A helpful menopause diet plan might alleviate some menopause symptoms and could even help prevent common post-menopause health concerns.
But before we delve in, let’s be clear: It’s not about looking a certain way.
Nor is it about feeling like there’s something wrong with you that needs to be fixed.
The best diet for menopause is the one that makes you feel strong, healthy, and good.
And that’s exactly what we’re talking about here!
In this article: 📝
- Why is menopause nutrition important?
- What foods make menopause worse?
- What is the best diet for menopause?
Why is menopause nutrition important?
During menopause, your body undergoes significant hormonal shifts that can impact your metabolism, bone health, and overall well-being.
This is where nutrition swoops in as your secret weapon, offering support that goes beyond mere sustenance.
Menopause nutrition is all about finding the best fuel to live the life you want to live. 🌱
And that means taking a close look at what can hinder and what can help.
But first, some background about what changes can happen to your body as you go through menopause:
As estrogen levels drop, this could impact your metabolism (and your cholesterol levels).
Not to mention metabolism tends to slow down as we age thanks to the loss of muscle.
This is when balanced food choices that boost and sustain your energy levels and help maintain muscle come into play. ⚡️
And that includes checking that sweet tooth.
Change in the balance of your hormones can unleash a waterfall of symptoms. 🌊
Everything from changes in appetite to mood swings, slower metabolism, and weight gain. Fun.
While shifting hormones are part of the parcel of menopause, there are nutrients and vitamins that can help balance these out and ease your symptoms.
Decrease in bone health
A drop in estrogen can also cause your bone density to decrease. 🦴
And weakened bones often mean an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Medications can help but don’t underestimate the power of foods rich in calcium and vitamin D for keeping your bones strong and resilient.
Probably the most notorious of all the menopause symptoms.
The intrigue lies in the fact that we don’t know exactly what triggers them, but food may hold the key.
For now, the general advice centers on foods to avoid. More on that that below.
Change in body composition
We’ve all heard of the menopause belly (we say a little more than necessary).
Fluctuating hormones can lead to fat redistribution, often settling on the abdomen and hip/thigh area.
As frustrating and triggering as it may be, many women do experience changes in their body shape during menopause.
You might even say it’s a natural part of the process.
So, rather than feel ashamed, we encourage you to practice self-compassion and surround yourself with women who get it. 👩🏽🤝👩🏻
Increased risk of heart disease
Menopause can sometimes affect your heart health by altering cholesterol levels, raising your blood pressure, and impairing your metabolism.
This might go a long way towards explaining why women are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than men.
A diet rich in heart-healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants could be your armor, shielding your heart and promoting cardiovascular wellness. ❤️
Put simply, menopause nutrition isn’t just about what’s on your plate—it’s a toolkit that empowers you to take charge of your health and well-being.
Now, that’s a very different conversation, no?
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 and seeing if you feel better:
- Spicy food: This might fuel the flames of those flashes. 🔥
- Caffeine: Yeah, those hot flashes again. 🌡
- Alcohol: Alcohol can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer, which you’re more at risk for during 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 to the fun part: what’s 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:
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
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale and collard greens are good ones)
Top sources include:
- Fatty fish like salmon, halibut, and mackerel
3. 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 this mega nutrient into your diet?
- Fish (especially of the fatty variety like tuna, sardines, and salmon)
- Plant oils
- Fortified foods
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, so this is by no means the answer for everyone.
Examples of estrogen-rich foods for menopause include:
- Licorice root
- 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’s a lot of snake oil out there.
Mix it up. Experiment. Find what makes you feel good.
Menopause doesn’t have to be a chapter to be endured—it can be an opportunity to thrive.
This can be a seriously powerful time that can bring with it 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.