From the moment of menarche, it becomes clear that our female body is subject to physiological symptoms outside of our control. The women at Konscious Keto suffered for years before getting a handle on our monthly systems.
Most women experience cramps, bloating, and discomfort each month through their childbearing years and then to cap this illustrious season of long-suffering in our lives: then comes menopause.
Many swap cramps and crankiness for hot flashes, night sweats, low libido, and mood swings in menopause: not exactly an upgrade or something to look forward to as we age.
But is there a way to reduce the symptoms of menopause naturally? Does the ketogenic diet improve the health and well-being of women in menopause? And does ketosis cause hot flashes?
The answers are promising, and the best part is that we can use nutrition, along with quality lifestyle choices, to improve hormonal, metabolic, sexual, and cognitive health.
You can feel like yourself again with some simple lifestyle tweaks, and we'll explain how! We'll share all you need to know to reclaim the health of your mind and body during menopause below.
What are Hot Flashes?
The hormones estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) decline as we enter menopause and that affects every system in the body.
Among other duties, estrogen is responsible for funneling glucose into the brain to support healthy brain performance, but that is impacted in middle-age when estrogen levels drop—unless we replace glucose with ketones for fuel via a ketogenic diet.
Does Ketosis Cause Hot Flashes?
On the contrary, ketosis provides an alternative fuel source of fat and ketones to support, and even enhance, brain function and mental clarity in addition to regulating all our hormones, all of which prevent or mitigate the intensity of hot flashes.
A ketogenic diet is a highly-effective protocol to prevent the many unpleasant symptoms we experience during menopause, including sleep disruptions and weight gain.
Restricting carb intake to less than 50 grams of net carbs per day will help reduce appetite, lower insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity, which can make weight loss or maintenance more attainable.
However, if using nutritional ketosis therapeutically to eliminate or reduce hot flashes, improve mood, or boost memory and concentration, a macronutrient range between 20-30 grams of net carbs per day may be ideal.
Each person's dietary needs vary, experiment with your carb intake level and observe how you feel to determine the best range for you.
Zero Carb Diets
Ketosis has many health benefits, but eliminating all carbs is not necessary to achieve this metabolic state—and also not required to shed body fat on a ketogenic diet.
Furthermore, adding nutrient-dense, low-glycemic foods to your diet is vital to ensure the intake of essential vitamins and nutrients.
Stick to leafy green vegetables (e.g., spinach and kale), fatty fish like salmon, and low-glycemic nuts and seeds (e.g., macadamia nuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, etc.) to boost nutrition while keeping carbs in check.
Dehydration & Night Sweats
Paying close attention to water intake is inherently important on a ketogenic diet because the body releases lots of water, along with essential vitamins and nutrients, when we reduce carbs significantly.
Water intake is even more important when eating a keto diet as a menopausal woman because most women lose increased amounts of water due to night sweats.
Load up on the H20; your body will be better for it, especially if menopausal and on keto.
Bone marrow broth and antioxidant-rich teas like oolong and matcha are also excellent options to replenish electrolytes, perfect to keep your body in an optimal state.
In addition to staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and including exercise into your lifestyle can all help to combat fatigue. Ancient practices like acupuncture are said to improve sleep and reduce stress and anxiety, all of which contribute to physical and mental fatigue.
It's important to consult your doctor if experiencing chronic fatigue because it may indicate a broader health issue (e.g., anemia, coronary artery disease, diabetes, heart failure, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and kidney or liver disease, et al.).
As a takeaway, the following tips can help stave off fatigue during menopause:
- Exercise daily
- Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption
- Avoid overeating
- Embrace your Zen
- Get your Zzz's
- Stay hydrated
- Get comfortable saying "no," don't overbook
- Try herbal remedies
Also, adding exogenous ketones like the chocolate Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB) supplement, Keto Activate, provide increased ketones to support brain function and boost energy and physical performance, too.
How to Get Rid of Keto Hot Flashes
Menopause and all its commonly-experienced symptoms may have you in the dumps concerning its onset, but don't fret: there are many tools we can use to transition into menopause with ease. Here's how:
Eat a low-carb, ketogenic diet rich in nutrient-dense foods.
