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Essential Nutrients that Ease Your Mid-Life Transition
By: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM

Good nutrition remains a cornerstone of good health no matter what stage of life we are in. During major life transitions such as menopause and andropause, your dietary needs tend to change. Eating well is an art that should bring you as much pleasure as nourishment. Yet somehow this art can become complicated rather quickly. You can integrate nutritional recommendations from acupuncture and Oriental medicine into your diet to ease you through the changes your body goes through during mid-life.

Before You Start Eating

One of the first things to consider is the time of your meal. According to the Acupuncture and Oriental medicine Circadian Clock theory, the most appropriate time to eat breakfast is between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. This is the time of the Stomach, when the energy in this organ is at its fullest, making it ready to receive food. Consider breakfast as the nutritional foundation for your day.

Every two hours, a different organ is poised for peak performance. Eating at the hour of the Stomach provides your body with the optimal energy needed to start the digestive process. The next 2-hour block of time, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., is the hour of the Spleen. The Spleen initiates the next phase of digestion, which further reinforces eating breakfast earlier.

Foods to Eat during Menopause or Andropause
Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. During menopause and andropause, the risk of developing osteoporosis increases. The best way to ensure your body has enough calcium is through foods rich in this nutrient. Vitamin D also aids in calcium absorption. One of the best ways to support the production of vitamin D is through adequate sunlight exposure. Try to get at least 15 minutes of sun each day.  Foods high in calcium include fish with bones, such as sardines, broccoli, beans, lentils, peas, almonds, walnuts, milk, yogurt, and cheese.

Additional foods that both men and women should feature in their diets to support the skeletal system, kidney health, and brain function during the middle years include hijiki seaweed, soups made from bone marrows.

Women: Consider Foods with Phytoestrogens

For women, eating foods containing phytoestrogens may reduce some symptoms of menopause. Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds which contain natural estrogen. Some evidence supports the belief that eating foods with this compound may replace the estrogen lost as a woman experiences menopause. Plant estrogen is found abundantly in tofu and other soy products, such as soy milk and soybeans.  Other foods with moderate amounts of phytoestrogens peanuts, chickpeas, navy beans, and mung beans.

Regardless of your gender, or how old you are, make an effort to seek out new foods and styles of cooking. Eating a varied diet is the best way to ensure you receive all of the many nutrients your body needs. The next time you make a salad, for instance, pick one vegetable for each color of the rainbow. You can apply this concept to your meals by enjoying dishes with different colored vegetables or by using new spices. Eating is an everyday activity and one way to keep your life exciting through all phases of life is through eating interesting food.

Find a practitioner near you today to see how acupuncture and Oriental medicine can ease your transition through changes in your life!

Learn more about acupuncture and Oriental medicine for menopause and andropause!

About the Author:   Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.