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Menopause Diet: The Ultimate Guide to Eating for Optimal Health

Updated: Jun 30

Menopause brings many changes and challenges. You might experience increased body temperature and weight gain as estrogen levels drop. So, how can you stay balanced during menopause? Watching your diet in menopause is critical.


Typically, menopause occurs around age 51 and is defined by not having periods for an entire year. However, symptoms can start earlier during perimenopause, which usually begins in the 40s but can range from the mid-30s to mid-50s. During this time, you might experience hot flashes, mood swings, and low energy, and the drop in estrogen can affect your bones, muscles, and metabolism.


Fortunately, a healthy diet can play a big role in managing menopause symptoms. In this blog, we will explore the best diet for the menopause that can help alleviate menopause symptoms.


Book an appointment with Dr. Collins regarding all Menopause-related concerns.


Navigating Menopause: Understanding the Changes in Your Body


As you approach menopause, your estrogen levels start to decline, disrupting your usual hormone patterns. This estrogen drop can slow your metabolism, potentially causing weight gain and affecting cholesterol levels and carbohydrate digestion. Many women also experience symptoms like hot flashes and sleep problems during this time. Lower estrogen levels can also decrease bone density, increasing the risk of fractures. However, adjusting your diets during menopause can help relieve these symptoms and support better health during this phase.


How Foods Impact Symptoms


Eating a balanced diet is essential at any stage of life, but it becomes especially crucial during menopause. Your body goes through many changes, from a slower metabolism to a higher risk of osteoporosis. Adjusting your diet can help manage these symptoms. A variety of vegetables, protein, and dairy products are some foods that help with menopause naturally. Are you still trying to figure out where to begin? Start with a meal plan that includes lean proteins, whole grains, and lots of plant-based foods. Find something that fits your lifestyle and includes foods you enjoy.


7 Foods to help with menopause


7 Foods to help with menopause

1. Dairy products


The drop in estrogen during menopause can increase the risk of fractures. Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins D and K, which are all crucial for bone health. Dairy can also improve sleep because it contains the amino acid tryptophan, which helps people fall and stay asleep.


Additionally, some evidence suggests that dairy consumption may reduce the risk of premature menopause (before age 45). Another study showed that women who consumed the most vitamin D and calcium had a 17% lower risk of early menopause. Cheese and fortified milk are good sources of these nutrients.


2. Fruits and vegetables


Make half of your plate green leafy vegetables to get sufficient vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Leafy greens like spinach, turnips, and collard greens are excellent sources of calcium, helping with weight management and bone health.


Your diet in menopause should also include other veggies that can help maintain a healthy weight and reduce hot flashes like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

Studies have found that women who ate more fruits and vegetables experienced fewer menopausal symptoms. Dark berries can be especially beneficial. Remember to "eat the rainbow" of fruits and vegetables to get all the required vitamins and minerals.


3. Protein


During menopause, the estrogen drop can lead to decreased muscle mass and bone strength. Eating more protein is essential, focusing on leaner options to counter this. This helps with weight management while also boosting bone strength and muscle mass. Some great lean proteins for eating for menopause are grilled chicken, tuna, turkey, lean beef, tofu, lentils, and beans.


4. Soy products


Soy-based products can help relieve certain menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Soy contains phytoestrogens, a chemical similar to estrogen, which may ease these symptoms. However, its effectiveness can vary because not everyone has the enzyme needed to convert phytoestrogens into estrogen. Some soy-based products to try for your diet in menopause are soybeans (edamame), soy flour, tofu, and soy milk.


5. Healthy fats


Healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, can be very beneficial for women going through menopause. Studies have found that higher omega-3 levels are linked to better health in postmenopausal women. On the other hand, postmenopausal women with diabetes or heart disease tend to have lower omega-3 levels. High amounts of omega-3 fatty acids can be found in foods like fatty fish (such as mackerel, salmon, and anchovies) and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and hemp seeds).


6. Whole grains


Whole grains are packed with nutrients like fiber and B vitamins, including thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. Eating whole grains is a healthy diet for menopause and has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and early death. A study also found that women who consume more whole grains, vegetables, and unprocessed foods experience milder menopausal symptoms. Some examples of whole grain foods include brown rice, whole wheat bread, barley, quinoa, oats, Kamut, rye, steel-cut oats, bulgur, popcorn, and millet.


7. Water


Drinking enough water can help with various symptoms, like reducing vaginal dryness, improving skin appearance, and decreasing bloating by aiding digestion. The symptoms of dehydration include thirst, muscle cramps, dry skin, fatigue, and confusion. There is no standard recommendation for daily water intake. The best guide is your urine color. If it's pale yellow, you're properly hydrated. If it's dark yellow, drink more water. If plain water feels boring, try water-rich foods like watermelon, strawberries, and soups. Avoid alcohol, which can dehydrate you. You can try out different flavors by adding lemon, mint, or cucumber to your water. You might also prefer it at different temperatures. Finally, keep a filled water bottle handy to make staying hydrated easier.


Conclusion


Menopause can cause changes in metabolism, reduced bone density, and a higher risk of heart disease. Your diet in menopause should be rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high-quality protein, and dairy products, which can help reduce menopause symptoms, including phytoestrogens and healthy fats, like omega-3s from fish.


Limit added sugars, processed carbs, alcohol, caffeine, and high-sodium foods. These dietary changes can help make the transition through menopause smoother.


Want to consult the Menopause Specialist in Oregon? Please take a look at the links below.



Call (858) 333-5196 for a free 10-minute consultation with Dr. Collins to boost your health and overall wellbeing.


 

About The Author: Dr. Collins

Author: Dr. Collins

Dr. Collins is a Pacific Northwest native and University of Oregon graduate in biology and comparative religions, practicing Naturopathic Medicine. Committed to harmonizing ancient traditions with modern science, he prioritizes holistic patient care in Oregon.



 

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