Skip to content

Eating Healthy During The Change: How Your Diet Can Ease Menopausal Symptoms

Menopause Diet

Table of Contents

Menopause occurs when a woman stops having periods and she can no longer get pregnant. For most women in the United States, this occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Menopause is caused by declining levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. 

Perimenopause refers to the menopausal transition period before and after menopause. It typically begins as women approach midlife, often around their 40s, and can last up to 10 years. During perimenopause, the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen, which can cause changes in the menstrual cycle.

As estrogen levels decline during perimenopause, women experience menopausal symptoms, including: 

  • Hot flashes 
  • Weight gain
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Problems with sleep
  • Thinning hair
  • Dry skin
  • Mood swings

Menopause can greatly affect women’s health and vice versa. Many of the lifestyle changes that occur leading up to midlife and menopause often lead to more sedentary habits and unhealthy eating. These habits can compound with the hormonal changes of menopause.

Postmenopausal women often experience a higher risk of health problems such as heart disease and osteoporosis. These risks become even more severe for those with preexisting health conditions like high blood pressure or other cardiovascular complaints.

More Than Just Weight Control

Weight gain is often one of the primary concerns for women during menopause, and for good reason. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for promoting good heart health and managing blood sugar levels. Gaining weight can lead to obseisty, which is heavily linked with insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes.

However, healthy eating at this time impacts more than just your body weight. Following a healthy diet during menopause can help manage other aspects of health, such as blood cholesterol levels, and even menopausal symptoms. Eating the right food and maintaining a healthy lifestyle during perimenopause can help combat many of the side effects that come with these hormonal changes.  

Foods For Your Menopause Diet

Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These can help reduce the risk of certain health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. Women in perimenopause who eat plenty of fruits and vegetables may also experience fewer hot flashes.

Fruits and vegetables are also a good source of fiber, which can help to reduce the risk of constipation and other digestive problems. They are low in calories and can help to control weight gain. We encourage getting several servings of fruits and vegetables every day. 

Here are some of the recommened fruits and vegetables to include in your diet:

  • Berries (such as strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries): may help lower blood sugar levels.
  • Leafy greens (such as spinach, kale, collard greens, and mustard greens): may be associated with fewer menopausal symptoms.
  • Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel srpouts): may help manage estrogen levels.


Eating dairy can help to replace lost calcium, reduce bone loss, and improve overall health. Many dairy products also contain phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, as well as vitamins D and K.  Dairy products are also a good source of protein.

Some of the benefits associated with consuming dairy include:

Milk, yogurt, and cheese are all dairy products and good sources of calcium, vitamins, and minerals. We always recommend checking the labes on your food sources and looking for whole, minimally processed foods. 

If you don’t eat dairy due to food allergies, personal preferences, or any other reason, it is still important to include good sources of calcium in your diet.

What are some good sources of calcium during menopause? Aside from dairy products, good sources of calcium include:

  • Seeds (such as poppy seeds and chia seeds)
  • Sardines and canned salmon
  • Beans and legumes
  • Whey protein
  • Leafy greens
  • Calcium-fortified foods  

Whole Grains

Whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet at any age. Full of vitamins and minerals, whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. This can help to regulate digestion and keep you feeling full. 

Eating whole grains may be especially important as we age. Replacing simple or processed carbs with whole grains can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and promote longevity. 

We recommend getting your whole grains in the form of: 

  • Oatmeal made with whole oats
  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain breads
  • Whole barley
  • Buckwheat

Omeg-3s and Healthy Fats

Gone are the days of trying to eliminate fats from our diets. Although trans-fats should definitely be avoided, ultra low-fat diets can make it difficult to get certain vital nutrients. Rather than excluding all fats from your diet, it is important to get appropriate amounts of the right fats.

Omega-3 fatty acids offer a number of health benefits. They help reduce inflammation, and may also help with night sweats and other menopausal symptoms. Healthy fats also help to keep bones strong and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. In addition, omega 3s and healthy fats can improve heart health. 

Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats include:

  • Fatty fish (such as tuna, salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel)
  • Nuts and seeds (such as chia seeds, flaxseed, and walnuts)
  • Plant oils (such as coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil)
  • Some soy products (such as soy beans or soy milk)


Eating protein during menopause can help offset the loss of muscle mass due to declining levels of estrogen. Protein may also help keep bones strong and skin supple. For perimenopausal women, eating plenty of protein-rich foods may be essential to maintaining your health.

