Itchy Crawly Skin

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This is the first post in a new series I’m entitling “Food as Medicine.”  After several years of reading and writing about perimenopause, I’ve come to the conclusion that food is as important in managing the symptoms of perimenopause, as I believe bioidentical hormones are.

In fact, I would likely say that food is even more important.

Now, I’m not about to tell anyone to throw out their hormones. I’m certainly not going to throw out mine. But, in the coming months – and perhaps even years, who knows  –  I plan to devote a significant amount of time researching the benefits of food as medicine as another way to treat the symptoms of perimenopause.

I have been astonished a lifetime by the fact that food is and continues to be grossly under-represented and under-emphasized in the education and training of our physicians and medical professionals.

Thirty years ago when I was studying to become an RN (a degree I never finished), I was gobsmacked to learn in one of my clinical classes that Florence Nightingale was considered “revolutionary” when she suggested that sunshine, fresh air, clean sheets, and healthy food were needed to help heal the sick. Incredible isn’t it? How can something so obvious elude so many?

And yet, not much has changed in the past thirty years.

I think a big part of this problem lies with the insidious creep of the pharmaceutical companies which continue to increase in prestige and power, not just within the medical community, but in our culture as well.

There is a pharmaceutical fix for every ache, pain, or discomfort we might experience. And with every new medical breakthrough and discovery, there is a corresponding drug, medical condition, and television advertising campaign to go along with it.

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For women in perimenopause, the pharmaceutical industry sees an absolute gold mine.  We are perhaps the most sought after demographic when it comes to peddling drugs, treatments, and your garden variety snake oils.

Again, I’m not advocating we all throw out our hormones or anything else you might take to relieve your hormonal suffering. I’m simply suggesting that we need to give food and the benefits of food for improving our health and alleviating symptoms, a long, hard look.

With all of that said let’s begin the series with Omega-3s and Zinc as a food remedy for itchy skin and itchy scalp in perimenopause.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Itchy Skin & Itchy Scalp in Perimenopause

Essential fatty acids such as Omega-3s can be found in salmon, walnuts, fortified eggs, or algae oils. Omega-3s  help produce an oil barrier for our skin, which aids in hydration.

Omega-3s also promote a healthy scalp, which reduces itch, which in turn promotes healthy hair, which also promotes a healthy scalp, and the healthy cycle continues.

I’m a personal fan of flaxseed oil for a source of Omega-3.  I love to add it to my green smoothies which I make with my Nutribullet.  Whole flaxseeds can be ground up in the Nutribullet for an added source of fiber as well.

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Other sources of Omega-3s are sardines, soybeans, soy products, shrimp, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and even beef.  Omega-3 fatty acids are easy for me to incorporate into my diet because I happen to love oily fish.

However, if you do not, these other sources are good as well. And of course, you an always use omega-3 supplements too. Barleen’s makes an organic soft-gel in 1000 mgs, Deva puts out an organic vegan Flaxseed cap, and New Chapter also puts out a good supplement.

Zinc for Itchy Skin & Itchy Scalp in Perimenopause

Zinc is an essential mineral in our diet for the maintenance of skin, hair and nails. A deficiency in Zinc contributes to both itchy skin and scalp, dandruff and eczema.

And here’s the great news: All of the foods which I have listed as an excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are also excellent sources of Zinc as well.

For other sources of Zinc, you can eat lamb, oysters, wheat germ, spinach (which I also put in my Nutribullet green smoothies), pumpkin and squash seeds, and cashews.

Other Natural Remedies for Itchy Skin & Itchy Scalp in Perimenopause

DHSIn another post I listed some natural, non-food remedies for itchy scalp.  You can read that post here.

It includes a recommendation for a shampoo by a company called DHS.  They make an outstanding Zinc formula which I can’t say enough good things about.

It was recommended to me by my dermatologist and it is simply outstanding. I use it along with a baking soda/cider vinegar rinse that I discuss in the post.

And finally, in anther post I wrote on this topic a few years ago, I also make some recommendations on non-food solutions for itchy skin. However, rather than repeat myself,  I’ll direct you to that post right here.  

So that’s it, ladies!  My next post on “Food as Medicine” will be sources of food which can help with achy joints and muscles during perimenopause. Until then, don’t forget to join us at Facebook if you haven’t already!

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