what foods to eat during menopause

What Foods to Eat During Menopause

There are a number of dietary and lifestyle measures that aim to support not only your well-being at menopause but also your long-term general health. In this post you can find out more about what foods to eat during menopause.

Why Does It Matter What Foods You Eat During Menopause?

Choosing what foods to eat during menopause can have a dramatic impact on how you experience your menopausal years and beyond.

menopause foods to eat You can avoid foods that will wind up the symptoms making them worse, and add in those that support and soothe your system. Not only is it a better way to eat for most women approaching and during their menopause, it also forms a good basis for a healthy diet for the rest if the family. So you are doing everyone a favour by taking more care of yourself.

The aim is to reduce anything that makes the liver, kidneys and adrenals work harder, and to keep your blood sugar levels as stable as possible.

What Foods to Eat During Menopause

  • Eat a wide variety of fresh and wholegrain foods, and drink plenty of water.
  • Eat good sources of the essential fatty acids (Omegas 3, 6, 7 & 9) – oily fish, seeds, nuts and wholegrains.
  • Phytoestrogens: Try to eat a wide range of these foods, not just large amounts of one or two sources. In addition to well-known herbs and soya, a number of foods are helpful to consider: fruits like apples, cherries and plums; various beans, pulses and vegetables including adzuki beans and chickpeas, alfalfa sprouts and carrots. Marilyn Glenville’s book The New Natural Alternatives to HRT [1] gives a wealth of helpful information.
  • The jury is still out on the pros and cons of soya, but it seems that the fermented soya products such as tempeh, miso and traditional soy sauce are the most likely forms to confer health benefits and to minimise potential downsides – fermentation increases the vitamin and mineral content but reduces the phytates, protease and enzyme inhibitors and isoflavones.
  • Complex carbohydrates – low and medium glycaemic index/load foods [2] including whole-grains, beans and vegetables. They provide nutrients, and are valuable sources of soluble and insoluble fibre.
  • Sugar and other refined carbohydrates are worth avoiding or reducing as much as possible. They are fast-burning calories that do not contribute towards a stable blood sugar level.
  • Artificial sweeteners – these may well be worth reducing or avoiding as they are incredibly sweet and I am not personally convinced that it is helping our culture at large in arriving at and maintaining a healthy relationship with our food and weight. There are also some concerns about side-effects from sweeteners like aspartame – is it worth it?
  • Stimulants – spicy foods, tea, coffee and caffeinated drinks can exacerbate hot flushes. And, although not a stimulant, many women find alcohol aggravates menopausal symptoms.
  • Red meat and dairy products can contribute towards increasing inflammatory responses, which has a number of implications for our short and long-term health.
  • Salt is worth keeping to an absolute minimum, as rock or sea salt. It has profound effects on blood pressure, water balance and retention.

Just as an aside about night sweats – if you wake and then sweat it may be low blood sugar instead of a night sweat. Night sweats can also be exacerbated by low blood sugar – so a low Glycaemic Index/Load [2] snack before bed might be helpful to try as an experiment in some instances.

Thank you for reading what foods to eat during menopause. I hope you find it to be helpful and to make a difference. In my next post I will consider if HRT really is good for your heart and bone health, and the value of taking a natural approach that aims to support your whole health in the longer run.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions about finding support at menopause and would like to book a free initial meeting, please do contact me.

References and Resources:

[1]  New Natural Alternatives to HRT, Marilyn Glenville

[2] http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic_index_and_glycemic_load_for_100_foods Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School