Quite frankly health AND weight loss get complicated after the age of 45!

There are so many changes and side effects it’s hard to keep up

In this blog, I want to look at the impact on our health when we lose the protective effect of estrogen, and what you can do about it.

Yes, I did say protective.

We tend to blame estrogen for all our hormonal woes but it’s actually not the hormone itself, the problems start when our hormones are out of balance with each other (namely progesterone).

However, let’s have a look at the loss of cardiovascular protection we lose when our main source of estrogen production from our ovaries dries up during perimenopause.

This is why our risk of a heart attack is the same as men’s after menopause.

There are 2 main reasons for this protective effect disappearing.

First, the reduced estrogen production means our fat distribution changes.

So instead of any excess weight being put on our buttocks and thighs, the excess is now stored around our middle – hence your expanding waistline.

We know that weight around our girth is an indicator of the level of internal fat deposits that coat the heart, kidneys, liver, digestive organs, and pancreas, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Second, as we age we have less nitric oxide and by about 50, we’ve only got about 50% left.

Nitric oxide is found in the single layer of cells that line the inner lining of your arteries

What does nitric oxide do?
1. Keeps all cellular elements flowing smoothly like Teflon NOT velcro
2. Keeps vessels elastic
3. Keep vessels from going thick & stiff
4. Prevents the build-up of plaques

And we know that Cardiovascular disease patients have a deficiency of nitric oxide.

There are 3 main ways that you can reduce that increased risk of heart disease after menopause.

Eat your greens
Eat less saturated fat
Achieve a healthy weight

Leafy greens contain nitrates which are converted to nitrite by bacteria in the mouth and then converted to nitric oxide in the stomach.

So pay attention to chewing your greens (whether they are raw or cooked) and note that mouthwash and antibiotics destroy your healthy mouth bacteria which is another good reason to ditch mouthwash and avoid antibiotics when you can.

Even better add balsamic vinegar or rice wine vinegar to help restore the enzyme and increase the conversion of nitrite to nitric oxide.

So start adding leafy greens to everything!

Eating less saturated fat (in fact eating less fat in general) reduces the risk of cardiovascular events.

Saturated fat is found in ALL animal products and ALL dairy.

My recommendation is always to get your healthy fats from plants, which include avocadoes, olives, nuts & seeds.

Yes, coconut is a plant fat, BUT it is mostly saturated fat.

Plus plants do not contain cholesterol another bonus that will also reduce your risk of heart disease.

Please note that the ONLY healthy fat your body can’t make are the omega’s and it’s only the omega-3’s that we need to pay attention to.

I don’t recommend fish due to the mercury content so plant-based sources of omega-3 are leafy greens, flaxseeds, hempseeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

Plus these omega-3 sources are anti-inflammatory another tick in the box for reducing your heart disease risk.

And yes olive oil is a monounsaturated oil (your body can make this) which is associated with heart health, but if weight loss is your goal I would not be going overboard using any liquid oil.

Preferably throw a few whole olives on your salad rather than splooshing your salad with oil.

You can read more about my thoughts on olive oil here.

Eating more leafy greens and eating less saturated fat will benefit your pursuit of a healthy weight.

No doubt about it – weight loss does get more difficult as we age, due to our hormones doing a reshuffle but also our metabolism slows down.

I wrote about the 6 Main reasons why it’s hard to low weight in mid-life here. 

However eating more plants has been shown over and over, as the most beneficial way to achieve and maintain health AND a healthy body weight AND reduce your risk of heart disease.

It’s only plants that contain fiber that feed your good gut bacteria that’s responsible for over 70% of your immune system, and they also make a large portion of your happy, feel-good hormones.

Fiber is only found in plants – fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans & lentils, and a small amount in healthy whole fats.

You can read more about the benefits of fiber and your health and weight loss here. 

So if you’ve just read that and are thinking ‘that’s great Nic but where do I start?’ or you’ve made some changes and are wondering if you’re on the right track or if there’s more you could be doing…

Then come and join my FREE webinar ‘Weight loss in perimenopause and beyond’ and you’ll get the basics, without the overwhelm, and enough practical strategies to get you started.

Plus you’ll learn how to bring IN more nourishment and crowd OUT the foods that are just not helpful in mid-life.

We need a new strategy for this new season of menopause so register here and discover the simple tools that will put you back in the driver’s seat of your health.

Nic x


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