Good sources of protein include:

  • Meets (such as beef, pork, and lamb)
  • Poultry (such as chicken or turkey)
  • Fish and shellfish (such as tuna, salmon, and shrimp)
  • Eggs
  • Beans and legumes (such as black beans, peas, and lentils) 
  • Soy foods (such as soy beans or soy milk)
  • Nuts and seeds (such as chia seed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and cashews)

Plants Rich in Phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens are compounds found in foods that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Some studies have found that phytoestrogens help to reduce hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Additionally, phytoestrogens may help to protect against osteoporosis and heart disease. 

Foods rich in phytoestrogens include:

  • Soybeans
  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • Chickpeas
  • Flax seeds
  • Green and black tea

Supplements for Menopause

If you have trouble getting enough nutrients in your diet, you may want to consider dietary supplements. Multivitamins contain essential vitamins and minerals and can help balance out nutritional deficiences. Omega-3s are also available in supplement form, and some herbal supplements have also been shown to help with menopausal symptoms, including:

Read more about dietary supplements for menopause.

Foods to Avoid

Many menopausal women find that their bodies are more sensitive to certain foods and that they may experience negative effects after eating them. Spicy food, for instance, may cause gastrointestinal issues for some women. 

While every body is different, a handful of foods are generally considered triggers for menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and weight gain.

What foods should you avoid during menopause? If you’re experiencing negative menopausal symptoms, it may be worth avoiding these foods to see if it makes a difference:

  • Alcohol: Alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Additionally, alcohol can contribute to weight gain and may worsen hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
  • Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant and can increase the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol. Some studies associate caffeine consumption with worsened symptoms of menopause.
  • Added sugars or processed carbs: Added sugars and processed carbs can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, which can lead to insulin resistance. This can cause additional problems during menopause.
  • High-salt foods: High-salt diets have been associated with decreased bone density in post-menopausal women. Reducing salt intake may also improve mood symptoms associated with menopause.

Sample Menopause Diet Plan

What is the best diet for a menopausal woman? Two highly recommended diets for menopausal women are the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension protocol (also known as the DASH diet). 

Both of these diets are high in healthy fats, dietary fiber, and protein. They tend to reduce red meats and instead obtain much of their protein from fish and vegetable sources. Both diets prioritize whole, fresh foods over processed foods. Here is a breakdown of each diet with a sample menu:

BenefitsFoods to IncludeFoods to Avoid:Sample Menu
Mediterranean DietImproved brain health and longevity. Reduced risk of disease, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Reduction of menopausal symptoms.Fresh fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, fish and seafood, poultry, eggs, spices and herbs, dairy, moderate amounts of red wine
Processed foods, refined carbs and sugars, processed meatsBreakfast: Greek yogurt with berries and seeds or whole grain granolaLunch: Whole grain chicken pita with hummus and vegetablesDinner: Tuna salad with mixed greens dressed with olive oil and vinegar
DASH DietCognitive improvement, lower blood pressure, improved mood in menopausal womenFresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish and seafood, poultry, eggs, nuts, beans and legumes, fat-free or low-fat dairy products
Processed foods and refined carbohydrates, food high in sugar, fat, and saltBreakfast: Whole-wheat bagel with natural (no salt added) peanut butter and fresh fruitLunch: Low sodium grilled chicken salad with low-fat vinaigrette dressingDinner: Baked salmon with brown rice and steamed vegetables

Other Healthy Habits to Stop Menopausal Weight Gain

Is a 1,200 calorie diet good for menopause weight loss? Reducing calories may indeed help with weight loss during menopause, especially for those who experience reduced physical activity. However, the number of calories a person needs is highly dependent on the individual’s activity level and metabolic rate.

Following a healthy diet is only one part of managing menopausal symptoms. Other aspects of a healthy lifestyle, such as getting enough sleep and exercise, may also have a significant impact. Here are some additional tips for managing menopause symptoms.

Get Your Body Moving

Physical exercise helps to improve cardiovascular health, reduce belly fat, and reduce the risk of obesity. Weight training and resistance exercises can help reduce muscle loss and maintain bone health. High physical activity has also been associated with a reduction in menopausal symptoms.  

Eat on a Schedule

Eating on a schedule can help you to control portion sizes and avoid overeating. Smaller meals with less time in between can help regulate blood sugar levels and avoid spikes in insulin that can lead to fat storage. Scheduling what foods you eat at what time can help you maintain a balanced diet. 

