Menopause happens and there's not too much to do about it. It has a bad reputation, but it's a natural transition! Like all transitions, it can be difficult and uncomfortable without a healthy diet and routine to balance the Doshas.
Why Is Menopause Sometimes Uncomfortable?
- In terms of the Doshas, menopause is the transition from the Pitta phase of life to the Vata phase. If a woman already has a Pitta or Vata imbalance in the years before menopause begins, health is likely to decline or suffer more symptoms as hormonal and other natural changes take place in the body.
- The accumulation of toxins (ama) in the body and mind creates symptoms and eventually disease. Ama blocks nutrients from reaching the cells and waste from leaving the body. This quickly and easily compounds as major hormonal changes occur.
- The misuse or overuse of the senses is another way that menopause is distorted. Too much ongoing stress or pressure, loud music and unhealthy food are just a few examples of ways that the senses can be misused and imbalances made worse.
Managing Menopause with Food
Focus on balancing Pitta Dosha when it comes to menopause. If you are already prone to Pitta problems like hot flashes or irritability/rage, follow a diet and lifestyle that reduces Pitta.
- Avoid foods that are spicy, such as chilies, cayenne and black mustard seeds
- Avoid salty or sour foods like salad dressing with vinegar or sour fruit
- Eat foods that are bitter, astringent (most vegetables) and sweet because they cool down Pitta Dosha.
- Sweet foods: rice, milk and cream and wheat products. Sweet, juicy fruits such as pears and plums also pacify Pitta Dosha.
Menopause and Vata Dosha
If you experience Vata-related issues of menopause such as memory loss or anxiety, you'll want to work at bringing Vata Dosha back into balance.
- Eat foods that are cooked and warm
- Cook with oils like ghee, coconut or olive oil
- Eat foods that are sweet, sour and salty
Apana Vata, which is in charge of elimination and menstruation is a key aspect to balance when preparing for menopause.
- Drink plenty of warm water throughout the day
- Eat cooked, leafy greens, as this helps elimination and is also a good source of calcium
- For both Pitta and Vata imbalances, eat a breakfast of cooked apples to start the day because it balances the Doshas and cleanses the digestion
- Avoid eating foods that are packaged, processed, frozen, canned or left over
- Eat organic foods that are cooked fresh each day
- Avoid heavy foods such as meat, cheese, yogurt and frozen desserts like ice cream
Lifestyle Tips for Balance During Menopause
- Sleep is important because both Vata and Pitta imbalances can cause sleep problems that will only make menopausal imbalances worse. Be sure you're in bed before 10:00 p.m. and that you arise before 6:00 a.m. This is the time of night when you can fall asleep easier and have a more restful sleep. If you stay awake past 10:00, into the Pitta time of night, it will be harder to fall asleep, and you'll also increase Pitta.
- Practice abhyanga, or ayurvedic oil massage, to prevent menopausal problems. Abhyanga increases circulation, calms Vata dosha and provides moisture to the skin.
- Do not skip meals! Eat your main meal at noon, when digestion is the strongest. Try to eat at the same time every day, and go to bed and wake up at the same time.
- Rest during your menstrual cycle as you approach menopause, because this will keep Apana Vata in balance and avoid the more serious complications of menopause.
- Gentle daily exercise balances all of the Doshas.
All views and information shared here is only for the sharing of Ayurvedic knowledge. Please do not try or prescribe or take any of the remedies and suggestions here without talking to your regular, qualified doctor. Kottakkal Ayurveda and no other person associated with Kottakkal is responsible for unwanted side-effects or contraindications in your health.