13 Best Foods To Eat During Menopause To Reduce Symptoms

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In the battle to improve menopausal symptoms and reduce hot flashes that suck your energy, your easiest starting point is your diet. To make it easier for you I’ve listed here the 13 best foods to eat during menopause and 3 foods to avoid during menopause. There are many foods that will play a part in improving your symptoms but these are the 13 I think are easily accessible and simple to use.

When perimenopause hit me like a freight train in my 40’s I struggled. I had always grappled with keeping weight off but never around my middle. It was my thighs or boobs that got my scathing scrutiny. My stomach was always flat. It seemed almost overnight that it popped out and joined the others on an expansion binge. 

Fat around your middle is visceral fat and is linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes and is a sign of worsening menopausal symptoms.

9 Guilt-Free Foods For Improved Menopause Symptoms

I was having hot flashes at a frequency the likes of which I’ve not heard of from many women I’ve spoken too and my mood swings were heard two streets down.

I Gave Up Sugar And Grains

This was at a time when HRT was getting some bad press so rather than go down that road I researched like a demon. I really only pricked the tip of the iceberg but my research on nutrition for hot flashes prompted me to give up all sugar and grains and not just wheat but all grains including whole grains.

Fantastically the hot flashes disappeared within days. My sleep normalised and with the addition of a Vitamin D supplement (this is the exact one I use), the menopausal mood swings evened out which I am sure the neighbours were rejoicing in.

With further research, I have compiled this list of foods to include and foods to avoid in your menopause diet.

If you add as many of these foods as you can into your diet while avoiding the ones I’ve mentioned below you’ll improve your perimenopause and menopausal symptoms.

This list isn’t plucked from the sky, it’s what I eat, or not, in my own life and I’ve enjoyed exceedingly good health while maintaining my weight and keeping my doctor happy. Women’s health in midlife is now what I love to teach about thought this blog and products I sell and give away.

By making sure you eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and practise some mindful techniques now, you’ll improve your chances of feeling great not only now but also on into post-menopause.

Foods To Eat For Improved Menopause Symptoms

Fruits and vegetables are generally loaded with antioxidants and nutrients which are known to guard against heart disease, diabetes and other midlife health issues as well as reduce symptoms such as hot flashes. Therefore, they are an important part of any diet. Over half your plate should consist of fruits and vegetables while the rest is made up of protein, healthy fats and minimal starches.

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1. Cruciferous Vegetables

It comes as no surprise that cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower make the list for helping to reduce hot flashes in menopause. They contain calcium and vitamin K for strong bones and lots of fibre for improved digestion.

Broccoli, in particular, has a positive impact on estrogen levels increasing the estrogen responsible for reducing the risk of breast cancer.

Don’t forget kale, cabbage, cauliflower, rocket and sprouts are also in the cruciferous family and are also full of fabulous nutrients.

2. Soy

Soy contains isoflavones, which can mimic estrogen in the body. The body is possibly tricked into thinking it has enough estrogen thereby easing menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.

We can enjoy soy in foods like tofu, miso soup, smoothies made with soy protein powder, soy milk, and soybeans which can be added to stews and soups.

Many soy products such as tempeh and miso are fermented so you get the added probiotic boost.

My caveat is to make sure that the soy you buy is organic. Soy is a controversial ingredient due to thin evidence that it is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer and decreased thyroid function.

Different types of soy to help reduce hot flashes in menopausal women

3. Leafy Greens 

Green leafy vegetables are packed full of calcium. Calcium is easily absorbed by the body and is, in fact, more easily absorbed than the calcium in milk. As your bone mass declines in menopause, it is important to do all you can for your bone health and eating foods containing calcium may help do that.

Spinach, however, is high in oxalates which makes it difficult for our bodies to absorb the high levels of calcium it contains. Don’t discount it though as it has other fabulous nutrients.

4. Legumes

Lower estrogen levels are the root cause of some of the more annoying menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. As mentioned earlier phytoestrogens can play a significant role in reducing symptoms such as hot flashes and legumes are a potent source.

