Whats the best menopause diet?

Menopause Diet: How what you eat can affect your symptoms

The hormonal changes that happen during perimenopause and menopause can literally affect every part of your body, from your bone health and heart function to your mood, skin, and weight. We know that eating a well-balanced diet may help reduce menopausal symptoms, support your body's changing needs, and contribute to a smoother transition into the post-menopausal years

So let's take a look at why what you eat is so important.


Why does your diet matter during perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause?

1. For Bone Health

As you get older, your bone density – a marker of bone health – naturally declines, usually, this starts around your late thirties. This process of decline significantly speeds up during the menopausal years due to the drop in estrogen levels. Your bones will now break down faster than new bone tissue can form, leaving them more vulnerable and weaker. Including calcium and vitamin D in your diet is important for bone health, as are minerals such as iron and magnesium.

2. For Mood

Nourishing foods have the power to elevate your mood, fight off fatigue, and provide that much-needed energy kick. Embrace foods packed with essential fats like Omega-3 oils, along with those brimming with B vitamins and calcium, which have been shown to play an essential role in the regulation of mood and your emotional well-being.

3. For Gut Health

Countless women experience bloating, cramps, and symptoms akin to IBS during perimenopause and menopause. The gut harbours friendly bacteria, and your diet plays a pivotal role in nurturing them. A balanced gut translates to enhanced emotional wellness, a boost in serotonin production (the 'happy hormone'), curbing inflammation, and an overall upliftment of your health. 

4. For Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy weight around menopause contributes significantly to your overall well-being as well as reducing the future risk of various health issues such as heart disease and joint problems.


Which foods and nutrients are good for perimenopause and menopause ?

Fibre - Eating plenty of fibre is good for your friendly bacteria; include lots of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. Fibre aids digestion, prevents constipation, and supports a healthy gut, helping to alleviate menopause-related bloating.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Found in fatty fish like salmon, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts, as well as supporting heart health and reducing inflammation, some studies have shown omega-3's may improve mood swings and cognition in menopause.

Calcium - Include some calcium to keep your bones healthy and strong and help prevent osteoporosis.. Found in dairy products, leafy greens, fortified foods, fish with soft bones, pulses, and tofu.

Gut Friiendly Foods A healthy gut is important for energy, immune health, and mood balance. Prebiotics stimulate the growth of good bacteria and can be found in some fruits and vegetables, including beetroot, bananas, blueberries, apples, garlic, leeks, onions, and ginger. Probiotic foods support gut health and contain live bacteria and yeast, like live yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.

Magnesium - Found in nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy greens. Magnesium supports muscle and nerve function, as well as mood stability.

Iron - Good sources include red meat, poultry, fish, legumes, and fortified cereals. Iron prevents anaemia, and is needed for bone health and healthy blood cells.

Vitamin D - An important vitamin that aids in calcium absorption and helps slow down bone loss, keeping bones strong and preventing fractures. Foods rich in vitamin D are oily fish, including salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Other sources include egg yolks, red meat, and liver.

B Vitamins - Abundant in whole grains, lean meats, dairy, eggs, and leafy greens. B vitamins are important to help regulate mood, combat fatigue, and maintain energy levels.


Foods to avoid in perimenopause and menopause

During perimenopause and menopause, it's wise to limit certain foods that can exacerbate symptoms. Limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption to help avoid hot flushes, and sleep disruptions. Be cautious with spicy foods if they intensify your hot flushes or night sweats. And minimise added sugars and processed carbs to avoid weight gain and mood swings.

Remember, everyone's body responds differently to foods, so pay attention to how certain foods make you feel and make adjustments as needed. 

As well as what you eat, what you do matters too. So make sure you are looking after your overall well-being with regular exercise and, of course, a good night's sleep!




This article has been reviewed by our expert advisory team.


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