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Menopausal females and nutrition


Have several women who are perimenopausal meaning that they still have monthly cycles but are having warm flushes to hot flashes, night heat, decreased energy, "brain fog". I know about eating "black foods", but would like some other suggestions for these gals...


I'm not sure from your question whether you are looking for dietary advice or other modalities as well - so I will answer it from a few perspectives.

Within Chinese medical terms, the symptoms you list are most often related to what we call generally call Yin Deficiency. A common Yin Deficiency pattern is Kidney Yin Deficiency. You may also hear these symptoms referred to as "empty heat."

Generally speaking it is easier to treat excess patterns than it is to build deficiencies and Yin deficiency is a state that we move towards as we age. These conditions, therefore, can be slightly more complex to treat than their excess counterparts.

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can both be used extensively to treat yin deficiency syndromes and with very good success. While you are talking about perimenopausal syndromes, my treatment article on the treatment of menopause with acupuncture will give you an idea of some of the different differentiations we see in those conditions (they are not all purely yin deficiency) and some related treatment points.

From a dietary standpoint, my article on TCM dietary therapy will give you some ideas at least. For Yin deficiency, you can use more foods from the salty, bitter, and sour categories. Some possibly helpful foods would be millet, barley, what, rice, seaweeds, tofu, black beans, kidney beans, beets, blackberries, bananas, yogurt, oatmeal. For some people meat is very helpful to build up the deficiency but this has to be done without adding too much heat into the body - so small amounts of chicken, beef, etc. balanced with vegetables.

From a lifestyle standpoint, yin deficiency is most often related to not giving yourself enough rest. Yang is your outward, outgoing energy and Yin is your relaxation and contemplation energy. Yin deficiency is common in people with anxiety, insomnia, etc., people who work long hours, and in the "work hard, play hard" groups.

Accordingly, taking time for yourself more regularly, reading a book, talking a walk, and more regenerative practices such as meditation, tai chi, and/or qi gong (for example, the tai chi dao yin form or the da peng gong form) are very helpful and a crucial part of the healing process.

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