The Menopause Diet: Eating Well to Manage Your Symptoms

A woman stands at her stove with a pot and mixes, while smiling.
  • Menopause is a natural process in a woman’s life, causing hormonal changes that have a significant impact on factors like a person’s diet.

  • Following a healthy, nutrient-dense diet is especially important during menopause because this phase can put a woman at risk of developing several health issues.

  • Incorporating nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, phytoestrogens, fiber, and omega-3s into your diet is a great way to make your menopause journey easier to navigate.

During menopause, many important changes occur in a woman’s body, and it’s important to make lifestyle adjustments that will help you navigate this phase of life.

One of these adjustments includes following a healthy diet that is rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that support various bodily functions.

A healthy diet may also help menopausal women reduce common symptoms that tend to disrupt many day-to-day activities.

The Menopausal Transition

Menopause is an inevitable phase in a woman's life that is marked by significant hormonal changes that impact various aspects of her overall health.

One of these factors is nutrition and the importance of following a healthy diet during menopause.

As the ovaries produce fewer hormones — such as estrogen and progesterone — the metabolism slows down.

This can result in weight gain for many women and increase their risk of developing bone diseases like osteoporosis.

Certain dietary choices can also make other uncomfortable menopausal symptoms worse.

That’s why following a healthy lifestyle and diet can help mitigate these risks while providing symptomatic relief.

How Does Food Affect Your Menopausal Symptoms?

What you eat can have a significant impact on your menopausal symptoms. This is largely because diet plays a role in managing hormonal changes and various bodily responses.

For example, certain foods and beverages can trigger and intensify symptoms like hot flashes, making them more uncomfortable to deal with.

Choosing to follow a healthy, nutrient-rich diet can also help you avoid secondary conditions that may develop as a result of menopause.

This includes preventing conditions like osteoporosis and lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Good dietary choices can also improve your sleep patterns — which commonly fluctuate during menopause — and help you get a better night’s rest.

Key Nutrients for a Menopause Diet

When creating a menopause-friendly diet, be sure to incorporate key nutrients.

Not only is this essential for improving your overall health, but it also helps you to alleviate some uncomfortable menopausal symptoms.

Calcium and vitamin D

Calcium and vitamin D play important roles in helping the body maintain optimal bone health, protecting it from osteoporosis — a disease that’s prevalent during menopause.

These nutrients also contribute to bone strength and density which helps to ensure that the joints are less prone to fractures.

Rich sources of calcium include dairy products — like milk, yogurt, and cheese — and leafy greens such as broccoli, kale, and bok choy.

Fortified plant-based milk and orange juice are also great sources of calcium for individuals with dietary restrictions.

Vitamin D can be obtained by spending a few minutes outside each day since the skin naturally produces this nutrient in response to UV rays.

You can also incorporate vitamin D into your diet with foods like fatty fish — including salmon, mackerel, and sardines — or fortified dairy products.

For people who struggle with vitamin D deficiencies, a doctor may recommend a supplement.

It’s important to note that these supplements don’t offer any additional benefits for individuals who already have adequate levels of vitamin D.


Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds with estrogen-like properties that may be beneficial in managing menopausal symptoms.

These compounds may provide a natural and milder form of estrogen compared to medicinal remedies, which can be helpful in restoring hormonal balance.

Flaxseeds and soy products — such as tofu, tempeh, and soy milk — are foods that are particularly rich in phytoestrogens.

These options are often the first foods recommended to women who want to make dietary changes to help them manage menopausal symptoms.

Phytoestrogens can also be found in lentils and whole grains like oats, barley, and quinoa.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids offer a number of health benefits, making them a great addition to a menopause-friendly diet.

These essential fats are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which may help ease the joint and back pain often associated with menopause.

Omega-3s are also known for their positive impact on heart health, which can support overall cardiovascular function and reduce the risk of related diseases.

Food sources like salmon and mackerel are excellent sources of omega-3s and other essential vitamins.

Other great options include walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds.

These foods also contain important nutrients that can help support other bodily functions like stabilizing blood pressure and preserving muscle mass.


Incorporating fiber into your diet is essential for supporting digestion and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Fiber promotes a feeling of fullness, which can reduce your overall calorie intake and help you avoid weight gain — a common concern during menopause.

Hormonal fluctuations can also cause gastrointestinal issues, and fiber can help you maintain regular bowel movements.

Soluble fiber — found in foods like oats and legumes — can also help regulate cholesterol and reduce inflammation.

Other great sources of fiber include whole grains — like brown rice and quinoa — as well as various nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and black beans are also good fiber-rich options.

Meal Planning and Practical Tips

Meal planning and preparation play a vital role in managing menopause and supporting overall wellbeing.

As hormonal changes during this phase can affect appetite and metabolism, adopting practical strategies can help women navigate their dietary needs more effectively.

Establish consistent mealtime routines

Eating meals at regular times can help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent energy fluctuations that may be common during menopause.

