As the saying goes, always trust your gut. Your gut feelings (or intuition) usually offer more insight into a situation than over-thinking does, so it makes sense that your instinctive reactions are to be trusted. Sometimes, however, we get a different kind of gut feeling, one that is related to our health and wellbeing. We're talking about the bad sort of gut feelings like bloating, nausea, constipation and diarrhoea.
These bad gut feelings are part and parcel of menopause, because as with pretty much every system in our bodies, our hormone levels impact on our metabolism and digestive health. As we lose oestrogen we are less able to keep cortisol, the stress hormone, in check. This leads not only to increased stress levels and irritability, but to the slowing down of your digestive system. When your food isn't moving through your gastrointestinal tract as quickly as it should it can start to ferment, causing bloating. This can also lead to constipation as the organic matter in our large intestine starts to back up due to a slower transit.
Diarrhoea is another common menopause symptom – again as our gut slows down the balance of bacteria changes and we may start reacting to foods we once ate without a problem. Even small shifts in the gut biome (the makeup of bacteria in the gut) can lead to seemingly dramatic symptoms, which can make it hard to identify the triggers, or our tolerance limits for certain foods.
Keeping a food and symptom diary is a good way to identify trigger foods as many women report a reduced tolerance for dairy products, sugar, and some carbohydrates during menopause. Our MenoShake is tasty no matter what sort of milk or non-dairy alternative you use, so if you have to give up dairy you can still benefit from calcium enriched non-dairy milks in your shake and in cooking.
You can also help nourish your gut with supplements and by adding fibre to your diet. The right kind of fibre helps bulk out the digested food matter to help it stay moving through the gut – it's a bit like giving your intestines extra hands to push digested food along and out.
There is 2.2 grams of fibre in each serving of our MenoShake, and it all adds up to the recommendation of 30 grams per day. Pulses, whole grains and vegetables are all excellent sources of fibre, while plums and prunes can be added when you need a little boost to sort out constipation. Hydration is really important too, as the more water content there is in the digested food matter, the easier it is for our system to pass it along.
The Marine Collagen powder is also vital for gut health as it provides one of the building blocks for new, supple intestinal tissue. The psyllium husk powder in our shake is an excellent source of bulking fibre that will help keep you regular, while the prebiotic and probiotic compounds help keep our gut biome balanced and feed the good bacteria we rely on for good digestive health, hopefully meaning you won’t experience quite so many bad gut feelings!
Getting on top of gut health can be a challenge if you have to make changes to your diet and lifestyle as a result, but by drinking the MenoShake daily, and eating a healthy, fibre and plant rich diet you can give yourself the best support possible, so you can start trusting your gut again.