Get Excited to Try New (Healthy!) Foods

It’s easy to get stuck in old habits and to get bored with healthy foods. Trying new things can help make maintaining a healthy diet more fun. Consider purchasing new fruits and vegetables during your next grocery trip. Visit a local farmer’s market or international market to mix up your routine.

Drink Plenty of Water

Water is essential for overall health and well-being, and this is especially true during menopause. Some studies suggest that older women are at a greater risk of dehydration. Getting enough water is important for keeping the skin hydrated and preventing vaginal dryness. Getting enough water each day can also help to promote bowel movement regularity and prevent constipation.

Get Good Sleep

Sleep is crucial for your overall health and well-being, and this is especially true during menopause. Getting enough sleep can help reduce stress, improving your mood and energy levels. It can also help to regulate hormone levels, which are already out of balance during menopause. Getting enough sleep can also help to boost your immune system and protect your heart health. 

Want More Information?

When considering a new diet or nutrition plan, we always recommend working with a nutritionist or other healthcare provider to suit your individual needs. At Sano Health, we offer holistic counseling to help you find the best solutions to your personal health goals. 

Don’t hesitate to contact a Care Team member for a consultation. You can also subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Intagram to get updates on the latest health and wellness information. 


  1. Cheung, A. M., Chaudhry, R., Kapral, M., Jackevicius, C., & Robinson, G. (2004). Perimenopausal and postmenopausal health. BMC Women’s Health, 4(1), 1-14. Abstract:
  2. Noll, P. R. E. S., Campos, C. A. S., Leone, C., Zangirolami-Raimundo, J., Noll, M., Baracat, E. C., … & Sorpreso, I. C. E. (2021). Dietary intake and menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women: a systematic review. Climacteric, 24(2), 128-138. Abstract:
  3. Kroenke, C. H., Caan, B. J., Stefanick, M. L., Anderson, G., Brzyski, R., Johnson, K. C., … & Wallace, R. (2012). Effects of a dietary intervention and weight change on vasomotor symptoms in the Women’s Health Initiative. Menopause (New York, NY), 19(9), 980. Full text:
  4. Feresin, R. G., Johnson, S. A., Pourafshar, S., Campbell, J. C., Jaime, S. J., Navaei, N., … & Arjmandi, B. H. (2017). Impact of daily strawberry consumption on blood pressure and arterial stiffness in pre-and stage 1-hypertensive postmenopausal women: A randomized controlled trial. Food & function, 8(11), 4139-4149. Abstract:
  5. Safabakhsh, M., Siassi, F., Koohdani, F., Qorbani, M., Khosravi, S., Abshirini, M., … & Sotoudeh, G. (2020). Higher intakes of fruits and vegetables are related to fewer menopausal symptoms: a cross-sectional study. Menopause, 27(5), 593-604. Abstract:
  6. Fowke, J. H., Longcope, C., & Hebert, J. R. (2000). Brassica vegetable consumption shifts estrogen metabolism in healthy postmenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 9(8), 773-779. Abstract:
  7. Rizzoli, R. (2014). Dairy products, yogurts, and bone health. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 99(5), 1256S-1262S. Abstract:
  8. Parazzini, F. (2015). Resveratrol, tryptophanum, glycine and vitamin E: a nutraceutical approach to sleep disturbance and irritability in peri-and post-menopause. Minerva ginecologica, 67(1), 1-5. Abstract:
  9. Purdue-Smithe, A. C., Whitcomb, B. W., Szegda, K. L., Boutot, M. E., Manson, J. E., Hankinson, S. E., … & Bertone-Johnson, E. R. (2017). Vitamin D and calcium intake and risk of early menopause. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 105(6), 1493-1501. Abstract:
  10. Aune, D., Keum, N., Giovannucci, E., Fadnes, L. T., Boffetta, P., Greenwood, D. C., … & Norat, T. (2016). Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. bmj, 353. Abstract:
  11. Schwalfenberg, G. (2006). Omega-3 fatty acids: their beneficial role in cardiovascular health. Canadian Family Physician, 52(6), 734-740. Full text:
  12. Mohammady, M., Janani, L., Jahanfar, S., & Mousavi, M. S. (2018). Effect of omega-3 supplements on vasomotor symptoms in menopausal women: A systematic review and meta-analysis. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 228, 295-302. Abstract:
