10 healthy foods to eat during menopause

Menopause is a natural transition that every woman goes through. This stage of life begins twelve months after a woman’s last menstrual period and usually occurs around the age of 51, on average, and this can vary from person to person.

Menopause brings about many changes throughout the body, in part due to decreased production of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone. You may know many of the classic symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood and energy changes, and difficulty sleeping. But did you know that some metabolic changes can also occur? Fortunately, we can help counteract some of these shifts through food choices. Read on to learn all about these changes, how food can positively affect them, and some tasty options for setting priorities during menopause.

Diet-related changes that can occur during menopause

When the ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone, there can be noticeable shifts in how the body metabolizes food and absorbs nutrients. Here are some of the effects that can occur throughout the body:

  • Slowed metabolism, which can lead to unwanted weight gain
  • Less effective blood sugar management which can increase your odds of developing metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes
  • High risk of high cholesterol levels, which may negatively affect heart health
  • Decreased bone mineral density, which increases the risk of osteoporosis, osteoporosis, or bone fractures
  • Decreased muscle mass potentially leading to asthenia

“Eating ‘the same way you always have’ may not have the same effect that ‘it always has,’ because your physiology is already different than it used to be,” explains Stasi Kasianchuk MS, RDN, CSSD, CSCS, EP-C. Dietitian, Director of Lifestyle Care in Geneva, and Exercise Physiologist with Menopause Training and Practice.”This is an opportunity to explore new and potentially different ways of eating that support changing physiology and help you feel your best in your body.”

While these symptoms are a major concern once menopause begins, it may also be important to keep them in mind during the years-long transition to menopause that can occur between the ages of 45 and 55.

However, through deliberate dietary choices, we can manage potential side effects and support a strong, healthy body.

Nutrients to focus on during menopause

When looking to address these metabolic concerns, there are certain nutrients we can prioritize to positively impact results. Here are the basic elements:

The fiber

“There is research showing that the change in hormones during the menopausal transition alters the bacterial composition of the gut microbiome,” says Kasyanchuk. This change can affect a lot throughout the body including the gut, metabolism, heart and even brain health. Fiber is incredibly important for supporting gut health, and it helps reduce cholesterol levels while regulating blood sugar and improving satiety. Certain types of fiber can act as prebiotics, or food for the healthy gut bacteria that reside in the biome.


Protein performs many of the same roles as fiber in terms of regulating blood sugar and satiety, but it also uniquely helps women maintain their function. “Protein supports the maintenance and increase of muscle mass at a time when muscle is naturally decreasing and you don’t have the same level of support from estrogen for building new muscle,” Kasyanchuk explains.

Omega-3 fatty acids

When it comes to managing the heart health risks associated with menopause, omega-3 fatty acids are a great addition to the diet. This is largely due to its ability to positively affect cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Foods rich in these healthy fats also help increase satiety, supporting healthy weight maintenance. In addition, although more evidence is needed, omega-3s may support healthy sleep patterns.


Estrogen-rich foods are one way we can supplement the loss of estrogen that occurs with menopause. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that act very similarly to natural estrogens in the body. This can help reduce the severity and frequency of some symptoms of menopause, especially hot flashes.


Estrogen also helps the body retain water (in a good way), so when levels drop with menopause, hydration becomes even more important. Optimal hydration throughout menopause can support gut, skin, brain and joint health – helping to prevent brain fog, constipation and joint pain.

Bone-strengthening vitamins and minerals

Finally, we have a full range of vitamins and minerals that help support bone health where bone mineral density becomes a larger concern. These include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, vitamin K and vitamin D.

Foods that can aggravate menopausal symptoms

On the other side of the coin, there are also nutrients, ingredients, and food groups that can make menopausal symptoms more difficult to deal with. Some of these foods include alcohol, added sugar, and highly processed foods, as they are all triggers for inflammation, which can make symptoms worse. Foods high in sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, which puts extra stress on the heart, and research has found that these foods are linked to lower bone mass in postmenopausal women. Some women report that spicy foods also exacerbate hot flash symptoms.

However, Kasianchuk really emphasizes adding rather than subtracting when it comes to nutrition in menopause: “Instead of looking at what needs to be removed from the diet, think about additions that can be made to work with and support your changing physiology, rather than fighting it.” against it.”

Here are some of the most nutritious foods (and drinks) to eat regularly for a more manageable transition to menopause.

Healthy foods to eat during menopause


Greg Dupree

Yogurt is a great option for people going through menopause – it’s loaded with muscle-building proteins and probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that help promote the good bacteria in the gut microbiome. It is also full of bone health-promoting calcium. In fact, one study found that dairy intake was positively associated with bone strength in postmenopausal women. If you don’t make dairy for one reason or another, a yogurt substitute can also be helpful (although it may not provide as much protein, calcium, and probiotics, depending on the brand).


Greg Dupree

There are many reasons to love salmon if you’re going through menopause. This is thanks to the protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D it contains. In addition, salmon is high in tryptophan, an amino acid that can aid in better sleep. Whether it’s layered on top of capers, red onion, cheese, or whole-wheat bread or sautéed with lemon and garlic, there are plenty of delicious ways to enjoy this popular pink fish.


Greg Dupree

Regardless of whether you choose raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, goji berries, or cranberries, they are all amazing additions to your menopause management routine. These berries are great sources of phytoestrogens and are loaded with heart-healthy fiber and hydrating water. In addition, they will also provide plenty of potassium, vitamin K and magnesium for strong bones.


Victor Protasius

In terms of plant-based protein options, it’s hard to beat legumes. Whether it’s chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, black beans, or any other legume you can think of, all of these options will be excellent sources of muscle-building protein and fiber. Chickpeas and soy products like tofu and edamame are especially great additions because they’re full of phytoestrogens.


Victor Protasius

Kale is a great leafy green to turn to when dealing with menopausal symptoms. This is thanks to its high content of fiber, water, calcium, vitamin K and manganese. These nutrients combine to support hydration as well as gut and bone health.


Caitlin Pencil

When it comes to seeds, chia and hemp are excellent for postmenopausal women — but flaxseed may take the cake. This is due to the impressive amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber and phytoestrogens. Grind the flaxseeds before enjoying them, as this helps to release their important nutrients and benefits.

Green tea

Grace Alkos

Green tea is a nutritious beverage that you can enjoy during the menopausal stages. It is a great source of anti-inflammatory plant compounds such as phytoestrogens. It has a relatively low caffeine content compared to coffee and black tea, which promotes better sleep, optimal hydration, and stable energy levels throughout the day.


Jane Causey

All whole grains are good for a healthy menopause diet, but oats are especially great, mainly because they’re high in soluble fiber. It is a type of fiber that binds to cholesterol in the small intestine, helping the body get rid of it. It also serves as a prebiotic for gut bacteria while stabilizing blood sugar and increasing satiety.

bone broth

Raymond Home

“Bone broth contains the amino acids glycine and proline,” explains Killian Petrucci, MS, ND, naturopathic physician, nutrition expert, and author. “Glycine helps support healthy serotonin levels, which encourages deeper, more restful sleep—something that can be affected during menopause.” This flavorful broth also contains impressive amounts of potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus that help support bone density. Plus, we can’t forget about the healthy dose of hydration this liquid gold provides.

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