Foods That Ease Perimenopause Symptoms

Perimenopause can cause symptoms like hot flashes and changes in metabolism, but some foods may help ease your symptoms.

Perimenopause, the transitional phase before menopause, can cause symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, and changes in metabolism. While there's no one-size-fits-all solution, some foods may help ease some of your symptoms with supportive nutrients and hormonal balance.

Perimenopause: how nutrition helps

As our bodies enter a new phase during perimenopause, symptoms can be bothersome, and frustrating, and put us at a higher risk for health concerns. But adopting a nutritious, diverse diet alongside beneficial lifestyle adjustments can help reduce symptoms and shield us against certain long-term health issues such as osteoporosis (a condition characterized by weakened bones) and heart disease (1). Incorporate more of these healthy foods in your diet to prevent or tame perimenopausal symptoms: 

Whole grains 

Whole grains like oats, brown rice, and quinoa are rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber, which can help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce mood swings and irritability. This is especially important during perimenopause, when estrogen is decreased, which can impact how well our body uses glucose (sugar) and our sensitivity to insulin (2). 

Lean protein 

Getting enough protein is important throughout life but even more important as we age. Not getting enough can contribute to muscle breakdown, decreased immune function, and longer recovery times (3). It can also help regulate weight gain, which is a common symptom of perimenopause and menopause (4). Protein is found in some plant-based foods such as beans, lentils, nuts, chickpeas, and tofu. Animal sources of protein include meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and seafood. 

Healthy fats

Perimenopause and menopause increases our risk for heart disease (5). Incorporating sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish (such as salmon and mackerel) can help support hormonal balance and reduce inflammation, potentially easing symptoms like hot flashes and joint pain.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which can support overall health and alleviate symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings (6). Examples of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables include avocado, leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Calcium and vitamin D-rich foods

Perimenopause and menopause are associated with bone loss, so it's essential to consume calcium-rich foods such as dairy products, leafy greens, tofu, and fortified plant-based milk to support bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, or a decrease in the structure and strength of bones (1). Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium. Vitamin D is naturally found in egg yolks, cheese, fatty fish, or fortified sources of milk, cereal, juice, yogurt. Since it’s not found in many foods, you may want to consult your doctor if supplementation is necessary. 

Flaxseeds and soy 

Flaxseeds are rich in healthy fats as well as lignans, which are plant compounds with estrogen-like properties. Soy contains phytoestrogens, called isoflavones, which mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. When consumed over time, these may help alleviate menopausal symptoms for some women (7). Add whole flax seeds to your yogurt or smoothies or try this delicious Tofu and Broccoli Bowl

Listen through lifestyle changes

Remember it's essential to listen to your body and consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalized advice and recommendations based on your specific symptoms and health needs. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet with an app like Lifesum, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, managing stress, and getting enough sleep are all important factors when it comes to easing your perimenopause symptoms. 

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