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Menopause Diet Plans: What and When to Eat

Menopause officially occurs when you go a full year without getting your period. It is a time when some things have to change, and that includes your nutritional habits. As hormone levels change, your body starts working differently. But with good nutrition, you can help prevent and ease the symptoms and signs of menopause.
A woman having a healthy menopause diet plan

Best diet for menopause: what you should know

During menopause, you are at an increased risk of gaining weight due to various factors including age and hormonal fluctuations. To maintain a healthy weight, take this into consideration when you plan your menopause diet. Three healthy menopause diet plans that can help you maintain a healthy weight during menopause are:

Low-carb diet 

According to some studies, a low-carb menopause diet plan is excellent for maintaining a healthy weight. A low-carb diet plan restricts carbohydrates and includes lots of vegetables, fat, and protein. 

Foods that you should eat in a low-carb menopause diet plan are:

  • Meat — beef, lamb, chicken, pork, and others, preferably grass fed
  • Fish — trout, salmon, and haddock, preferably wild caught
  • Eggs — pastured or enriched with omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vegetables — broccoli, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, and others
  • Fruits — oranges, apples, blueberries, strawberries, and pears
  • Seeds and nuts — walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, etc.
  • High-fat dairy products — cheese, heavy cream, yogurt, and butter
  • Oils and fats — coconut oil, butter, fish oil, olive oil, and lard

Foods that you can include in moderation are: 

  • Tubers such as potatoes
  • Unrefined grains such as oats, quinoa, and brown rice
  • Legumes such as lentils, pinto beans, etc. 
  • Dark chocolate
  • Coffee and tea (without sugar)
  • Wine

Foods that you must avoid in a low-carb menopause diet plan are:

  • Sugar — fruit juices, candy, soft drinks, ice cream, agave, and any other product containing added sugar
  • Refined grains — white rice, rye, wheat, and barley along with pasta, cereal, and bread
  • Trans fats — hydrogenated oils
  • Low-fat and diet products
  • Highly processed food items
  • Starchy vegetables

Mediterranean diet 

Although people commonly follow a Mediterranean diet to reduce their risk of heart disease and improve their overall health, according to studies, this type of menopause diet plan may also help maintain a healthy weight. 

For this menopause diet plan, center your meals on the following unprocessed, healthy Mediterranean foods:

  • Vegetables — broccoli, tomatoes, kale, onions, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, brussels sprouts, etc.
  • Fruits — bananas, apples, oranges, strawberries, pears, dates, grapes, figs, peaches, melons, etc.
  • Seeds and nuts — walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, etc.
  • Legumes — peas, beans, pulses, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, etc. 
  • Lubers — sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, turnips, etc.
  • Whole grains — brown rice, whole oats, barley, rye, corn, whole wheat, buckwheat, whole grain pasta, and bread
  • Seafood — salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, shrimp, mackerel, clams, crabs, oysters, mussels, etc.
  • Spices and herbs — mint, basil, sage, rosemary, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, etc.
  • Healthy fats — olives, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and avocados

You should drink plenty of water while on a Mediterranean diet. You can also include one glass of red wine per day. You can keep drinking tea and coffee, but make sure to avoid beverages sweetened with sugar such as fruit juices and soda. 

Foods that you should consume in moderate amounts are eggs, cheese, poultry, and yogurt. Don’t eat refined grains, highly processed food items, processed meat, refined oils, added sugar, or trans fats. 

Menopause diet

Vegan and vegetarian diets may also be good options for your menopause diet. According to studies, postmenopausal women who follow a vegan diet report a significant loss in weight and overall improvement in their health. But, a more flexible vegetarian diet, which includes eggs and dairy, also works well. Be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any diet plan.

Products for your menopause diet

During menopause, your diet should include a wide variety of foods so that you obtain all the essential nutrients. A healthy menopause diet and lifestyle can help reduce the severity of various symptoms of menopause and also protect against chronic health problems such as osteoporosis and heart diseases, which can result from a lack of estrogen. 

Healthy fats

Postmenopausal women are at an increased risk for developing heart disease, so for your menopause diet plan, make sure to pick foods that help protect your heart.

Reduce your intake of saturated fats and increase the consumption of unsaturated fats. Eat fish at least twice a week, and choose oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel for one of those occasions.

Moreover, consuming healthy fats including omega-3 fatty acids as part of your menopause diet plan may improve symptoms related to menopause. Some foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish, flax seeds, anchovies, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. 

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Whole grain 

Include whole grain food items in your menopause diet plan, as they are a rich source of many nutrients including B vitamins. According to studies, eating a diet rich in whole grains reduces your risk of cancer, heart disease, and premature death. Some examples include: 

  • Whole grain cereals
  • Whole grain pasta and bread 
  • Beans and pulses 
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Brown rice 

Fruits and vegetables

No matter which one you’re following, fresh fruits and vegetables should form an important part of your menopause diet plan. Fruits and vegetables have a lot of fiber, and according to health experts, most adult women should consume around 21 grams of fiber every day. Furthermore, they are also packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. Aim for at least two cups of vegetables and one-and-a-half cups of fruit per day. 

Water

Drink lots of water. Try to drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water per day. 

Estrogen-rich foods for menopause

According to studies, eating plant-based foods that contain phytoestrogens can help raise estrogen levels in women. Because of this, these foods may help relieve menopausal symptoms and lower levels of cholesterol. Some of the foods that help with hot flashes, mood swings, and other symptoms of menopause are soy milk, tofu, flax seeds, apricots, sesame seeds, yams, and olive oil.

Products to avoid on a menopause diet

To help reduce menopausal symptoms such as poor sleep, hot flashes, and weight gain, you might want to avoid certain foods in your menopause diet: 

  • Processed carbohydrates and added sugars, such as sugary baked goods, crackers, and white bread
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Foods high in salt
  • Spicy foods

Foods that cause hot flashes

If you’re experiencing occasional hot flashes, it may help to avoid certain foods and drinks. Research has shown that alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods have a tendency to trigger hot flashes.

What supplements to look for while on a menopause diet

Along with a healthy menopause diet, these supplements can help prevent or alleviate the symptoms of menopause:

  • Flaxseed — Flaxseed oil and flax seeds may help relieve mild symptoms of menopause. 
  • Calcium — Due to reduced levels of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at an increased risk of developing bone loss. It is vital to get enough calcium to prevent this. If you need a calcium supplement, take it under the guidance of your doctor. 
  • Vitamin D — Vitamin D is as important for maintaining bone health as calcium. Your body also uses it to absorb calcium. Check with your doctor about vitamin D supplements. 
  • Black cohosh — According to some studies, black cohosh supplements may help relieve symptoms of menopause, especially hot flashes. 

Menopause officially begins after you haven’t had your period for a full year. During menopause, you are at an increased risk of weight gain. Your menopause diet should take this into consideration.

There are several healthy menopause diet plans that can help you maintain a healthy weight during this phase. Your menopause diet should include healthy fats, whole grain foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lots of water. You may also want to include estrogen-rich foods for menopause in your diet.

There are also foods you can avoid to prevent hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. No matter what, make sure to talk to your doctor to devise a healthy diet plan for you.

https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/staying-healthy-through-good-nuitrition

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lose-weight-in-menopause

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/low-carb-diet-meal-plan-and-menu

https://www.webmd.com/menopause/ss/slideshow-menopause

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