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How to Manage Perimenopause Symptoms Naturally with a Plant-Based Diet, Yoga, and Essential Oils

Perimenopause, the transitional period leading up to menopause, can be a challenging phase for many women. It typically begins in the 40s but can start as early as the mid-30s, and is characterized by fluctuating hormone levels that can lead to a variety of symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain, irregular periods and so much more. Understanding and managing these symptoms naturally can be empowering and effective.

Here’s a comprehensive look at how a whole food plant-based diet, yoga, essential oils, and regular exercise can make a significant difference:

Understanding Perimenopause

Perimenopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years, leading up to menopause when menstrual periods cease altogether. This phase can last anywhere from a few months to several years. The symptoms of perimenopause vary widely among women, with some experiencing mild discomfort while others face more severe challenges.

Common symptoms include:

• Hot Flashes and Night Sweats: Sudden feelings of heat, often accompanied by sweating.

• Mood Swings: Increased irritability, anxiety, or depression.

• Irregular Periods: Changes in menstrual cycle length, flow, and frequency.

• Sleep Problems: Difficulty falling or staying asleep.

• Fatigue: Persistent tiredness and low energy levels.

• Weight Gain: Especially around the abdomen.

These symptoms can significantly impact daily life, but adopting certain lifestyle changes can help manage them effectively.

Whole Food Plant-Based Diet for Perimenopause

whole food plantbased can help with perimenopause symptoms, whole food plantbased diet

A whole food plant-based diet focuses on consuming minimally processed foods derived from plants. This diet can be incredibly beneficial for managing perimenopausal symptoms due to its rich nutrient profile and anti-inflammatory properties.

Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet:

1. Hormone Balance: Foods rich in phytoestrogens, such as flaxseeds, soy, and whole grains, can help balance hormone levels. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that mimic estrogen in the body, providing relief from symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

2. Nutrient-Dense: A diet high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes provides essential vitamins and minerals that support overall health and hormonal function. Key nutrients include calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and B vitamins.

3. Anti-Inflammatory: Chronic inflammation can exacerbate perimenopausal symptoms. Plant-based foods, particularly those high in antioxidants, help reduce inflammation and improve overall well-being.

4. Weight Management: A plant-based diet is typically lower in calories and higher in fiber, aiding in maintaining a healthy weight, which can mitigate symptoms like hot flashes and improve energy levels.

A study published by the North American Menopause Society in the journal Menopause found a plant-based diet rich in soy reduces moderate-to-severe hot flashes by 84%, from nearly five per day to fewer than one per day. During the 12-week study, nearly 60% of women became free of moderate-to-severe hot flashes. Overall hot flashes (including mild ones) decreased by 79%. Read more here

Suggested Foods:

• Leafy Greens: Kale, spinach, collard greens

• Whole Grains: Quinoa, brown rice, oats

• Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, black beans

• Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, chia seeds, flaxseeds

• Fruits: Berries, oranges, apples

• Vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, bell peppers

Incorporating these foods into your diet can make a significant difference in managing perimenopausal symptoms.

Yoga for Perimenopausal Relief

yoga helps with perimenopause symptoms and bone density

Yoga is a powerful tool for managing perimenopausal symptoms. It helps reduce stress, improve mood, and promote better sleep. Poses focusing on stretching and relaxation can alleviate physical discomfort, while breathing exercises can help manage anxiety and emotional fluctuations.

Benefits of Yoga:

1. Stress Reduction: Yoga promotes relaxation and reduces the production of stress hormones, which can help manage mood swings and anxiety.

2. Improved Sleep: Regular yoga practice can enhance sleep quality by calming the mind and relaxing the body.

3. Flexibility and Strength: Yoga helps maintain physical fitness, flexibility, and strength, which are crucial as the body changes perimenopause.

4. Mind-Body Connection: Yoga fosters a deep connection between the mind and body, promoting overall well-being and helping women feel more in control of their symptoms.

Recommended Yoga Poses:

• Child’s Pose (Balasana): Calms the mind and relieves stress.

• Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana): Strengthens the back and reduces anxiety.

• Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana): Stretches the spine and hamstrings, promoting relaxation.

• Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani): Reduces swelling in the legs and calms the nervous system.

• Corpse Pose (Savasana): Encourages deep relaxation and mindfulness.

Incorporating a regular yoga practice into your routine can significantly improve your quality of life during perimenopause.

Essential Oils for Perimenopause

how essential oils help with perimenopause symptoms

Pure essential oils can offer relief from perimenopausal symptoms. They can be used in various ways, including aromatherapy, topical application, and even in baths.

Benefits of Essential Oils:

1. Mood Enhancement: Certain essential oils have uplifting properties that can help manage mood swings and anxiety. For example, lavender and clary sage are known for their calming effects. (You can order yours here)

2. Hot Flash Relief: Peppermint oil has a cooling effect that can help reduce the intensity of hot flashes.

3. Improved Sleep: Oils like lavender and chamomile promote relaxation and better sleep.

4. Hormonal Balance: Clary sage and geranium oils can help balance hormones naturally.

How to Use Essential Oils:

• Aromatherapy: Use a diffuser to disperse the oils in the air.

• Topical Application: Dilute with a carrier oil (such as coconut or jojoba oil) and apply to pulse points or affected areas.

• Baths: Add a few drops of essential oil to your bathwater for a relaxing soak.

To know more about doTERRA essential oils read here

Exercise for Perimenopausal Health

woman exercising with weights, strength training

Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight, boosting mood, and improving sleep, all of which are important during perimenopause. Exercise can also help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, which are concerns during this phase of life.

Benefits of Exercise:

1. Weight Management: Helps prevent weight gain and promotes fat loss, particularly around the abdomen.

2. Bone Health: Weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging, and strength training help maintain bone density.

3. Heart Health: Aerobic exercises improve cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease.

4. Mood and Energy: Exercise boosts endorphins, improving mood and energy levels.

Recommended Exercises:

• Strength Training: Weight lifting, resistance bands, bodyweight exercises.

• Aerobic Exercise: Walking, swimming, cycling, dancing.

• Flexibility and Balance: Yoga, Pilates, tai chi.

Incorporating a variety of exercises into your routine ensures you address all aspects of physical health.

Putting It All Together

Combining a nutrient-rich plant-based diet, yoga, essential oils, and regular exercise can create a holistic approach to managing perimenopausal symptoms. These practices not only help alleviate physical discomfort but also promote emotional well-being and a sense of balance during this transitional phase.

By adopting these natural remedies, you can navigate perimenopause with grace and vitality. Remember, it’s essential to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed to find what works best for you.

If you want to discuss how to incorporate these changes into your life, get in touch! Let’s explore how you can navigate perimenopause with grace and vitality.

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