17 Best Foods for Menopause Symptoms

Menopause can be a challenging time in a woman’s life. While the end of menstruation may come as a relief, symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, and sleep disturbances are far less welcome. This article explains which 17 foods can help alleviate these adverse symptoms, making them great additions to the diet of any woman going through ‘the change.’

Soybean Products

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Foods like tofu, edamame, and soy milk are rich in isoflavones, which mimic the role of estrogen in the body. Eating Well says regular consumption of soy products can severely reduce night sweats and hot flashes, helping to balance the sudden drop in the hormone estrogen that menopausal women experience.

Salmon

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Fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Everyday Health writes, “Increasing your omega-3 intake can possibly boost your mood, in part because omega-3s might lower inflammation levels in the body.” They also help protect the heart from disease, which can develop after estrogen levels fall, and provide calcium for bone health.

Flaxseeds

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Healthline reports that flaxseeds are another excellent source of phytoestrogens, particularly lignans, which help compensate for falling estrogen levels. Like salmon, they also contain omega-3 fatty acids, significant dietary fiber, and antioxidants. They’re great for heart health, reducing postmenopausal cancer risk, and aiding digestive complaints.

Leafy Greens

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Greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which are crucial for overall health. Forbes says they are also particularly beneficial to menopausal women as they’re rich in calcium and vitamin D, reducing the risk of osteoporosis as estrogen levels drop. Their low-calorie nutrient profile also makes them great for combating weight gain.

Whole Grains

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While vital for a healthy diet at any age, whole grains like quinoa, oats, and brown rice are perfect for menopausal diets. Single Care claims the complex carbohydrates and high fiber they contain help you feel full and maintain blood sugar levels—beneficial for both a healthy weight and a stable mood.

Nuts

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The British Dietetic Association recommends menopausal women include 3–5 portions of unsalted nuts in their diet every week due to their high protein and ‘good’ fat content. Almonds are particularly beneficial as they’re high in calcium for bone health, while walnuts contain omega-3s for a healthy heart. A handful of nuts is also great for staving off hunger and reducing the temptation for sugary snacks.

Yogurt

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Yogurt is a low-fat dairy product, making it an excellent source of calcium, protein, and probiotics that can be eaten regularly without fear of weight gain. Calcium reduces the risk of osteoporosis, while probiotics improve gut health, which can be compromised by hormonal changes during menopause. Just avoid yogurt with added sugar or sweeteners.

Berries

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Blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, strawberries, and cranberries are all loaded with health benefits like antioxidants. According to Real Simple, “These berries are great sources of phytoestrogens and loaded with heart-healthy fiber and hydrating water. Plus, they’ll also offer plenty of potassium, vitamin K, and magnesium for strong bones.”

Eggs

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The humble egg is a nutritional powerhouse, providing protein, vitamins D and B12, and minerals like selenium. The high-quality protein content helps older women maintain muscle mass, which can naturally decline during menopause. Eggs also provide choline, which supports brain health and can help reduce forgetfulness, mood swings, and irritability.

Dark Chocolate

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Good news—just because your periods have stopped doesn’t mean you don’t still deserve chocolate! The Balanced Midlife states dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa is rich in antioxidants (like flavonoids), which reduce the risk of postmenopausal heart disease. It also contains magnesium, which reduces depression and helps alleviate mood swings.

Citrus Fruits

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Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are excellent sources of the powerful antioxidant vitamin C. This is particularly beneficial during menopause because hormonal changes erode the body’s natural defenses. The fiber and high water content in citrus fruits can also aid in digestion and help maintain a healthy weight, as per The Times of India.

Seeds

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Seeds contain everything a young plant needs to grow, so including pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, or other seeds in your diet brings a host of health benefits. They provide fiber, protein, healthy fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, which can help improve sleep quality—a common menopause complaint.

Legumes

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Lentils, chickpeas, and other beans also contain isoflavones, which can alleviate symptoms caused by dipping estrogen levels. The Menopause Charity claims they’re also a great source of lean, plant-based protein—great for maintaining muscle mass—and are rich in fiber, aiding in weight management and menopause-related digestive issues.

Sweet Potatoes

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Bright orange sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and vitamins A and C, all of which have benefits for skin health, which can be adversely affected by hormonal changes during menopause. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of fiber and help regulate blood sugar levels, making them an excellent choice for reducing hunger pangs and mood swings.

Green Tea

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While not technically a food, green tea has a whole host of health benefits for menopausal women. The catechins it contains reduce cholesterol levels and reduce heart disease risk, while the mild caffeine hit can boost metabolism and improve concentration and mood. As such, it’s useful for weight loss and maintaining brain health.

Olive Oil

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Balance found that Mediterranean diets often alleviate menopausal symptoms, largely due to the high amount of olive oil as opposed to hard fats like butter and cheese. The monounsaturated fats and antioxidants in olive oil reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol, reducing the risk of postmenopausal heart disease.

Turkey

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It’s important to get enough lean protein during menopause for two reasons: firstly, because muscle mass declines and protein helps slow this process, and secondly, because protein helps women feel fuller for longer, alleviating hunger pangs and aiding weight loss. Choose lean meats like chicken or turkey breast with the skin and fat removed.

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