By: Guest Author
Published: April 10, 2023
Written by Sarah Kaminski- Guest Contributor
Changes are scary, difficult, and stressful — and menopause is a big change in every woman’s life. The stress, along with the decrease in estrogen and progesterone, can impact even your immune system. Another reason why this happens is a decrease in T-cells, which are a crucial part of the immune system. These cells orchestrate the immune response and fight off bacteria. Aging also increases inflammation leading to an increased susceptibility to infections, such as influenza.
We’re not telling you this to stress you out additionally. On the contrary, we want you to know that there are ways to outsmart menopause and keep your immune system in check. Read on to learn about the best strategies for keeping your immune system in check during menopause.
Try to Relax
Hormonal changes impact your mental health. The usual symptoms include anxiety, anger, irritability, low mood, poor concentration, and loss of self-esteem. Some women will also experience problems with sleep. The lack of sleep will, in turn, increase the levels of stress.
To relax during menopause, first, you need to get familiar with your breathing patterns and change them in a way that will serve you better. Explore the many benefits of abdominal breathing, such as pain relief, mood regulation, better digestion, and better sleep quality. Rhythmic breathing and visualized breathing can also help in extremely stressful situations.
As you focus on deep breathing, you can also try to relax with music and mental imagery.
Regular exercise is the key to good health at any stage of life. By promoting good health, physical activity contributes to a healthy immune system.
Of course, you need to adapt the intensity of physical activity to your fitness. Exercise doesn’t have to include heavy cardiovascular routines. Tai Chi is a good activity to try because it combines the strength of sports such as boxing with a calm, smooth rhythm. Depending on your preferences, you can try dancing, swimming, jogging, and yoga, just to name a few.
Sleep issues often become more common during perimenopause to postmenopause. Think of this as Mother Nature telling you that you need to improve your sleeping habits.
You can do that by:
● following a regular sleep schedule
● avoiding naps in the late afternoon
● developing a bedtime routine
● avoiding screens (TV, computer, and smartphone) in the bedroom
● keeping the bedroom at a comfortable temperature
● avoiding large meals and caffeine close to bedtime
● exercising regularly
If the sleep problems persist after these changes, talk to your doctor.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
You’ve heard it before, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat it: a healthy diet is essential for a strong immune system.
To boost your immunity, you will need to eat plenty of lean proteins, healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. The micronutrients you need are Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, and Magnesium.
Knowing this, you should include foods such as cantaloupe, oranges, kiwi, papaya, blueberries, watermelon, oily fish, etc.
If you are concerned about getting all the nutrients you need, talk to your doctor about taking supplements.
Soak in the Sun
Vitamin D is vital to maintaining a healthy immune system. It also slows down the process of weakening the bones, which happens as a result of lowering estrogen levels.
Vitamin D is not like other vitamins. It is naturally produced in the body when your skin is exposed to the sun. So, obviously, the best way to get it is to spend some time outside. Don’t forget your SPF cream, though!
Dietary sources of this vitamin are egg yolks, liver, red meat, and fortified foods. You can also take supplements.
Water supports your immune system because your blood and lymph (which contain immune cells) need it to circulate throughout your body.
The average daily intake of water is eight glasses. However, the need for hydration depends on your gender, age, how much you are sweating, your health, and the medications you are taking. Women usually need nine glasses of water per day, but if you are exercising or using some medications that cause dehydration, aim for more.
Some tricks to stay hydrated include:
● carrying a water bottle with you
● drinking water as soon as you wake up
● adding fresh fruits to your water
● sipping on water throughout the day
● snacking on foods that contain a lot of water (such as watermelon, cucumbers, celery, and oranges)
Our immune systems have taken a lot of hits lately, from Covid to standard winter colds and cases of flu. It’s no wonder that we’re hearing all these stories about lingering coughs, chest infections, and not being able to shake off a cold. So, the best time to boost your immune system is now.
Use the tips we gave you to stay healthy in this period of hormonal fluctuations. It is important to remember that a weakened immune system is not something inevitable as you reach a certain age. With a healthy lifestyle, you can maintain a strong immune system and live your best life.
Sarah is a life enjoyer, positivity seeker, and a curiosity enthusiast. She is passionate about an eco-friendly lifestyle and adores her cats. She is an avid reader who loves to travel when time allows.
The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.