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HWHR Managing Mind and Mood Symptoms
Episode 17Bonus Episode15th September 2022 • She Runs Eats Performs • Runners Health Hub
00:00:00 00:38:47

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HWHR - Managing mind and Mood Symptoms

Mind and Mood symptoms can be debilitating for many women transitioning through menopause. Symptoms that may range from brain fog and low mood to anxiety and depression for some females. 

In this episode we give a snapshot introduction to the potential reasons and risk factors for these symptoms and outline some nutritional strategies a mid-life female runner may wish to introduce to help manage or alleviate them. 

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Exploring the recognised cause of mind and mood symptoms as a female transitions through Menopause with an emphasis on the two phases of perimenopause:

Early Phase – one or more missed menstrual cycles OR a persistent difference of 7 days (or more) in length of consecutive cycles

Late Phase – menstrual irregularity progresses to longer periods of amenorrhea and more dramatic fluctuations in sex hormones  


Discussing key risk factors that may help explain why some women are more susceptible to mind and mood symptoms as they transition through menopause including:

Psychosocial Resources – how well an individual copes with life events generally plus what social support an individual may have

Mindset – a woman’s expectations of the transition and the way they regard menopause may impact on their psychological wellbeing during this phase of life

Exercise – it is thought that women who exercise experience less psychological symptoms as they progress through menopause besides their more sedentary counterparts

History of anxiety/depression – a previous history of these conditions may lead to an increased likelihood of them occurring during perimenopause


Considering the impact of mind and mood symptoms on a mid-life female runner with a focus on the positive outcomes from “running through menopause” including:

  • Better emotional wellbeing
  • Better self-image
  • Better self-confidence
  • Less anger/irritability 

BUT…it is important to recognise that long-distance or intensive running may impact on mood negatively as a result of an exercise-induced stress response affecting hormone balance  


Looking at the potential nutritional factors that may be implicated in the development or exacerbation of mind and mood symptoms as a woman transitions through mid-life including:

An overconsumption of refined carbohydrate rich foods and sugars – these foods are well known to lead to a disruption in hormone balance ranging from insulin to cortisol, both of which influence sex hormone balance

Low fibre diet – fibre is supportive of toxin removal from the body including xenoestrogens (chemical compounds that mimic oestrogen)

Low intake of fruit and vegetables – therefore low intake of phytonutrients, which are known to be cell protective 


Outlining some dietary and nutritional habits to consider to support positive mental health and hormone balance including:

Phytoestrogenic foods – phytoestrogens being compounds found naturally in many plant-based foods with their chemical structure and effects being very similar to that of oestrogen, albeit their effects are weaker

Fennel and passionfruit – both thought to help reduce anxiety

Pre and probiotic foods – important for the absorption of phytoestrogenic compounds 


Giving an action point to consider putting into place NOW that may help support any symptoms as you move through menopause

ACTION POINT: Introduce an everyday healthy diet CONSISTENTLY. 

By introducing this concept here, it will help ensure that a variety of natural and whole foods are being consumed, which could support hormone balance. This is a simple step, but potentially a big step towards attaining more hormonal balance therefore, helping to diminish any negative mind and mood symptoms


Healthy Mind for Happy Running

Eat Sleep Run

FOOD FOR...Hormonal Balance and Running 


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and

advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact

your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded female runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.

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Happy Running!

Aileen and Karen 


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