Anti-Aging: By Diet, Exercise And Being Smart
Part One: For Women

Please keep in mind that my writing of this article is from Asian points of view. Further study is recommended to understand western approach.

From the late 30s, woman’s hormonal secretion changes and starts to have some complications and complaints. Once she is free from the menstrual cycle and reproductive capability, she feels free to restart life. This is one of the most important time in her life to reflect upon herself and to start something new.

However, this is also a dangerous time for her. Without the monthly menstruation, a chance of cervical cancer increases, and the PMS syndrome such as mood swings, tender breasts, fatigue, irritability, depression, insomnia, bloating, lower back pain, cramping, constipation, diarrhea, acne, joint or muscle pain, all could start happening. This is the time to become aware of the changes and to be wiser of the physiological and psychological implications.

The mechanism of secreting hormones also controls the autonomic nervous system which controls the circulatory system and the respiratory functions. During menopause, as stated above, symptoms such as hot flashes, sweating, sensation of coldness, tight shoulder and neck, emotional instability, depression, irritability may occur.

Due to the lowering of hormones, menopause means the decline of metabolism that induces higher cholesterol (arteriosclerosis), reduces calcium in the body (osteoporosis), declines brain functions, gives dryness of the skin and the mouth, and weaker muscles. It also results in the weakened absorption of the digestive system and this induces accumulation of fat and weight gain, especially if she continues to eat as used to when she was younger.

As I always say, the best way to cope with the menopausal syndrome and feel younger is a diet. Take in less calories and more nutrients. Sadly, the Standard American Diet (SAD: sadly SAD) is one of the worst diets. Many women are under different diet programs. If you think it is working, keep up with it to loose weight and become healthy. I am sure you may have some opinions on the subject. However, following is what I think is ideal.

Quality Over Quantity, Taste Over Volume: you will feel full and satisfied with smaller amount if foods you eat are high quality and cooked right and tasty.

Eat Three Times A Day At Regular Hours: eat three times a day regularly at regular hours. This maybe very difficult for working women, but irregular eating habit is not good. Do not skip a meal just because you are “too busy.” Honor yourself more and eat at a certain time. This is important to keep the metabolism and the autonomic nervous system in order. If you cannot follow, then at least, become aware of what your eating habit is doing to your body.

Eat Various Veggies: eat various veggies with different colors. Veggies are low calorie and high in nutrients, full of fiber, and antioxidant (antioxidant is also anti-aging).

Take A Short Break: take a short break in the middle of afternoon: have a cup of tea or do light stretching to change your mental mind. But, do not intake sugar. Make sure you eat breakfast well. Eat fruits, veggies, and protein. Do not go to work with just a cup of coffee with empty stomach (do not start the morning with full of acid).

Essential Nutrients
Calcium: avoiding osteoporosis, good for healthy teeth, calms down the nerves and good for mental health, regulates muscles and the heart functions, keeps the blood vessels younger and prevents arteriosclerosis.
Calcium Rich Foods:
Yogurt: however, in my opinion, it is too cold. My recommendation is to blend with water to make it warmer and drink. (I do not recommend milk or cheese.)
Sesame seed (black is better, also very good for the kidneys).
Others: leafy greens, bok choy, tofu, okra, broccoli, almonds, fish, canned fish with bones, etc.
Vitamin E (shoud be taken with vitamin C): improves the flow of blood, reduces shoulder tension and the sensation of coldness, antioxidant, prevents deterioration of the skin and the brain, reduces bad cholesterol, helps secretion of hormones and reduces the PMS syndrome.
Vitamine E Rich Foods: peanut butter, almond, red pepper, etc.
DHA/EPA: reduces bad cholesterol and increases the good ones, vasodilates and stabilizes the blood pressure, increases the brain functions and memories.
DHA/EPA Rich Foods: sushi fish such as hamachi, tuna, mackerel, and fish skins, etc.
Isofuravone (plant estrogen): this is a controversial one in US, but many data and studies contradict, and you should study for yourself before you take in foods that are made of soy. In Asia, people eat soy early in their age, and it is known to reduce the risk of breast cancer. US study on isofuravone indicates that there is no link between soy and breast cancer risk (do your own research). Keep in mind that in Japan, incident of breast cancer is lower than US, and consume large amount of soy products. Aside from foods, isofuravone is openly advertised in Japan, especially in skin care products. In Japan, it is known to prevent osteoporosis, lowers cholesterol level and blood pressure, and is antioxidant therefore anticancer.
Isofuravone Rich Foods: Any product made from soy such as tofu, edamame, soymilk, miso soup, etc.
Plant Fiber: smooths out and improves the intestinal tracks, alleviates constipation, reduces cholesterol absorption, steadies the blood sugar level, helps eliminate sodium and reduces blood pressure.
Plant Fiber Rich Foods: fruits such as banana, orange, apple, mango, beans such as garbanzo, peas, lentil, grains such as brown rice, wild rice, barley, etc.
Iron: alleviates anemia, helps transport oxygen in the body, binds with enzymes to increase energy.
Iron Rich Foods: clam, raisin, seaweed, lentil, spinach, soybean, oyster, bran cereal, etc.

Ideas For Afternoon Tea Break Drinks:
Squash/Pumpkin & Matcha Green Tea: choose your favorite squash or pumpkin and cook, puree, heat it up and add teaspoonful of matcha green tea, then add large spoonful of honey.
Apple Ginger Drink: two cups of natural apple juice, add one large spoonful of corn starch, stir with low heat, grate ginger, add to the drink, and add honey as you needed.
Plum Wine Lemonade: pour equally three large spoonful of plum wine and lemon juice, add two large spoonful of honey, heat it up, add thinly slight of lemon on top.

Rest Well, Sleep Well: it is of great importance that the unbalance created by reduced hormones is alleviated by resting well and sleeping well.

Exercise: reduces cholesterol and blood sugar level, balances blood pressure, good for metal acuity and feeling of well-being.

Massage And Bath: alleviates inflammation, increases blood flow, detoxifying, reduces irritability, increases dopamine, good for the autonomic nervous system. (don’t forget acupuncture)

Metal Care Maintenance: make more friends, have some projects going and go out often, seek out spiritual counseling, read books that are meaningful to you.

Acupuncture: it is good for everything written in this article. : )

copyright: Japan Acupuncture 2016