Magnesium (Mg) is a mineral of great importance to the entire organism, but even more so for women in or approaching the menopause. Symptoms and afflictions of that period in a woman’s life are often headaches, high blood pressure, depression, muscle twitches or nightly leg cramps to name but a few. Magnesium does of course benefit both genders, but a woman’s diet should pay particular attention to the recommended daily intake of 300-400 mg. The mineral can alleviate quite a few of the above ailments and make a woman feel better and stay healthy and therefore be better equipped to cope with the emotional changes and sometimes problems menopause can entail.
Natural food sources of magnesium are found in green vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grain. There are supplements which can be taken orally, but the maximum tolerance of such supplements lies by 350 mg/day. Excessive intake of magnesium can produce diarrhea and prevent the absorption of calcium, which is another essential ingredient in the daily diet.
Women more than men and in particular those in or approaching menopause, are often in danger of developing the dreaded “brittle bones” or osteoporosis. Calcium (Ca) is a mineral vital for preventing the outbreak of the condition, although calcium of course benefits both genders and all ages. It may come as a surprise that about 1kg of the total body weight of an adult consists of calcium, 99% of which is stored in the bones and teeth. It’s acting as a builder of bone structure and as a transmitter for other minerals and enzymes. The rest is necessary for the ability to contract muscles, nerve function and blood clotting.
As far as osteoporosis is concerned, calcium isn’t responsible for healthy bones on its own. It acts in conjunction with vitamin D which helps absorb calcium as well as vitamin K. The recommended daily intake of calcium for adult men and women is 700 mg.
Calcium rich foods are: green vegetables (but not spinach which, although containing high levels of calcium, makes it difficult to absorb because calcium is bound to oxalates), milk, cheese, eggs, whole meal bread, oranges, figs, nuts and almonds. Again, there is a great variety of supplements to take orally.
Cod Liver Oil
Older women experience a thinning of the skin, the appearance of wrinkles, brittle nails and sometimes hair loss. Cod liver oil, which contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids can ease all of the above symptoms. In addition, cod liver oil includes vitamin A and D (see above) and not only can help older women look and feel better, but is also essential in preventing arthirits, high blood pressure, heart desease and helps to fortify bones and brain.
Formerly, cod liver oil was thought of being beneficial mostly to children in the process of developing their brain, but the positive effects extend to later life as well. Studies have even been carried out to ascertain if cod liver oil can help fight depression and mood swings, another unpleasant menopausal symptom which afflicts many women. Supposedly negative effects refer only to pregnant and breast feeding women.
A balanced diet, including the above three supplements can go a long way towards improving the health and well being of older women. Two things however should not be forgotten: medical advice should be obtained before taking any supplements and, secondly, any diet should be accompanied by mild, but regular exercise.