A woman's hormone levels begin to fluctuate dramatically during menopause; decreased estrogen is to blame for many of the symptoms occurring during these stages. Hormones also regulate the body's energy levels, and unfortunately, decreased estrogen can also mean decreased energy.
Fatigue during Menopause
A staggering number of women experience fatigue when going through the stages of menopause - up to 80%. Its prevalence, however, does not make it any less of a trial. Suddenly, normal tasks seem like enormous hurdles, and a general feeling of tiredness can decrease concentration, reduce efficiency, and lower motivation. Work and relationships may suffer. Fortunately, the simply addition of fiber to your diet may go a long way in the battle against menopausal fatigue.
Getting Energy from Fiber
Fiber is technically considered a carbohydrate, although it is indigestible by the human body. It is usually found in the outer portion of plant and has the ability to pass all the way through the digestive tract in much of the same form that it went in. Foods that are high in fiber - such as fruits, grains, and vegetables - are often also high in vitamins and minerals and contain little fat.
Such foods are perfect for getting the energy you need to remain alert and stimulated throughout the day. They also leave you feeling more full and for longer. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Grab a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and top with fruit, seeds, or nuts.
- Replace any white pastas, breads, and rice with their whole-grain counterparts
- Snack on raw fruits and veggies when you get hungry
- Add flaxseed to cereal, salads, or smoothies
- Make a trail mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits
- Incorporate energy-rich beans into soups or salads
- Avoid processed foods
Integrating Fiber into Your Diet
If you aren't used to eating fiber, start adding it to your diet gradually to allow your system to adjust. Suddenly incorporating too much fiber could create gas or discomfort that could otherwise be avoided.
Eat your biggest meal of the day in the morning, and allow a sufficient amount of time between your last meal and when you go to bed. Eating too close to bedtime might make it difficult to sleep and could result in heartburn or other discomfort. Making sure that you get a good night's rest is equally as important when it comes to fighting off fatigue.
Other Benefits of Fiber
Rest easy as you munch on your fibrous foods, because fiber is also beneficial in other ways:
- Prevents constipation, which causes indigestion, gas, or varicose veins
- Lowers cholesterol and triglyceride count
- Cleanses the intestines as it passes through, absorbing waste
- Can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes
Fatigue during menopause can be a frustrating symptom, especially when it starts to have a negative effect on your day-to-day routine. Slowly incorporating fibrous foods into your diet could help you get back that old spark you're used to, giving you energy throughout the day and, in turn, allowing enough restfulness to sleep at night. Start today, and see if this simple lifestyle measure is right for you.
- Hopkins, V. & Lee, J.R. (1996). What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause: The Breakthrough Book on Natural Progesterone. New York: Warner Books, Inc. pp. 290-291.
- Jonekos, S. & Klein, W. (2009). The Menopause Makeover: The Ultimate Guide to Taking Control of Your Health and Beauty During Menopause. Ontario: Harlequin. pp. 47.
- Northrup, C. (2001). The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health During the Change. New York: Bantam Dell. pp. 194-195.