They also contain a substance called tryptophan which is instrumental in helping the body produce serotonin that may help boost our mood.

Legumes are also rich in folic acid, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, and fibre and super high in protein.

While we are on the subject of protein it is worth mentioning that protein is vital for keeping our bodies strong, and with estrogen levels on the decline, there can be a reduction in muscle mass and bone strength.

Nuts are a healthy way to increase protein intake without consuming saturated fat.

5. Nuts and Seeds

These powerhouses are loaded with good stuff to help ease our journey through perimenopause and menopause.

High in healthy fats, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, these superfoods are a great addition to your diet.

The oils and fats in nuts and seeds can help prevent dry skin, which, for me has been an ever-present factor in menopause.

Three brazil nuts per day will give you enough selenium for your daily needs. Selenium plays a vital role in our metabolism and thyroid function.

Walnuts, Almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds are all great additions to your diet. Pop a small mixed bag into your handbag to get you through a snack attack.

6. Water

Water will help combat vaginal dryness, dry skin and frizzy hair that many women in menopause can suffer from.

It will also help to keep your whole digestive system oiled which will improve bloating and the bonus is it will plump out those wrinkles.

Make sure you get your eight glasses per day.

Related Post:  Are You Getting Enough Water? The Effects Of Dehydration On Your Health

a flatlay of healthy fats like avocado and olive oil to help reduce weight gain in menopausal women

7. Healthy fats

These are essential for keeping hormone production working smoothly. Hormones travel through the blood and control all our metabolic processes. Keeping them balanced is vital for our health.

Fat is great for keeping you feeling fuller longer and in doing so helps knock out those cravings. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that keep your blood pressure healthy which in turn relieves hot flashes. The best fats to add to your diet include coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, fatty fish such as salmon (that contain Omega-3).

8. Matcha Green Tea

Matcha is chock full of antioxidants which improve stress and inflammation.

It is also known to boost your metabolism helping you to guard against menopause weight gain.

Matcha green tea provides an estimated 10 times as many antioxidants as standard green tea and contains vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium, to support your hormonal balance.

I use matcha in a mix I make up to sprinkle on my homemade muesli.

Organic Matcha Powder 

If you fancy getting the whole tea-making kit this is a good option

Traditional Japenese matcha tea making set.

matcha tea

9. Dairy Products

Dairy products are rich in calcium, vitamin D, and protein and can help improve sleep quality. There is also some evidence to suggest a diet with plenty of calcium and vitamin D rich foods may help lower the risk of early-onset menopause quite significantly.

10. Eggs

Eggs are rich in vitamin D and iron as well as an excellent source of good protein for menopausal and postmenopausal women. Throw a soft boiled egg over your steamed vegetables for a tasty and nutritious lunch. Often you can buy eggs that are enriched with Omega-3 which may also help to reduce hot flashes.

11. Berries

Berries are rich in antioxidants which help fight inflammation and can improve symptoms of menopause. They are a great addition to your oatmeal for a little sweetness or if you craving something special whizz them up with some almond milk and a little brown rice syrup for an afternoon snack.

chicken breast that is a source of lean protein to help reduce menopause symptoms

12. Chicken

Protein is essential to help fight the loss of muscle mass that occurs during menopause due to declining estrogen levels. Chicken is a great way to include lean protein in your diet without high amounts of saturated fats.

13. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are considered the king of superfoods and are extra high in Omega-3 fatty acids, phytoestrogens and B vitamins. They are also possibly the best food for menopause especially for those women seeking a natural alternative.

Omega-3 may help with reducing night sweats and lower your risk of breast cancer.

Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that behave like estrogen in the body and as such reduce the severity of menopause symptoms.

Foods That Make Menopause Sympoms Worse

This list wouldn’t be complete without giving a list of the foods you should avoid. It’s no good to include all the good stuff with one hand while the other is shoving cake into your mouth closely followed by a large gulp of your third coffee of the day.

