• Menopause Lifestyle Solution

Eat your way to a more Manageable Menopause

Menopause is a natural and inevitable part of every woman’s life. It isn’t always an easy

transition but by adopting a healthy, balanced diet, we are better equipped to cope with


For menopausal and post-menopausal women there are aspects of the diet that are

especially important which can help lessen some of the menopausal symptoms caused

by reduced levels of estrogen as well as reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular

disease and osteoporosis. Bone Health: Calcium and vitamin D are essential in helping maintain bone density and

preventing osteoporosis. Important sources of Calcium are dairy products (milk, yogurt,

cheese), Calcium fortified products such as bread, breakfast cereals and dairy

alternatives, leafy vegetables such as kale, sesame seeds, dried figs and fish eaten with

bones. Vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium from foods and is produced in our skin

when we are exposed to sunlight. Between April and September, you will usually get

sufficient amounts of vitamin D from exposure to sunlight through time spent outdoors

and from dietary sources. Between October and March, the sunlight is not strong

enough to produce vitamin D in our skin and we have to rely on dietary sources such as

oily fish, eggs, red meat and foods fortified with vitamin D by the manufacturer, such as

fat spreads, breakfast cereals and dairy products. Heart Health: Women who are post-menopausal have an increased risk of

cardiovascular disease caused by the reduction in estrogen. There are a number of

ways in which we can help to keep our heart healthy during before, during and after

menopause. Cutting down on saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats;

reducing salt intake; regularly consuming fish, including oily fish like salmon on

mackerel; eating high fiber and wholegrain foods such as pulses, wholegrain pasta and

cereals, as well as fruit and vegetables; and maintaining a healthy body weight can

benefit heart health. Weight gain: Many women gain weight during and after the menopause. This is mainly

driven by a change in hormones and other biological factors, however excessive weight

gain increases the risk of developing certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease,

cancer and type 2 diabetes.

As Post-menopausal women already have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease

due to reduced estrogen levels it’s even more important that a balanced, varied diet

and regular exercise is adopted to maintain a healthy weight, thus reducing the

associated risks.

Symptoms: Diet can make a big difference - there are foods that can trigger

menopause symptoms, and foods (and supplements) that may alleviate them. Keeping a

food diary lets you work out what triggers your symptoms. Use this information to tweak

your diet, reducing or cutting out those foods altogether if possible. Hydration is always

key, but even more so during menopause when excessive sweating brought on by hot

flashes and night sweats can leave you dehydrated, so aim for 8 – 12 glasses daily.

Eating a balanced diet not only helps with physical health, certain foods such as eggs,

nuts, pineapple, salmon and turkey can boost serotonin levels, which will in turn lift your

mood! Supplements: Isoflavones and lignans (both classified as phytoestrogens) are similar in

structure to estrogen and therefore may help to alleviate some of the symptoms of low

estrogen levels associated with the menopause. Dietary sources

of isoflavones include soyabeans, legumes, lentils and chickpeas and foods made from

these such as texturised vegetable protein, tofu and soya drinks. There is ongoing

research about the safety and efficacy of isolated soy isoflavone supplements. While the

initial results look promising, we currently recommend using natural soy foods rat