Embarking on the journey through menopause can bring a myriad of changes, and one area that often takes centre stage is your gut. You may notice changes in your digestive health and develop symptoms such as bloating or constipation.
Many things influence our guts, from our genetics to our lived experience and lifestyle choices around things like diet and exercise.
Here are some practical steps you can take to not only foster a healthy gut but also enhance your overall well-being during this transformative phase.
1. Embrace an Active Lifestyle:
Regular exercise maintains a diverse, stable microbiome, fostering resilience against disruptions. The menopause can be a little disruptive, that’s for sure! Research has linked exercise to increased gut bacteria diversity, positively impacting digestion and overall gut function.
Transitioning into menopause is a good opportunity to reassess your relationship with physical activity. If you are used to attaching it to weight loss for example, now is the chance to foster a healthier attitude towards it, for the protection of both your muscle mass and future disease risk as well as your gut bacteria!
2. Fuel Your Body with a Balanced Diet:
Navigating the demands of work, home, and family life during menopause can make prioritising our diet challenging. However, tuning in to what you eat and how it makes you feel can significantly impact your gut health and alleviate symptoms. I have seen this be the case for many clients I have worked with.
A starting point is to avoid distractions around mealtimes and eat more mindfully. Our mouths are the pacemakers for our large bowel so how we eat at the top of the digestive system will significantly impact what happens at the bottom!
If you find it difficult to interpret your body’s signals and would like to improve your mind-body connection, then get in touch.
3. Harness the Power of Gut-Boosting Foods:
Integrating prebiotics (special types of fibre which bacteria particularly like to eat), probiotics (live bacterial cultures), and fermented foods into your diet is a modern approach to fortifying your gut with beneficial bacteria. Contrary to popular belief, bacteria are allies in maintaining gut health, aiding in fibre digestion and infection prevention. Explore introducing live culture yogurts or fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, kimchi, or sauerkraut in your diet. Eat plenty of prebiotic foods such as garlic, wholegrains and bananas.
For some women, particularly those with a history of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), individualised advice around types and quantity of fibre might be required. If this applies to you, seek support.
Empower yourself by taking simple yet effective steps to support your gut health. Whether it’s choosing to move more, embracing a balanced diet, or incorporating gut-boosting foods, these changes can ripple through to enhance your overall well-being. Your gut will undoubtedly thank you for the attention.
Need more advice or keen to explore more about how the menopause affects your gut? Please feel free to contact me for a chat.