7 oestrogen-boosting foods that help with the menopause
Vegetables

Hot flushes, brain fog, mood changes. These are just a few symptoms of the menopause, and it can be hard to feel like yourself. Your declining oestrogen levels are to blame, but thankfully, there are certain foods that may be able to give them a well-needed boost.

In this guide, we'll highlight 7 foods with a high oestrogen content, helping to ease menopausal symptoms and promote that all-important hormonal balance. With the right diet, you can face menopause with confidence. 

How is it possible for food to contain oestrogen?

Certain foods contain phytoestrogens [1], natural compounds that resemble oestrogen. They can interact with the body's oestrogen receptors to create a milder ‘oestrogen-like’ effect. 

When these foods are consumed, the phytoestrogens can mimic the effects of natural oestrogen, but it's important to note that their impact is weaker. 

This mild oestrogenic action has led to their use in managing certain health conditions, including helping with some menopausal symptoms.

Why you should choose high oestrogen foods during the menopause 

High oestrogen foods may provide relief from uncomfortable menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings, while also aiding bone health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis[2].

They may also have a positive impact on heart health, emotional well-being, skin health, cognitive function and energy levels. 

Including these foods in your diet offers a holistic and natural approach to navigating the menopausal transition, which can be useful if you’re not keen or can’t use medication like hormone replacement therapy (HRT)[3].

Foods with a high oestrogen content 

Peaches

Peaches not only offer a wealth of essential vitamins, but they also contain phytoestrogens known as lignans. 

Research[4] suggests that consuming at least two peaches per week can lower the risk of breast cancer in menopausal women by 15%, thanks to their high lignan content.

Berries

Berries – such as cranberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries – have gained popularity for their health benefits. 

They’re packed with vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and valuable plant compounds, among which phytoestrogens are included. 

Woman drinking a green smoothie

Dried fruits 

Dried fruits, such as apricots, dates and prunes, are often considered a source of phytoestrogens. 

They may provide some benefits during menopause by helping to alleviate certain symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings, and they can support bone health, too.

They’re the ideal choice for a healthy, fuss-free snack, especially if you’re on the go!

Brassica vegetables

Brassica or cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage and sprouts, and all include phytoestrogens. 

But their primary advantage lies in their high nutritional value, including vitamins, minerals and fibre, which can support bone health, reduce the risk of heart disease and aid in managing menopausal symptoms.

Garlic

Garlic, while not a significant source of phytoestrogens like some other foods, offers various health benefits that can be relevant during menopause. 

It contains antioxidants and compounds that may help reduce the risk of heart disease and support overall cardiovascular health. 

Additionally, garlic has been associated with potential bone-preserving effects, which can be important for women going through menopause, as bone health becomes a concern.

Legumes 

Legumes, like soybeans, are beneficial during the menopause for several reasons. They contain phytoestrogens, which help balance hormones and reduce common symptoms.

If you’re looking for a way to get them into your diet, try tofu, which is simply made of dried soybeans that have been soaked in water, crushed and boiled.

Legumes also support bone health, crucial for postmenopausal women, and help reduce the risk of heart disease, which can increase after menopause. 

Their fibre and protein content aids in weight management, another common concern during this phase. 

Nuts and seeds 

Some nuts and seeds, like flax seeds and sesame seeds, contain phytoestrogens that can help balance hormones. 

Nuts, in particular, are rich in heart-healthy fats that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, a concern that often becomes more prominent during and after menopause.

Additionally, they provide essential minerals like calcium and magnesium, supporting bone health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Bowl of healthy foods

Incorporating oestrogen-boosting foods into your diet can help you better manage menopausal symptoms and balance hormone levels. We’ve mentioned the importance of 7 vital foods that contain phytoestrogens, like legumes, cruciferous vegetables and dried fruits.

While these foods aren’t instant, cure-all solutions, they can significantly support your well-being during menopause, especially when paired with other lifestyle changes and medication, if it’s suitable for you.

Keep in mind that everyone's experience is unique, so it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist to create a personalised diet plan.

Alexandra Moses - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 21 November 2023
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