Marilyn Glenville PhD, one of the United Kingdom's leading nutritional therapists,
has specialized in women's health for more than 25 years. She is the author of internationally best
selling books including 'New Natural Alternatives to HRT', 'Natural Solutions to Infertility'
, 'Osteoporosis - The Silent Epidemic', 'Fat around the Middle' and 'The Nutritional Health Handbook for Women'.
She spoke with me about what women can do to feel good and stay healthy.
What are the three most important actions a woman can take to promote good health?
I advise women to get their blood sugar in balance, eat more essential fatty acids
and take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. You will be amazed at how much better you feel,
even within a week or two.
We should eat small amounts of food every three hours and
try to avoid added sugar, alcohol and caffeine 80 percent of the time.
Symptoms of fluctuations in blood sugar include headaches, inability to concentrate,
forgetfulness, feeling lightheaded, irritability, depression, anxiety and lack of energy.
So many women go to their doctors with such symptoms and are told it is a hormonal problem
and then treated for PMS or menopause.
What is the current thinking on hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?
The results of a large American study released in 2002 changed the thinking on HRT, at least here in the UK.
Now women who choose to take HRT are advised to do so only to relieve menopausal symptoms and not for more than five years.
The menopause is not an illness. Menopause is simply a transition so "treating" it involves alleviating symptoms until
a woman has passed through the transition and out the other side. It is a natural event and should be treated naturally.
For example there are a number of good studies on herbs like black cohosh to help relieve symptoms.
In the UK HRT is no longer prescribed for prevention of osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is so common today. Are we more at risk than our mothers?
Yes. The latest statistics are that one in two women will develop osteoporosis after age 50.
Our risk of osteoporosis is actually much higher than our risk of breast cancer, which is one in nine
. The increase in our risk for osteoporosis is due to a combination of lifestyle factors.
We aren't as active as our mothers and grandmothers were, and we eat foods that are more refined and acidic.
The balance of acidity and alkalinity in the diet affects bone loss.
Scientists have studied the diets of women in different places around the
world who have a low incidence of osteoporosis. These women do not eat as much meat
and dairy as most Western women do. Meat, refined carbohydrates and certain dairy products,
especially cheese, are acidic so eating large amounts can have a detrimental effect on bone.
Of course the body needs protein for bones, hair, skin and nails so again it is a question of balance.
Fizzy drinks such as colas are also culprits as they contain phosphoric acid.
Too much phosphorous triggers the body to remove calcium from the bones to counteract the acidity.
Teenage girls who drink fizzy drinks aren't forming enough bone density at a critical time to do so.
So we need to think about our daughters as well.
Do you recommend taking calcium supplements?
It is not just calcium that matters. Minerals like magnesium,
zinc and boron are also critical. That is why I advise women to take a good
daily multivitamin and mineral supplement as an insurance policy.
We can't always depend on our food having the nutrients it should have because
of the way it is farmed or the distance it has traveled.
What about dieting?
Women shouldn't crash diet in the years around menopause.
High protein diets are especially detrimental to the bones and kidneys.
We need a bit of body fat to protect the bones and because the body produces estrogen from the fat cells.
Again it is a matter of balance. We don't want to be too thin or too overweight.
Being too thin puts you at a much higher risk for osteoporosis.
Most women worry about eating fatty foods, yet you believe that we need more essential fatty acids in our diets.
We do need fats in the diet, just not saturated fats. Essential fatty acids have an anti-aging effect
and lubricate the body from the inside out, including our skin, hair and joints. So it is beneficial
to eat oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocados. Soy, chick peas and lentils are also terrific when eaten as
they are in cultures whose diets are rich in these foods. This means eating humus,
dhal or tofu, rather than drinking soy milk or other products derived from these foods.
Hydrogenated vegetable oils, often found in margarines, biscuits, cookies and crisps,
are worse for us than even saturated fats. Read labels and avoid any product containing hydrogenated oils.
For more information about Dr. Glenville please visit: www.marilynglenville.com