Menopausal woman with bowl of health seeds

Menopause Superfoods - Phytoestrogens

With so many changes happening to your body in perimenopause and menopause, eating a well-balanced diet is vital to giving you the stamina you need, but did you know that some foods can help relieve symptoms?

Flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios contain all the good things you need in menopause - vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. They also contain phytoestrogens, natural plant molecules that closely resemble and mimic the actions of estrogen in the body.


How do phytoestrogens work?

Phytoestrogens have a chemical structure similar (although weaker) to human estrogen and work by interacting with estrogen receptors in the body. 

Studies have shown in cases where estrogen levels are low, such as during perimenopause and menopause, phytoestrogens exert a mild estrogenic effect by partially occupying estrogen receptors, providing some relief from symptoms including hot flushes, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. 

Further studies have also shown the benefits of phytoestrogens in regard to protection from heart disease and lowering the risk of osteoporosis.


Foods containing phytoestrogens:

Soybeans and soy products (tofu, tempeh, soy milk, edamame)

Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil

Sesame seeds and sesame oil

Chickpeas and other legumes (lentils, black beans, kidney beans)

Hummus (made from chickpeas and sesame seeds)

Whole grains (oats, barley, brown rice)

Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)

Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)

Alfalfa sprouts


Sunflower seeds

Nuts (peanuts, walnuts, almonds, and cashews)


How many phytoestrogens do you need to be effective?

The effective amount of phytoestrogen can vary depending on several factors, including age, hormonal balance, and specific health concerns. And while there’s no established recommended daily intake (RDI) as they are not considered essential nutrients, research suggests that consuming approximately 30–50 milligrammes per day may provide potential health benefits for some women.

It's important to note that the optimal amount of phytoestrogens can differ for each person, and some may be more sensitive to their effects than others. If in doubt, it’s always best to consult with your healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalised guidance.

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