Menopause brain is real.

How women’s brains change in midlife.

Tuesday. A few years ago, Mark Wahlberg told Men's Health that switching to a plant-based diet made him feel "much better." Vegans LOVED that. However, Marky Mark also cut out ultra-processed foods at the time, which may have contributed to his improved health. This is usually why so many people feel better during the honeymoon phase of a plant-based diet. 

Recently, though, Wahlberg shared in a new video showing that his diet has changed drastically (WATCH THE VIDEO HERE); he now consumes eggs and pork chops for breakfast, chicken for lunch, and steak for dinner. I guess going plant-based wasn’t working out long-term. 

Moving on to something less controversial than the merits of a plant-based diet, it turns out that ‘menopause brain’ is a real thing. So what is it, and how does a woman’s brain change later in life? Let’s dive in.

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Today’s Menu 🌿

  • ‘Menopause brain’ 🧠 is a real thing.

  • A tragic reminder we can all use 🚘.

  • Is cutting carbs 🥖 really the answer?

  • The PERFECT way to celebrate Women’s Health Month.

  • The 🤤 Daily Recipe is another DIY protein bar, but keto!

  • 🥛 Find out which high-protein yogurt is best.

Read Time: 4 minutes

Menopause Hot Flashes GIF by Kino Lorber

‘Menopause Brain’ Is A Real Thing 

For many years, women were told that the mental and emotional challenges they experienced during midlife were simply psychological. However, recent brain research proves otherwise, showing significant physical changes in the brain during menopause that are not imaginary but very real (READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE). 

Leading neuroscientists have found through imaging that menopause causes reductions in gray matter volume and changes in brain connectivity and energy levels. These alterations are linked to symptoms like brain fog, insomnia, and mood swings.

However, this latest research also indicates that the brain adapts to these changes over time. Many women see an improvement or disappearance of menopausal symptoms post-menopause, suggesting that the brain is adjusting to new biological conditions.

So why does all of this happen? The drop in estrogen during menopause significantly affects the brain. Estrogen acts like an orchestra conductor for brain functions, influencing behavior, cognitive function, and neuronal health. When estrogen levels decline, it impacts areas of the brain like the hypothalamus, which regulates body temperature and can cause hot flashes, and the hippocampus, which affects memory and cognition.

The physical changes observed in the brain can be substantial. For instance, positron emission tomography (PET) scans show a decrease in brain energy activity during menopause, with less glucose being burned efficiently. Although it's unclear if these changes can be prevented or reversed, follow-up studies indicate that some brain regions stabilize and might even regain gray matter volume after menopause. 

So, the changes can be significant, but they also seem to be temporary. 

Addressing the symptoms of menopause effectively involves a combination of lifestyle adjustments and medical treatments. Some experts recommend hormonal treatments as an option that can be safe and effective for women who experience severe symptoms during this time. However, it should be seen as a sort of last resort. 

Lifestyle choices should be the priority when managing menopausal symptoms. Engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, and ensuring adequate sleep can all contribute to a smoother transition through menopause. A whole-food diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high-quality protein, and dairy products may reduce menopause symptoms. Consuming phytoestrogens and healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids from fish, may also help.

Additionally, non-hormonal medical options, such as antidepressants and blood pressure medications, can help manage symptoms—but again, these should ideally be used only when lifestyle choices aren’t enough. 

The key takeaway? The understanding of menopause is evolving, with research shedding light on its complex effects on brain function and overall health. ‘Menopause brain’ is a real thing, and those symptoms aren’t just psychological. It is clear now that fundamental biological changes are happening to the brain that significantly impact the entire body. 

This growing body of knowledge aims to empower women with information and medical options to effectively manage this significant life transition.

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The Daily Recipe

Try to guess… the last protein bar recipe we posted was so popular we are bringing you another one, but this one is keto (and delicious).

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