Gluten, Exercise, and the Microbiome: Menopause Health News

Sierra Sunset © lynette sheppard

Greetings from the Sierra. Hope all you menopause goddesses have been keeping cool and having wonderful summers. It’s been warm but lovely up here in Lake Tahoe. And my sabbatical has been rejuvenating in the extreme.

Now to the menopause news. I’ve been involved in the Nurse’s Health Study for 40 + years. This is the longest prospective health study EVER. For those who are not research geeks or health care professionals, prospective studies tell us a great deal more than retrospective (looking back) studies. In other words, we really learn the effects of lifestyle and regimens on our health in real time.

Here are some of the latest findings of the Nurse’s Health Study.


We all know that exercise is good for us and necessary for optimal health. But we don’t have to become triathletes or exercise junkies. And while it’s good to slim down, sometimes that is difficult after the Pause. Here’s the good news: the researchers found that exercise decreases risk of CHD (that’s coronary heart disease) regardless of weight. Women who walked briskly 2.5 hours a week had a 35% lower risk of developing CHD. 35% – that’s huge. And all we have to do is walk.


For some years now, there has been a buzz about gluten-free options as a healthier alternative. But not so fast. Unless you have true gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, you may be missing out on the health benefits of gluten. Turns out that men and women with the highest level of gluten intake had a 20% lower risk of Type II diabetes as compared with those of lowest gluten intake. Gluten is a plant based protein so can supplant meat for nutritional health. Bottom line:  if you really don’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, eat your whole grains happily.

Gut Health

The most recent research in the Nurse’s Health study will be focusing on the microbiome and its relation to overall health. Stay tuned for those results as they become available.

And remember, all things in moderation. Including Excess!

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3 Responses to Gluten, Exercise, and the Microbiome: Menopause Health News

  1. Ravi Lescher July 30, 2019 at 10:10 am #

    As a physical therapist and previous alternative health practitioner, 1) Exercise: remember that it all adds up – 3 10 minute bouts a day is similar to 1 30 minute bout…. so keep moving within your tolerance; 2) The Gut – such a popular subject these days… I trained/had clients in the past where I focused on abdominal massage (Chi Nei Tsang), and I would love to see more studies on the very real connection of long term stress and repressed emotions that are “stored” in the gut. P.S. My personal blog is (could not enter this in the data box below/did not recognize). Thanks for reading.

  2. Brian July 30, 2019 at 2:44 pm #

    Glad you are bringing forward Gut Health and the impacts our individual microbiome can have on overall health and well-being – it is fascinating research – looking forward to your articles on it.

  3. Cathie Haynes July 31, 2019 at 10:07 am #

    As a fellow R.N. it’s great to hear of some of the nurse longitudinal study’s finding!!!!! Just a comment about the gluten: while the percentage of true celiac disease where gluten is not tolerated, there are also a huge number of individuals now who just cannot digest grains, gluten or no. I am hearing of more and more as I connect with others r/t their health and eating habits.
    Also, FAB. picture of Tahoe sunset!!!!! Gratitude for your sharing, Lynette.

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