pelvisawareness_adminHormonal Changes

What Foods To Eat in Menopause

Suffering from hot flashes and night sweats? Feeling tired, anxious and bloated?

If you’re in menopause, you likely know those familiar feelings, and you may suffer from even more side effects of menopause. 

If you are what you eat, your diet may make a difference. While eliminating spicy foods or limiting alcohol may help ease those symptoms, what about foods you should eat? What foods are good to eat in menopause? Here’s our list.

Diet and Menopause

Menopause is a natural part of life, marked by a transition to the end of menstrual cycles. It can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age for women in the United States is 51.1

Menopause is diagnosed after you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period, but the many side effects can be experienced In the months or years leading up to menopause, known as perimenopause.1

Symptoms may even extend into postmenopause, the time after you haven’t had a period for an entire year—in other words, the rest of your life after menopause. Some women experience menopausal symptoms for a decade or longer after the menopause transition.2

A lower estrogen level creates these symptoms. Hot flashes are the most commonly discussed impact, but you may also have chills, problems sleeping, mood changes, weight gain, thinning hair and dry skin.1

While treatments such as hormone therapy may help, lifestyle changes including diet may also be beneficial. 

What Foods Are Good to Eat in Menopause

Besides causing symptoms of menopause, lower levels of estrogen can also increase your risk for several health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.2 That makes having a well-balanced diet important for your health as well as to help combat annoying symptoms.3

A simple guideline is to eat a variety of vegetables, plant-based foods, as well as lean proteins and whole grains, and add calcium to your diet.3

Here are the specifics of what foods are good to eat in menopause:

1. Leafy green vegetables: good for bone health and can help with managing weight. Spinach, for instance, is a great source of calcium.3 Many fruits and vegetables are also rich in antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage.4

2. Lean protein: can help with weight management while also supporting bone strength and muscle mass. Think less red meat and more grilled chicken, tuna, lentils and beans.3 Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, can improve mood and brain function, as well as help keep blood pressure levels in check.4

3. So called “cooling foods”: which may help with hot flashes. Apples, bananas, broccoli, eggs and green tea may help you cool down, while being rich in nutrients and disease-fighting chemicals.4

4. Water: is always good for you, but staying hydrated during menopause can help keep your weight in check while helping your body flush out toxins and absorb nutrients.4

5. Phytoestrogens: also known as plant estrogens, certain foods are believed to act in a similar way to estrogen, helping to keep hormones a little more balanced.5 A high intake is believed to help with symptoms like hot flashes.6 These include: soya milk and soya flour, linseeds, tofu, tempeh and miso, pumpkins seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, celery, rhubarb and green beans.5

6. Bone-healthy food: sources of calcium, magnesium and vitamins D and K will help maintain bone integrity.5 High sources of calcium include cow’s milk or soy milk, yogurt and low-fat cheese.3 Foods high in magnesium and boron help with the replacement of bone and thus help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. This includes apples, pears, grapes, dates, raisins, legumes and nuts.5

In general, it’s also good to eat fewer calories. Watch the amount of fat in your diet, cut back on sugar, and reach for complex instead of simple carbohydrates—brown grains, whole wheat pasta, bread and rice will help balance blood sugar levels and keep you feeling fuller for longer.5

Ask Your Doctor 

If you are in menopause and wondering how your diet can help your symptoms, use our Physician Finder to find a doctor near you with expertise in women’s health. Ask about what foods are right for you, and whether you need to add supplements like calcium, magnesium or Vitamin D, which also help with bone health. See your doctor to continue with preventive health care tests such as breast and pelvic exams, and always see a healthcare provider if you have bleeding from your vagina after menopause.1