Having a mealtime routine can also help you manage hunger or cravings, which may prevent menopause-related weight gain.

Eat balanced meals

Meals that combine protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and fiber are essential for sustaining energy levels and promoting fullness.

Including various colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nuts in your meals can also help provide essential nutrients that support overall health.

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Start meal prepping

To facilitate healthier eating habits, meal prepping can be a game changer.

Spending time before the start of the week to prepare and portion meals in advance can save time and ensure healthier choices even on busy days.

It also allows for better control over ingredients and portion sizes, reducing the temptation for less nutritious options on the go.

Try new recipes

Exploring new recipes and culinary experiences can also add excitement to meal planning.

Trying out different cuisines and flavors can expand your diet and enhance mealtime enjoyment.

There are numerous cookbooks, online resources, and cooking apps that offer menopause-friendly recipes and tips for a balanced diet, too.

Create shopping lists before going to the store

Making grocery shopping lists can help you stay focused on purchasing nutritious foods and avoid impulse buying.

Including a variety of nutrient-dense foods from different food groups in the list ensures a well-rounded and nourishing selection of ingredients.

Balancing Your Hormones Alongside a Healthy Diet

Maintaining hormone balance during menopause is closely linked to diet.

Certain foods can make hormone fluctuations worse, while others can support and even help restore a normal balance.

Which foods should you avoid?

Avoiding processed foods, added sugars, and excessive alcohol may be beneficial because they can disrupt hormone levels and lead to inflammation.

A high sugar intake can also cause insulin spikes, which may impact other hormones and worsen menopausal symptoms. Spicy foods can also intensify uncomfortable sensations like hot flashes and night sweats.

Reducing or eliminating these foods from your diet may help manage hormonal fluctuations and promote overall well being.

Managing Weight and Metabolism During Menopause

Weight management can be challenging during menopause because of fluctuations in hormones that change the way the body stores fat.

A healthy diet plays an important role in managing weight during this phase. Not only does it provide the foundation for nourishing the body, but it also helps you keep your calorie intake in check.

In order to support your weight loss or management goals, especially during menopause, it is important to:

  • Incorporate mindful eating by paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues to prevent unnecessary snacking.
  • Reduce your calorie intake by having nutrient-dense foods like whole grains and lean proteins with every meal.
  • Increase your physical activity levels to promote burning calories and improving your overall health.

If you are really struggling with maintaining a healthy weight and eating habits during menopause, consult with your doctor. They can provide you with tailored weight management and meal plans to help you meet your goals while going through menopause.

LifeMD also offers a personalized weight management program that can help you navigate eating habits during menopause.

Hydration and Menopause

Proper hydration can have a significant impact on the intensity of menopause symptoms, particularly those related to temperature regulation.

Ensuring that you are hydrated can support the body’s natural cooling mechanisms and help alleviate symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats.

Menopause may also lead to changes in the skin which can cause dryness and loss of elasticity. Proper hydration can help you maintain your skin health by promoting moisture retention and overall function. Drinking more water may also contribute to a more radiant and youthful appearance.

Key Point: How Much Water Should You Drink Every Day?

For most women, the recommended daily water intake is around eight 8-ounce glasses. It’s important to note that this amount may differ based on factors like climate and activity level.

To increase your water consumption, many medical professionals may recommend getting creative with it. This can look like:

  • Making your own flavored water by adding slices of fruit, lemon, or cucumber to enhance the taste
  • Drinking more herbal teas
  • Carrying a reusable water bottle and setting reminders throughout the day

What about sodas, coffee, and alcohol?

Surgery sodas, caffeinated drinks, and alcoholic beverages may contribute to dehydration, so it’s essential to balance their intake with consuming enough water.

These drinks may also worsen menopause symptoms, and it’s generally recommended to avoid them during this phase of life.

When Should You See a Doctor About a Menopause Diet?

Before incorporating dietary changes into your routine, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about them first.

You can also tell them about specific concerns that you hope to address, providing them with a comprehensive overview of your condition. This helps your healthcare provider to give you tailored recommendations and advice for your specific situation.

They may also suggest dietary adjustments and can monitor your progress to determine if these changes are effective.

Where Can You Learn More About Menopause and Healthy Eating Habits?

If you’re concerned about your diet or want to know more about how it affects menopause, LifeMD is here to help.

Licensed doctors can assist you with information about menopause-friendly diets and provide guidance on how to effectively manage your symptoms — all from the comfort of your home.

They can also support you through LifeMD’s weight management program, which offers you a tailored plan to achieve your goals.

Make an appointment with a practitioner and start your journey to a healthier life.

Kimberli Hastings, CNP

Kimberli is a Family Nurse Practitioner, practicing in the areas of Family Medicine and Mental Health since 2019. She has worked in nursing homes, dialysis centers, and clinics. Kimberli’s goal as a healthcare provider is to improve her patients' lives.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency.

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