A few tweaks to your daily routine can erase the most vexing symptoms of menopause, making weight gain, hot flashes and aches a thing of the past.
For menopausal joint pain: Set a timer for 4½ minutes
It’s a symptom that flies under the radar, but 77 percent of women have joint pain with menopause. “Estrogen eases inflammation, and when menopause causes levels of the hormone to drop, inflammation and pain can increase,” says ob-gyn Sheri Puffer, M.D., with Texas Health Arlington Memorial.
The fix: Walk for 4 1⁄2 minutes twice a day. Northwestern University scientists say bursts of activity are enough to signal the body to lessen the inflammatory response and lubricate joints.
For menopausal weight gain: Boost your ‘good guys
After menopause, 70 percent of us have trouble keeping our weight in check. Luckily, boosting your “good bacteria” helps reverse middle-age spread. “Our gut has hundreds of species of microorganisms, and body weight can be related to the amount and diversity of these organisms,” says Dr. Puffer. Indeed, Harvard scientists say dieters who sipped three daily servings of kefir ($2.78, Walmart), a tangy, drinkable yogurt, lost 81 percent more belly fat than those who only cut calories. Kefir boasts 10 kinds of beneficial bacteria that optimize the body’s ability to use food for energy. Or try a probiotic supplement, such as Naomi Biome Balancer Probiotic ($26, NaomiW.com).
For menopausal hot flashes: Cozy up with tea
More than 70 percent of women experience hot flashes, and now scientists have found a cozy fix. A study in Phytotherapy Research suggests regularly sipping milk thistle tea ($13.75, Amazon) cuts hot flashes 73 percent within three months. Researchers credit silymarin, a compound that helps the liver deactivate excess hormones that throw your internal thermostat off balance.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.