips, and resources to support your journey towards optimal health and wellness during menopause and beyond.

 

Vitamin C deficiency causing scurvy

Menopause Makeover – 8 week program

Check out my blog post on Healthy recipes to support you in menopause.

If you’d like more information on how I can support you during menopause, I’d love to work with you.

Contact me