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Transition Toolkit: 4 Key For Managing Symptoms

Nutrition: Though essential at every stage of life, good nutrition can actually help ease symptoms during perimenopause. There's good evidence for increasing your intake of isoflavones, found in whole-soy products like tempeh, tofu, and miso, and for incorporating omega-3s in your diet, found in foods like wild salmon, mackerel, and flaxseed. Also, watch out for ingredients that can trigger perimenopausal symptoms, such as sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.

Supplements and herbs: Certain supplements, such as calcium (600 mg twice daily) and magnesium (200 mg twice daily), can ease cramping, breast tenderness, bloating, food cravings, and irritability, and they're believed to be important in bone health. Extract of black cohosh (Cimicifusa racemosa) is the best-studied herbal remedy for the treatment of hot flashes. Taken in a dosage of 40 mg twice daily (standardized to 2.5 percent triterpenes), black cohosh is effective for many women.

Fitness: If you don't have an exercise routine, now is the time to develop one. Most of the conditions that women may suffer after menopause (breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis) can be significantly decreased by regular exercise. While definitive studies haven't been performed, it is likely that women who are physically fit have fewer menopausal symptoms.

Relaxation: Incorporating mind/body techniques into your routine can reduce physical and mental stress and decrease symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes. Do a relaxation exercise such as deep breathing or meditation twice a day, and consider starting a regular yoga or tai chi practice.

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