During menopause, mood swings are likely to occur. This is because estrogen levels dramatically decrease, which directly affects brain chemistry. The hormonal shift results in a shortage of neurotransmitters responsible for happiness and relaxation, such as serotonin and endorphins.
The effects of hormonal imbalance are varied, and they tend to make the effects of prior illnesses all more pronounced. Many women may have had hidden nutrient deficiencies for years without recognizing any unpleasant effects. Find out why it's essential to be active and to keep a healthy diet.
The B vitamin group is known to be essential for many vital functions, and this includes mental well-being. Among them, B12 is one of the most important, since studies have found its correlation to serotonin, melatonin, and norepinephrine regulation. People with low levels of B12 often become fatigued, experience symptoms of depression, and even problems with memory or reading comprehension. Since this vitamin is extremely rare in a plant-based diet, vegans are recommended to take a B12 supplement.
Also, important for brain function and gentle moods are vitamins B1, B6, and B9. While B1 and B9 can be found in asparagus, broccoli, dates, nuts, and wheat germ, you can boost your B6 through tuna, turkey, beef, sweet potatoes, and sunflower seeds.
An adequate vitamin C intake will boost your immunity and keep your collagen production in top shape to keep you chipper and healthy. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant. If you want to feel more enlivened, make sure to eat a variety of oranges , grapefruit, kiwi, red bell peppers, and dark leafy greens daily.
Vitamin D is mostly recommended because it is essential for strong bones and calcium absorption. However, low levels of this vitamin can cause symptoms across the board, including fatigue, irritability, and stress. People with vitamin D deficiency often feel like they are constantly tired, which can add to your stress levels and cause you to feel overwhelmed during menopause. This can be more of an issue in the winter months when sunlight is scarce. Vitamin D is found in abundance in swordfish, margarine, egg yolks, Swiss cheese, and fortified products such as orange juice, soymilk, and cereals.
Also, having healthy snacks at hand will help you to deal with mood swings episodes.
Now that you are properly fueled up with mood-boosting vitamins, it's time to get active. Cardio is the best way to increase circulation to your brain, which will give you energy and positive feelings. The goal should be 3 hours of cardio weekly, whether through jogging, swimming, dancing, or another exercise. This is enough to boost your brain's production of serotonin and endorphins and provide you with a sustained feelings of joy and relaxation, and in general, you will be more in shape.
Yoga is perfect for individuals undergoing a lot of stress. The balancing, stretching, and core-strengthening poses performed during a yoga class can help you focus, let go of worry, and develop an uplifting attitude. The series of movements helps increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of deep tranquility, which is why many women leave yoga studios feeling like they are floating on a cloud. If menopausal mood swings are becoming a problem, it would be wise to review your diet and make sure you are getting all necessary micronutrients, in particular B-group, C, and D vitamins.
In extreme cases, supplement whenever necessary to avoid depression, irritability, and fatigue that would otherwise get in the way of your productivity. Once you have the energy you need, you can find joy with cardio and yoga.
- National Institutes of Health. (2013). Vitamin C: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002404.htm
- Office of Dietary Supplements. (2011). Vitamin D. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
- Office on Women's Health. (2013). Physical Activity Fact Sheet. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/physical-activity.html
- Streeter, C.C. et al. (2012). Effects of Yoga on the Autonomic Nervous System, Gamma-aminobutyric Acid, and Allostasis in Epilepsy, Depression, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Medical hypotheses, 78(5), 571-579. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.01.021
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2011). Vitamin B6. Retrieved April 29, 2014, from https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b6-pyridoxine