Tips on Handling Menopause in Your Store

As retailers, you may be known for the brands and products that are not carried in the mainstream—but you are also known as the reliable source for quality lifestyle enhancement. This means not just product education, but tips to improve quality of life, overall and every single day.

Last month, WholeFoods offered a feature on the importance of nutritional support throughout a woman’s lifecycle (October 2010, p. 26). Here, Jose Luiz “J.L.” Paes-Leme, founder and CEO of Sunrise, FL-based NaturaNectar LLC, offers some information that you can use to make a handout for women purchasing menopause-support products.

He suggests the following Five-Point Plan for a Healthy Menopause. Paes-Leme’s plan can be the inspiration for your own bag stuffers or newsletter articles. Just please be sure to credit him appropriately.

1. Watch the diet: According to Paes-Leme, studies indicate that Asian women go through menopause with much less symptoms than women in the western world. "These finds indicated that their cultural trace of eating large quantities of soy and other vegetables and the fact that isoflavones are present in these foods have played a major role in preparing the body for the declining hormonal levels as they age and get closer to menopause. Unfortunately our diet in the USA is a far cry from the daily need of vegetables in order to supply the body with isoflavones from food," he says. Women experiencing hot flashes and night sweats can try avoiding spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol. "You need to try to sustain eating a balanced diet, avoiding excessive carbohydrates and fat," says Paes-Leme. This means sticking to healthy whole foods such as vegetables (especially legumes), fruits, lean meats, poultry and fish. "If you have a difficult time trying to figure out what to eat and when, consider the help of a nutritionist or even discuss this with a primary healthcare provider," he advises.

2. Take the right dietary supplements: Supplements can work wonders for menopausal women. Says Paes-Leme, "For years, savvy women have relied upon menopause-support supplements such as back cohosh, red clover, kudzu root and soy for their hormonal balancing support." He explains that his company uses such herbs in its menopausal support supplement, as well as a unique new ingredient. "We wanted to innovate by adding aglycone isoflavones from Brazilian Red Bee Propolis," he says.

3. Be mindful of environment: Stress, temperature and other factors can make women experiencing menopausal symptoms even worse. "Try to avoid places that are too warm as this can actually trigger hot flashes," he suggests. "If the office or work environment tends to be too warm, place a fan in the office or work environment to cool off when needed."

4. Be mindful of dress: If you can’t change the environment, at least you can exert some control over your clothing. "When hot flashes become somewhat regular, you will want to dress in layers. This way if you are in a cold environment you will be comfortable and warm," he says. For night sweats, keep some dry and fresh towels by your bed and an extra set of pajamas handy. "The secret is to try to refresh without having to get out of bed and further disturb the needed sleep," he says.

5. Watch your fitness and your sleep: Women shouldn’t forget to do some form of light aerobic exercise at least four days per week. Make sure excercise is done at least four hours before bedtime. Says Paes-Leme, "This way the elevation of your heart rate and metabolism that happens during and after exercise sessions won’t disturb sleep preparation." Speaking of sleep, be consistent with bedtime and don’t use your bed for non-sleep-related activities like doing work or watching television. "Establish a good sleeping routine with the same time to sleep and wake up every day. These habits will help you to feel good and maintain your brain’s ability to function its best," Paes-Leme explains. WF

Lisa Schofield is a freelance writer based in Freehold, NJ.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2010 (published ahead of print on September 28, 2010)