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high fiber foodsLong before there were medical treatments, women were using natural substances to deal with the  effects of menopause. Today, many of these alternative treatments are available as supplements that you can purchase at the pharmacy or health food store, and here are some of the most popular. Please remember to always consult with your doctor about possible interactions with prescription medicines before taking any supplement.

1. Black Cohosh
Black cohosh has been used for centuries and is among the most popular and longest-studied natural hot flash remedies for women. It's derived from a plant in the buttercup family, and black cohosh may work much like the brain chemical serotonin to ease feelings of depression and regulate body temperature. It can be taken as capsules, tablets, or mixed with water.

2. Ginseng
Ginseng has been used as a therapeutic health treatment for over 5,000 years and is considered a “normalizer” and an “energizer.” Ginseng may help with some menopausal symptoms, such as mood swings and sleep disturbances. However, it has not been found to be helpful for hot flashes.  You can take ginseng in tea, powder, and as an extract.

3. Soy
Soy has natural plant estrogens that may be effective in reducing menopausal symptoms, but scientific studies have yielded mixed results. Soy in tablet or powder form is not recommended. Instead, look for  food forms of soy, like tofu and soy milk.

4. Vitamin E
A daily dose of natural vitamin E may help alleviate symptoms of hot flashes in some menopausal women. Topical vitamin E oil applied to the vagina may also improve lubrication.

5. Yoga
If you'd rather not take a supplement, yoga can help relieve irritability and depression brought on by menopause. Yoga relaxation and stretching techniques can help stabilize your mood while improving overall well-being.

 

 

Looking for the right foods to include in your diet during pregnancy? Here are some great choices that will help you stay healthy:

chicken-egg1. It Comes Before The Chicken
Eggs are a perfect choice for your protein needs and are rich in vitamins and minerals. And don't worry about the cholesterol; eggs are naturally low in saturated fat, which is the biggest risk for your cholesterol levels.

2. Make Every Night Movie Snack Night
Did you know that popcorn is a whole grain food? And you thought you had to eat wheat bread! Just resist the urge to pour on too much salt and butter. Try making your popcorn in the microwave or with an air popper for a fat-free and guilt-free snack.

3. Sing The Praises of The Musical Fruit
Beans offer protein and fiber, as well as key nutrients such as iron, folate, calcium, and zinc. From lentils to garbanzo beans; kidney, black, white or pinto beans, you can add them to chili and soups, salads, and pasta dishes.

4. It's All Greek to Eat
Greek yogurt has twice the protein of regular yogurt, plus plenty of calcium. And you can supercharge this creamy delight with a topping of fresh fruit or a crunchy, whole grain cereal.

5. A Berry Good Choice
Pick your favorite kind of berries and you'll have a naturally flavorful snack that's also a perfect topper for pancakes and cereal. Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are packed with vitamin C, potassium, folate, and fiber.

6. Aim For The Sweet Spud
Sweet potatoes are the high-fiber, high-nutrition choice for a healthy side dish. Their orange color comes from carotenoids that are converted to vitamin A in your body, and sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, folate, and fiber.

7. This Doesn't Sound Fishy
Fish such as salmon that's low in mercury can provide protein and B vitamins, plus Omega-3 fatty acids that help your baby's development. Just remember to limit your intake of fish to no more than 12 ounces per week during pregnancy.

 


woman snowThe arrival of winter doesn't have to mean an end to activities that keep you fit. With a little creativity and a new mindset, you can stay active to help beat the winter blues and stay in shape right through until Spring.

1. Embrace The Weather For Winter Fitness

If you're like many people who hate the thought of snow and cold, consider that an Artic blast offers some great opportunities for fitness.  Making snow angels or building a snowman are fun activities for the whole family and can burn hundreds of calories an hour.

The same is true for ice skating and cross-country skiing. Even sledding burns lots of calories from all that walking back up the hill after every run. And shoveling snow can be a high-intensity workout for your entire body, but be sure you're in good shape before tackling those big drifts.


2. Look For Indoor Exercise Alternatives In Winter

If you have access to an indoor pool, you can jump into better health with swimming. Indoor tennis and soccer are great winter alternatives and many facilities host leagues that let you join in. And an indoor track can help you keep pace with your running program all winter long, whatever the weather.

Dancing can also burn calories and strengthen your balance and coordination. Ask your local dance studio for its group class schedule for a low-cost way to get moving and stay fit.


