Q. We are told that women’s bones are weaker, they should have more calcium. Is there anything else that you would say that women should take special care of?
A. Well, yes, the answer is, of course, women are different biologically and mentally from men. Whatever food that we are eating does affect your generic aging and growing. We as women, we are talking about aging. It’s just not about how you look, what your weight is, and what your clothes size is. So the dietary requirement also must differ from men to women because after a certain age, there is a lot of muscle loss that women suffer more than the men. The estrogen levels goes down. Hence, the initial stages while you are growing in the later stages of your life, your diet should be monitored. It should not just be based on calorie, Keto, or all these fancy, intermittent fasting. So the type of food you’re eating, your protein, your calcium, these things are absolutely important. And if needed, supplement support should be taken, which could be through these vitamin D supplements, calcium, magnesium, which women fail to understand. A lot of women while growing, we see that women face more emotional trauma than men. If a man is crying, he’ll be like, Why are you crying? But when a woman cries, it’s normal. But the reason is when you are crying or when you’re feeling low, it is also because your body is not supporting you, because the estrogen levels are low, the basic internal strength is low, which will not only come through, of course, meditation, but the food that you’re eating. So yes, the right amount and the right quantum of food should be eaten. Hence, the dietary requirement for a woman is definitely different, if not less or more, but it needs to be different from a man.
Q. Dr. Arpita, anything that you want to add to this?
A. Yes, I also want to add, if you’re talking about women, reproductive stages from 12 to 50. So as soon as a woman hits menopause, just the menopause hit. So it takes about five years, premenopause, menopause and postmenopause. So it takes five years to have the menopause process. So a lot of nutrition deficiency goes on, the calcium, vitamin D, your folate, a lot of things which goes down. Even the estrogen, because a lot of hormones changes which is happening. So women face a lot of anxiety, irritation, and anger. Many people are not aware of it. They just think that it’s a part and process of their life. So women should know about their body and the process which is going on. So they should consult doctor or dietitian, nutritionist. They should take help or even psychologist also. Sometimes the anxiety level is so high, they are not able to cope up. They have an insomia also. They are not able to sleep, they get irritated. So they should take help from the doctors and dietitians, and even the psychologists, they should take supplements. Even the diet also have to change because postmenopause, a lot of health issues comes like heart diseases comes, obesity also comes. Even thyroid, a lot of issues which comes. So it has to be checked. So a lot of supplement, diet monitoring, even lifestyle has to change. A woman has to literally change on their lifestyle. That’s the part of their life, part of the process which they have to accept.
Q. But menopause, we have talked about menopause. What special care should women take?
A. Menopause, the main thing is to stay self confident, because it is a natural process. If you are mentally stressed then menopause will affect you more.
Q. If you not losing your weight its natural that you will be stress?
A. No it’s not like that, we all are aware that menopause will be there, so it is better to prepare yourself in advance like maintain yourself, take healthy diet and all. Most importantly I would like to tell you that you should take water chestnut (singhada) in your regular diet. It will help you in maintain your weight and help you in recovering the problems come during the menopause.
Q. Any other thing which you want to suggest?
A. Yes, in Ayurveda, shatavari is there, which is boon for women. So women should use this that will be very beneficial for them.
Q. What is shatavari?
A. So, we have the solution of all the diseases in kitchen itself. And Ayurveda is very, very old science of living. It’s just now, suddenly after COVID, people have started understanding. So there are certain top five herbs which probably I can share, which is woman oriented, which one must consume. People use to find details on internet and use it. So some of them are like Moringa, wheatgrass, Shilajit which is of course not for female, but more for men. Then there is ashwagandha, and then there is Brahmi. So of course there are so many. But one should be very careful about the quantity to consume that particular herb. For example if somebody is around 42 or 43 years, absolutely fit, no overweight then why should you take it? Well, Ayurveda says you don’t have to fall sick to start consuming an herb.
Q. What are the tests that you would say that we should look? What are the worrying signs that you would ask for somebody in menopause?
A. See vitamin D, Calcium then thyroid test is very important, even iron. But iron is okay for the adolescent girls. We usually say for iron, like in calcium, estrogens, progesterone, hormones, are important. Even ultrasound is also important.
Q. Why is it important?
A. So it is important so that they see that whether you are into menopause or not, your endometrial is they see the endometrial thickening and thinning, all that.
Q. If your endometrial wall is thick, it is bad?
A. Yes, it is bad.
Q. Why it is bad?
A. I don’t know. It is on the medical side, it is not good. It is a sign of the menopause.
Q. Okay, what else? These are the things that one looks out for. But for instance, estrogen levels, everybody’s talked about that. Can you tell me how do you mend it? Do you take tablets and can you just start because a lot of people are taking estrogen tablets to avoid pregnancy that’s part of your thing. So they already may be having a lot of estrogen. When you’re in menopause, you stop taking those tablets. Does that have an impact?
A. No. See estrogens you should talk to doctor and have it. It is not like you should not take it of your own because it has side effects also. So nowadays many people are taking they’re getting into a lot of very bad diseases also.
Q. What is the side effect?
A. Many people have the cancers and other things also. So you have to be careful. Take a consultation with a gyne doctor talk to them. They will ask for the test. They will see what all the hormones level is and then they will suggest and it’s always good that you take a supplement like supplement from the dietary parts like soya products and other things. Soya products has a very even the seed cycling which is extremely good. Like you can have pumpkin flaxseeds. You should always take supplements with.