What is a good diet for menopause? A helpful menopause diet plan might alleviate some menopause symptoms and will help prevent common post-menopause health concerns. It’s not about looking a certain way, and you shouldn’t feel like there is something wrong with you that needs to be fixed. There is no best diet for menopause except the one that makes you feel strong and healthy. And that’s what we’re talking about here!
Foods for menopause
Menopause nutrition is all about finding the best fuel to live the life you want to live. Let’s take a look at what can hinder and what can help.
But first, some background about what happens when you go through menopause:
- Your estrogen levels drop. This might impact your metabolism and could affect your cholesterol levels.
- The balance of your hormones changes, which may affect your bone density.
- You may experience hot flashes.
What foods make menopause worse?
No, you don’t absolutely have to cut these out of your diet. But if you’re looking to relieve symptoms, you might want to experiment with removing these foods from your diet and see if you feel better:
- Spicy food. This might fuel the flames of those flashes.
- Caffeine. Yeah, those hot flashes again.
- Alcohol. It can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer, which you’re more at risk for after menopause.
- Processed foods. They’re high in salt and sugar and may leave you feeling bloated.
- Fast food. The high-fat content may lead to heart disease, and the risk factors are likely higher for you at the moment. Another thing? There might be a link between high-fat content and depression.
You know your body best. If it feels as though a particular kind of food or drink is making you feel worse, it might be best to cut back.
Right. Onto what is helpful. 🙌
What is the best diet for menopause?
Short answer? The one that makes you feel good. For most people that means something that’s high in nutritional value, balanced, and sustainable for their lifestyle.
Here are some nutrients and foods to look for:
- Calcium. With the decrease in estrogen comes an increase in the risk of conditions such as osteoporosis. Keeping your calcium levels up can really help.
Foods that are rich in calcium include dairy products, seeds, sardines, legumes, nuts, and some leafy greens (spinach, kale and collard greens are good ones).
- Magnesium. Magnesium also helps keep your bones strong, and may even improve sleep and help with depression.
Bananas, almonds, avocados, oatmeal, spinach, some fish, tofu, beans—all high in magnesium.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Good news—omega 3s help with hot flashes. They also help out in all sorts of other areas, like cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, macular degeneration, and the management of rheumatoid arthritis. So how do you get them into your diet?
Fish (especially of the fatty variety like tuna, sardines, and salmon), nuts, seeds, plant oils, and fortified foods, are all sources of this mega nutrient.
- Phytoestrogens. Basically, this is plant estrogen—and studies show that it can help relieve hot flashes in some people by mimicking what our own estrogen does.
BUT—and this is really important—phytoestrogens do behave differently to our natural estrogen, and different bodies respond to phytoestrogens in different ways. Also, the research is still quite new. This is by no means the answer for everyone.
Some common sources? Soy, broccoli, carrots, legumes, oranges, licorice root, and evening primrose.
And, if you can’t get these into your diet, vitamin supplements can help—just be sure to do your research as there is a lot of snake oil out there.
Mix it up. Experiment. Find what makes you feel good.
This can be a seriously powerful time that can bring with it a renewed confidence and vitality. We hardly ever get that side of the story though—so maybe it’s more than time we changed the conversation (or had it at all).
Dare we say it—enjoy.
📚 More on menopause:
Introducing, Peanut Menopause
What Happens During Menopause?
How to Deal With Menopause
When Does Menopause Start?
How Long Does Menopause Last?
Painful Sex After Menopause? What to Know