In addition to the benefits of weight management and balanced hormonal health, a ketogenic diet will also balance glucose, and prevent insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, which often presents itself in menopause.
Furthermore, the ketogenic diet offers significant benefits related to heart health, and this is particularly vital when in menopause because we lose some cardioprotective benefits when estrogen decreases in this phase of life.
Exercise daily to boost endorphins and dopamine, our feel-good hormones, to raise your mood.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. In addition to its mood-boosting properties, daily exercise also contributes to improved heart health, win-win!
Limit caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol consumption.
Although caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine may seem like a quick stress-buster, their effects in the body, especially in excess, can throw off our hormones and disrupt sleep in some cases.
Notably, quit smoking if you do as it increases the adverse effects of menopause, including increasing fatigue, and has no upside to your overall health.
Seek out relaxation.
Embrace relaxation to limit anxiety as chronic stress and anxiety can trigger hot flashes and other undesirable effects in menopausal women.
Furthermore, a study published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society indicates that stress-reduction therapy may help with menopause symptoms, reducing the degree to which women were affected by hot flashes by 22 percent! A reason to start a meditative practice or to take up yoga!
So many of us take care of everyone in our lives and feel the need to say "yes" whenever we're called upon by a friend or loved one, but limits are essential.
Do your best to find a balance between all the tasks on your plate and getting adequate rest and time to refill your proverbial tank so that you can be as kind to yourself as you are to others—remember, you matter too!
Consider herbal remedies.
Talk to your doctor before taking herbal teas or supplements as they can interfere with some medications.
However, many women have found that natural elements like valerian root, Rhodiola, and black cohosh help to reduce anxiety and subsequently mitigate the intensity of hot flashes.
Increase Carbs in 10g Increments
Again, everyone's nutritional needs are different, and a little experimentation with the intake is helpful to determine the level of carb macros that's right for you based on your goals.
Use the limits mentioned above as a baseline and increase your intake in 10-gram increments until you find your sweet spot.
Use a Keto Mineral Supplement
Even the cleanest and healthiest diet may require some level of supplementation, especially if there are pre-existing mineral deficiencies in the body. A well-rounded mineral supplementation protocol can help fortify overall health.
The following are some of the best mineral supplements to consider in menopause:
A dominant mineral that supports energy levels regulates glucose and supports the immune system: adequate magnesium is crucial for menopausal women.
Unfortunately, a lot of magnesium-rich foods like beans and high-glycemic fruits are a no-no on keto. To ensure adequate intake, consider adding 200-400 mg a day to your wellness protocol.
In addition to magnesium supplementation, adding in foods like spinach, avocado, mackerel, pumpkin seeds, and Swiss chard are excellent sources of magnesium and outstanding, low-carb, options to support health during menopause.
Seek out organic greens supplements consisting of anti-inflammatory, mineral-rich, foods like chlorella, spirulina, and wheatgrass to boost nutrition while keeping carbs low.
Electrolyte supplements and mineral-rich foods are essential on the ketogenic diet and easy to consume via bone broth or coconut water, as well as quality pink Himalayan sea salt; make sure to stock your pantry.
Menopause represents a new phase of life and can present some challenges during the transition, but the power of the ketogenic diet and nutritional supplementation are fabulous tools to alleviate the adverse symptoms of menopause while exploring a delicious and entirely satiating eating style.
You've got this! Honor yourself during this transitionary period. Take extra time for self-care and make quality rest a priority.
Menopause symptoms can be managed or eliminated with the use of the keto diet and wise lifestyle choices related to staying physically active, so stay encouraged and know that this dietary protocol will have you feeling like the younger, vibrant you in no time!
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DiNicolantonio JJ, O’Keefe JH, Wilson W Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis Open Heart 2018;5:e000668. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2017-000668
Grimaldi, K., Volek, J., Rubini, A. and Paoli, A. (2013). Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. [online] European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn2013116 [Accessed 15 Apr. 2019].