1. Sugar

Step away from the cake!

Lower levels of estrogen and progesterone can trigger cravings.

Processed foods that are high in sugar and carbs like biscuits and cakes will make you feel good while you are eating them but not for long.

A diet high in processed carbs will cause your body to make less of the hormone that tells you you’ve eaten enough and more of the hormone that tells you you’re hungry.

It will become a vicious cycle that is difficult to break out of and the result will be weight gain.

Sugar will also disrupt the hormone insulin. Insulin is closely connected to all of the other hormones in your body, including estrogen and any disruption can put these hormones out of balance making menopause symptoms infinitely worse.

Related Post:  How To Quit Sugar Easily And Improve Your Health

A cup of coffee with coffee beans showing caffeine can make menopause symptoms worse for menopausal women

2. Caffeine

Find another afternoon pick-me-up.

I could never ask you to give up caffeine if I am unable to do it myself. However, maybe skip the afternoon cup of black gold and stick to just the one (or two) in the morning especially if you suffer from hot flashes.

The hormone imbalance you experience in menopause can cause sleep disturbance so let’s not make that any worse by giving our bodies caffeine to process.

Remember too that hot drinks will raise your temperature fanning the flames of those hot flushes.

3. Alcohol

Another one to think about cutting back on if you suffer from hot flashes.

I feel like the doomsday sayer, but what about that evening glass of wine?

Alcohol may contribute to hot flushes however there is no conclusive evidence to support this. If you find you have more hot flushes after the evening glass of vino, well, it’s bad news. It’s the flushes or the vino.

Alcohol has also been shown to decrease melatonin production. Melatonin regulates our sleep-wake cycles and as we already struggle to get enough sleep in menopause due to fluctuating hormones it may be best to avoid it (source).

Many women in menopause and midlife can be vulnerable to developing anxiety and/or depression. Alcohol will only serve to make these conditions worse.

4. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can contribute to hot flashes. If you often feel overheated consider avoiding spicy foods such as chilli and cayenne pepper which are found in foods like curries and laksas.

Related Post: 3 Foods That Will Make Your Menopause Symptoms Worse

Other Things To Consider

Where you can go organic to avoid pesticides and genetically modified foods which can cause hormonal disruption. This includes meat and dairy.

Try fasting 

Fasting for 12-16 hours overnight will force your body to use fat stores for energy. If you can’t do this then at least leave 4 hours between meals without snacks so that your body doesn’t have a constant supply of glucose to use as energy. 

Intermittent fasting helps your body with fat loss and better processing of carbs and sugar.

Menopausal women are more susceptible to anxiety, depression and brain fog. Studies have shown that fasting can improve self-esteem and soothe feelings of stress, depression and anxiety

Related Post: Stop Bloating And Menopause Weight Gain With Intermittent Fasting

Eat plenty of fibre 

This helps to keep everything moving through the body while dragging toxins, waste and oestrogen you don’t need with it.

We’re talking, lots of vegs, especially leafy greens, as well as fruit,  linseed, chia, psyllium husk, whole grains and lentils.

Your salt intake

Check the packaged foods you buy are not too high and don’t add salt in cooking or at the table. 

Conclusion

The foods listed here are some of the best to eat to improve menopause symptoms and are the same foods that I would recommend as part of any normal healthy diet.

Along with regular exercise, these foods can help you lose weight, sleep better, lower stress and improve women’s health in general.

It is an added bonus that these foods can also improve menopause and perimenopausal symptoms.

Whatever time of your life you are at I urge you to consider what you include in your diet and lifestyle and make choices that will serve your health well. As always with your health consider if advice, diagnosis or treatment from a qualified physician as another avenue for gatering the information you need.

References:

Prevent Midlife Weight Gain

Menopause Diet: How What You Eat Affects Your Symptoms

Study Shows Soy Protein Helps Relieve Menopausal Symptoms

a pin with images of healthy foods to reduce menopause symptoms

Photo of author

Jane Lamason

Hi, I'm Jane. I'm a certified health and life coach and the owner at janelamason.com. I help women over 50 navigate menopause and life beyond fifty. I offer simple strategies for improving your health naturally and encourage women to take control of their own health in ways that don't impact on their lifestyle or time.

