Diet for menopause: what to eat and avoid


by Emily Gilbert |

Did you know that good nutrition can help ease menopause? Ensuring your diet is high in wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy products has been shown to help with menopause. It is also important to include omega 3 fatty acids, either from fish or as a supplement, as this can aid menopausal symptom management.

We spoke to Reema Patel, Registered Dietitian For Dietitian Fit & Co to find out more about the food you should be eating and avoiding to help your menopause.

What food and drink should I have for menopause?

It is recommended to try to increase your intake of certain foods such as fruits and vegetables, as well as wholegrains and omega 3 fatty acids. Consuming good quality protein throughout the day and regular dairy can also support menopausal health.

Consuming enough dairy is important for Vitamin D, Vitamin K, phosphorus, potassium and calcium intake. These nutrients are all important for bone health and during menopause, the decrease in oestrogen levels can increase fracture risk in women, so optimising bone health is important.

Phytoestrogens are compounds found in certain foods that mimic weak oestrogen in the body. Including foods that contain phytoestrogens can be beneficial for perimenopausal women, such as helping with hot flushes. These include soy products, chickpeas and some fruits such as berries and grapes.

Related: Natural remedies for menopause

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What should I avoid?

It is advised to try to limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine, as these have been shown to increase risk of hot flushes, as well as cause issues with sleep quality and duration. Minimising foods and drinks containing higher levels of added sugar as well as processed foods can help with better blood sugar and insulin control, which otherwise has been associated with hot flushes.

Trying to reduce added salt can also be beneficial, as a high salt intake has been associated with lower bone density in perimenopausal women. And with the decline in oestrogen during menopause, this can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure itself.

What food helps menopause symptoms?

Foods containing omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, may help reduce the frequency of hot flushes and severe night sweats. Vegan alternatives include flax and chia seeds, though it may be recommended to supplement with an algae omega 3 to obtain optimal doses. Reach out to a Registered Dietitian if you are unsure.

Consuming more fibre through fruits, vegetables and wholegrains may also help reduce hot flushes and other peri-menopausal symptoms.

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