  13. Sharma, T., & Mandal, C. C. (2020). Omega‐3 fatty acids in pathological calcification and bone health. Journal of Food Biochemistry, 44(8), e13333. Abstract:
  14. Maltais, M. L., Desroches, J., & Dionne, I. J. (2009). Changes in muscle mass and strength after menopause. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact, 9(4), 186-97. Abstract:
  15. König, D., Oesser, S., Scharla, S., Zdzieblik, D., & Gollhofer, A. (2018). Specific collagen peptides improve bone mineral density and bone markers in postmenopausal women—a randomized controlled study. Nutrients, 10(1), 97. Abstract:
  16. Bacciottini, L., Falchetti, A., Pampaloni, B., Bartolini, E., Carossino, A. M., & Brandi, M. L. (2007). Phytoestrogens: food or drug. Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab, 4(2), 123-130. Full text:
  17. Chen, M. N., Lin, C. C., & Liu, C. F. (2015). Efficacy of phytoestrogens for menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Climacteric, 18(2), 260-269. Abstract:
  18. Bacciottini, L., Falchetti, A., Pampaloni, B., Bartolini, E., Carossino, A. M., & Brandi, M. L. (2007). Phytoestrogens: food or drug. Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab, 4(2), 123-130. Full text:
  19. Ward, E. (2014). Addressing nutritional gaps with multivitamin and mineral supplements. Nutrition journal, 13(1), 1-10. Full text:
  20. Geller, S. E., & Studee, L. (2005). Botanical and dietary supplements for menopausal symptoms: what works, what does not. Journal of women’s health, 14(7), 634-649. Abstract:
  21. Leidy Sievert, L., Makhlouf Obermeyer, C., & Price, K. (2006). Determinants of hot flashes and night sweats. Annals of Human Biology, 33(1), 4-16. Abstract:
  22. Faubion, S. S., Sood, R., Thielen, J. M., & Shuster, L. T. (2015). Caffeine and menopausal symptoms: what is the association?. Menopause, 22(2), 155-158. Abstract:
  23. Thurston, R. C., El Khoudary, S. R., Sutton-Tyrrell, K., Crandall, C. J., Sternfeld, B., Joffe, H., … & Matthews, K. A. (2012). Vasomotor symptoms and insulin resistance in the study of women’s health across the nation. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 97(10), 3487-3494. Abstract:
  24. Kwon, S. J., Ha, Y. C., & Park, Y. (2017). High dietary sodium intake is associated with low bone mass in postmenopausal women: Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2008–2011. Osteoporosis International, 28(4), 1445-1452. Abstract:
  25. Torres, S. J., & Nowson, C. A. (2012). A moderate-sodium DASH-type diet improves mood in postmenopausal women. Nutrition, 28(9), 896-900. Abstract:
  26. Féart, C., Samieri, C., & Barberger-Gateau, P. (2010). Mediterranean diet and cognitive function in older adults. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 13(1), 14. Full text:
  27. Tosti, V., Bertozzi, B., & Fontana, L. (2018). Health benefits of the Mediterranean diet: metabolic and molecular mechanisms. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 73(3), 318-326. Abstract:
  28. Cano, A., Marshall, S., Zolfaroli, I., Bitzer, J., Ceausu, I., Chedraui, P., … & Rees, M. (2020). The Mediterranean diet and menopausal health: An EMAS position statement. Maturitas, 139, 90-97. Abstract:
  29. Blumenthal, J. A., Smith, P. J., Mabe, S., Hinderliter, A., Lin, P. H., Liao, L., … & Sherwood, A. (2019). Lifestyle and neurocognition in older adults with cognitive impairments: A randomized trial. Neurology, 92(3), e212-e223. Full text:
  30. Steinberg, D., Bennett, G. G., & Svetkey, L. (2017). The DASH diet, 20 years later. Jama, 317(15), 1529-1530. Full text:
  31. Torres, S. J., & Nowson, C. A. (2012). A moderate-sodium DASH-type diet improves mood in postmenopausal women. Nutrition, 28(9), 896-900. Abstract:
  32. Dąbrowska-Galas, M., Dąbrowska, J., Ptaszkowski, K., & Plinta, R. (2019). High physical activity level may reduce menopausal symptoms. Medicina, 55(8), 466. Full text:
  33. Stachenfeld, N. S. (2014). Hormonal changes during menopause and the impact on fluid regulation. Reproductive Sciences, 21(5), 555-561. Full text:
  34. Landis, C. A., & Moe, K. E. (2004). Sleep and menopause. Nursing Clinics, 39(1), 97-115. Abstract: