Menopause: The memory-boosting superfood that could alleviate multiple symptoms

GP talks about the impact of the menopause on weight gain

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The average age at which a woman enters menopause in the UK is 52-years-old, but timing is partly inherited. After the moment a woman’s period stops, symptoms will typically last four years, with some women experiencing symptoms for up to 12 years. These can be life-altering and can compromise women’s quality of life. Fortunately, one superfood that can easily be added to drinks could appease symptoms.

The first indications of menopause arise when a woman’s period either becomes unusually light or heavy.

At this point, it could take months or weeks before symptoms appear. It will depend on when oestrogen levels drop.

Hot flushes are the most striking of symptoms, affecting approximately 80 percent of women to some degree.

Fortunately, many studies have found that maca root powder helps alleviate hot flushes and interrupted sleep in menopausal women.

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This was confirmed in one 2008 study, which found that maca “reduced the psychological symptoms including anxiety and depression.

Researchers also noted that it “lowers measures of sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women independent of estrogenic and androgenic activity.”

Maca, often sold in a powdered form, has been used for its medical qualities for centuries in the Andes.

The root is packed with a vast array of vital vitamins, minerals, and other active plant compounds known as glucosinolates.

Some meta-analyses suggest that maca appeases symptoms by helping the body produce its own oestrogen and progesterone while helping lower stress hormones.

Other theories suggest maca stimulates and helps maintain hormonal balance in the hypothalamus, pituitary, pineal gland, ovaries and thyroid gland.

The website Health Central, explains these offer “measurable improvements in sleep, mood, energy, fertility and hot flashes.”

One line of research published in the journal Climacteric appears to confirm that maca powder improved blood pressure in postmenopausal women.

More specifically, researchers noted: “It appeared to reduce symptoms of depression and improve diastolic pressure in Chinese postmenopausal women.”

Its medicinal uses stretch from depression to fertility, with some research showing it improves the quality of semen too.

Hormonal replacement therapy is currently the mainstay of menopause treatment and can be taken in the form of pills, patches, gels or implants.

Some alternative options include acupuncture, and black cohosh, which is a species of a flowering plant.

What is menopause?

The biological purpose of menopause remains a mystery but different hypotheses have been put forward.

Researchers in Finland suggested when women who lived convivially in a patrilocal set-up (where a woman moves in with her husband’s parents), this resulted in a far worse chance of children survival.

In other words, when multiple generations would live together in one communal space, and the resources needed for a woman’s babies would overlap with those of her mother-in-law’s if their reproductive schedules overlapped.

Researchers believe that if the menopausal gene emerged at some point, it did so with the advantage of boosting survival rates among children.

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