What's the best menopause diet?

Can your diet affect the symptoms of menopause? Menopause is a natural transition in every woman’s life. It can be a difficult time with many wondering what the best vitamins for menopause are or the best diet for menopause. 

For all women, diet and lifestyle changes can help with menopause symptoms. What you eat and drink has the ability to reduce the symptoms and ease the transition. 

A menopause diet might include making healthier choices with food, avoiding food and drinks that can worsen the symptoms or using vitamin supplements.

Can diet impact menopause symptoms? 

When it comes to the menopause, making lifestyle changes is important, especially following a balanced diet. 

Grabbing those unhealthy foods can worsen your menopause symptoms, such as hot flushes, insomnia and can increase your risk of gaining weight. 

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Things to include in your diet on the menopause

Fruits and vegetables 

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals, fibre and antioxidants. You should aim to fill your plate with fruits and vegetables - make it as colourful as possible! 

A study has shown that menopausal women who eat more fruit and vegetables experience a 19% reduction in hot flushes.

Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli are loaded with antioxidants, as are bell peppers, eggplants, tomatoes and carrots. 

When it comes to fruits, mangos, cherries and berries are also full of powerful antioxidants. 

Dairy products

When you are going through the menopause, the decline in oestrogen can put you at risk of osteoporosis.

Including more dairy in your diet through products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese can improve your bone health. They contain calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and vitamins D and K, which are all essential for bone health and improving bone density. 

Dairy also has the ability to help with improving sleep, helping you to get a better night's rest. 

Foods naturally high in oestrogen 

Phytoestrogens are plant-based agents that naturally copy oestrogen. They are found in many different foods such as:

  • Green and black tea
  • Chickpeas
  • Peanuts
  • Flax seeds 
  • Soybeans 
  • Barley 
  • Berries 
  • Plums 

Foods that are naturally high in oestrogen have the ability to reduce the frequency of hot flushes. 

Healthy fats

Healthy fats are essential for you to include in your diet during the menopause. They can help with the normal function of your brain and help with forgetfulness and brain fog. 

Your skin changes a lot during the menopause; including healthy fats can keep your skin glowing. 

Having healthy fats is important for a woman’s health, especially during the menopause. You need all the hormones you can get and you need a certain amount of fat in your diet to be able to produce hormones. 

You should aim to eat healthy fats such as eggs, fatty fish, oils, nuts, dark chocolate, full-fat yoghurt and seeds. 

Whole grains 

Women going through the menopause are at a higher risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Adding whole grains to your diet can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. 

Whole grains such as oats, bulger, barley, wheat and brown rice are also packed full of nutrients like fibre and B vitamins, helping to contribute to a healthy diet. 

Protein 

Women going through the menopause are likely to experience decreased bone strength and muscle mass. Protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to muscle mass so it is important to increase your intake when you are going through the change. 

It is recommended that you eat 20-25g of high quality protein per meal. Sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, legumes and dairy products. 

Things you should avoid in your diet on the menopause

Caffeine 

Drinking caffeine during the menopause can make symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats worse or more frequent. You should consider lowering your caffeine intake if you are struggling with these symptoms. 

Caffeine is a stimulant. If you are already struggling with insomnia, drinking caffeine, especially before bed, can make this worse. 

Alcohol 

When you are going through the menopause you should limit your alcohol intake. Alcohol disrupts your blood sugar levels which are important during the menopause. Having a stable blood sugar level regulates the mood and prevents additional mood swings. 

It can also increase your blood pressure and heighten the physical symptoms of menopause, in particular night sweats, hot flushes and anxiety. 

Too much sugar 

A high sugar intake can make symptoms of the menopause worse. Cutting down on the amount of sugar you consume helps with the effect of menopause. 

Lowering your sugar consumption can help to balance your hormonal levels and decrease menopausal symptoms. 

Too much sugar can also raise your cholesterol levels and cause other health issues.

Too much salt 

When it comes to the menopause, you should be cautious of how much salt is in your diet. Menopausal women who have a sodium intake higher than 2 grams a day have been linked to a 28% higher risk of low bone mineral density.

Reducing the amount of salt in your diet can also help to lower the risk of developing high blood pressure.

Processed carbs 

During the menopause, your body’s ability to metabolise carbs is affected. The drop of oestrogen levels causes the body to work harder to metabolise carbs. Your metabolism slows down, and for some this leads to weight gain. 

You should try to limit the amount of processed carbs you eat. They can also be a risk factor for poor sleep in menopausal women.

Spicy foods 

It is recommended to avoid spicy foods during the menopause as they can cause an increase in hot flushes. Spicy foods also have the ability to cause excess sweating.

Spicy foods have the ability to increase the temperature in the body. 

Vitamins and supplements

As you go through menopause, certain vitamins can help you to manage the symptoms that come with it. 

Taking supplements such as vitamin D can help to keep your bones healthy. It also has the ability to help stabilise your mood. 

Red cover is also a supplement that will help you with your menopause symptoms. It is known to reduce symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats because of their oestrogen-like effects.

If you are struggling with hot flushes, black cohosh is the perfect supplement to help with them.

Woman drinking a green smoothie

As menopause is linked to a change in your metabolism, you are at an increased risk of heart disease and reduced bone density. So it is important to make sure you are including the important nutrients that you need in your diet.

Including whole foods in your diet, fruit and vegetables, protein and dairy products will help you with the symptoms of the menopause.

On the other hand, you should consider limiting alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, processed carbs, sugar and salt so that you don’t worsen your symptoms.

Olivia Malone - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 19 January 2024
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