21 thoughts on “13 Best Foods To Eat During Menopause To Reduce Symptoms”

  1. Hi,
    Just found this article. Really enjoyed the helpful info and I’ll be implementing all of it!?
    Tweaking my 3rd year into these symptoms/issues.
    I wondered if you had any extra insight dealing with the emotions?
    I am a natural optimist and encourager but now I seem to be so melancholy (very weepy) with anxiousness. The anxiousness coincides with the hot flashes but I’m not sure which is causing which.?
    Thank you for any insight.?

    Reply
    • Hi Robin, I’m so glad you found this helpful. Yes hot flashes and that stabbing feeling of anxiety can go hand in hand. There are so many possible causes such as diet, hormone imbalance, stress, lack of sleep. The trigger that starts the hot flash also gives you that feeling of anxiety. Stop one and you in most cased you should stop the other. It is best approached holisitcly with improved diet, better sleep, mindful activities to lower stress and hormone balance. The one thing I found for myself that worked had the an almost immediate impact was cutting out sugar. For myself I cut out all added sugar and fruit except for raspberries which I had on my muesli in the morning and in any sugar free desserts I made. Don’t forget sugar would include empty carbs like pasta, rice and bread. These turn into a form of sugar in our bodies very fast. This is long winded but I hope it helps.
      Cheers Jane :)

      Reply
      • Thank you Jane for the reply. ?
        Yes, I eat mostly a AIP / Paleo leaning keto (very light dairy) diet.
        I have found even stevia and monk fruit sweeteners are not helpful.?
        I am trying IF right now (16/8 window).
        Working on the balance. ?

        Reply
  2. Hi Jane

    Thank you so much for this information. I already eat the majority of the foods listed. And I will incorporate all of them and try avoiding the bad ones. I’m not only dealing with menopause, I also have diabetes which I’m working on reversing. These foods will help me on my journey to be free of medication and prayerfully free of diabetes. Thank you

    Reply
    • So glad it helped Samantha. I hope you have success with your diabetes. I’m sure you already know but all the usual things apply. Cut out as much sugar from your diet as you can and I would include high sugar fruits in that and definitely processed carbs such as pasta, rice, biscuits etc. Also cut out saturated and unhealthy fats such as fatty meat, trans fat and processed oils but include the healthy fats, whole nuts, seeds, avocados, nut butter. Exercise, get good sleep and cut down on the stress. Limit alcohol and if you smoke see if you can quit.
      Good luck, would love to hear how you do.
      Jane :)

      Reply
  3. Thank you so much for the good info. I’m suffering with anywhere from 70-80 hotflashes a day and 20 plus a night. I’m exhausted. Going to take out the sugar and grains and increase my veggies.

    Reply
    • Wow! That would definitely be exhausting. Mine were pretty regular too but possibly not as often as yours. Sleep was hopeless. I completly cut out all added sugar and cut down on high sugar fruits and starchy veg. I cut out pretty much all grains including quinoa. I continued with raspberry and kiwifruit and a little sweet potato. The hot flushes disappeared within about 2 weeks. Let me know how you go I would love to hear. Big bonus was I lost weight too!

      Reply
    • I was having the same problem with hot flashes. After suffering for many months I read about flax seed. I started taking 3 tablespoons of fresh ground flaxseed a day. Within 2 weeks they almost went away. I keep my whole flaxseed in the freezer and grind it myself. I add it to my smoothie every morn. Don’t miss a day.
      I hope this helps.

      Reply
  4. I love this down to earth post. I appreciate all the info and have been doing some of them, but will add more of these. Thank you!

    Reply
  5. Thank you for sharing. I have learned a lot. I have been drinking aloe vera juice for years and i think that helps too.

    Reply

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