3. Get Off The Couch For Winter Fitness

A workout DVD is a great way to exercise during cold weather. You can choose from yoga, Pilates, or workouts that sculpt your body and build balance, coordination and muscle tone. And if you use several DVDs and rotate them, you'll avoid becoming bored with your indoor exercise routine.

Another great choice is an “exergame” that lets you use your favorite video game console with motion controllers to stay in shape. Whether it's virtual boxing, tennis or even dancing, you'll find a wide range of titles that help you burn calories while playing a video game.


4. Make The Choice To Stay Active

Fitness opportunities are often all around us and can be as simple as a set of stairs. Every time you choose the stairs over the elevator or escalator, you burn more calories, and stair climbing can be a great exercise break at work during the cold weather months. Likewise, make the choice to walk when the weather allows it, because every step puts you closer to good fitness.


sad woman right smSome 15 million Americans experience depression each year, and the majority of them are women. One out of four women will suffer from depression during their lifetime, but two-thirds of them won't ask for help, in part because so many myths persist about what depression is and how to treat it.

Depression is a medical illness and a biological condition that occurs when key brain chemicals that carry signals between nerves are out of balance.  While female hormones can affect these brain chemicals, depression in women isn't something simply caused by menstruation, pregnancy or menopause.

Depression is not self-pity or something that you can cure yourself by sheer will. Anyone can develop depression, whether it's caused by difficult personal experiences or it just appears.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression can include:

  •     Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
  •     Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  •     Irritability, restlessness, anxiety
  •     Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  •     Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  •     Fatigue and decreased energy
  •     Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  •     Insomnia, waking up during the night, or excessive sleeping
  •     Overeating, or appetite loss
  •     Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  •     Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that don't respond to treatment


If these symptoms persist for more than a few weeks, you may be suffering from depression and it's time to see your doctor. Certain medications, and some medical conditions such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same symptoms as depression. If these are ruled out, your doctor can conduct a psychological evaluation or refer you to a mental health professional.

There are also online mental health screening tools available to help you evaluate yourself and recommend steps for follow-up care. These brief  questionnaires are completely anonymous and confidential.

The good news is that treatment for depression can be effective quickly. Antidepressant drugs can begin to work in four to six weeks, and for mild to moderate depression, talk therapy can work as well as drugs. A National Institute of Mental Health study found that 70% of people suffering from depression became symptom-free through medications, though not always with the first medicine. Studies also show that the best treatment can be combining medication and talk therapy.


woman handweightsThroughout life, your bones are constantly being replaced as the body breaks down old bone cells and builds new ones. Bone turnover begins to outpace new bone production when estrogen levels start to fall during menopause. But you're not destined to a live an older life with frail bones and a higher risk of fractures. There are steps you can take now to build better bones, no matter your age.

Lifting weights and exercises that you do while standing up, like walking, running, jogging, dancing, or step aerobics are an excellent way to build bone density. Aim for 30 minutes on most days for stronger, denser bones.

Make sure you have plenty of calcium in your diet. You'll find it in dairy products like low-fat or fat-free milk, and fish such as salmon. Green leafy vegetables are also rich in calcium. If you’re not getting enough calcium from your diet, talk to your doctor about supplements.

While you're adding calcium, be sure that what you're drinking isn't working against you. Caffeine flushes calcium from your body, so watch out for regular coffee, tea, and caffeinated soft drinks, and skip those high-caffeine energy drinks.

Likewise, moderate your alcohol intake, because it can keep your body from absorbing calcium. If you drink, limit yourself to one glass per day. Salty foods can also cause you to lose calcium and that can speed bone loss.

Vitamin D is important to building strong bones, and the good news is that it's easy to get. Exposure to sunlight helps your body replenish its stores of vitamin D. Many foods are fortified with vitamin D, and calcium supplements for women often include this vitamin as well.

As menopause arrives, you may want to talk to your doctor about osteoporosis drugs that that can help increase your bone strength. These medications slow your bone’s reabsorption rate, so you lose less bone. These can be delivered orally or as an IV and on schedules that range from weekly doses to annual treatments.

Whatever your age, make a point of eating a well-balanced, healthy diet with lots of dairy, fish, fruits, and vegetables and maintain a healthy weight. The stronger your bones are now, the better off you’ll be when bone density begins to decline.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax