Managing Menopause: What to Eat and What to Skip

by Danielle Omar, MS, RD
Managing Menopause: What to Eat and What to Skip
While some menopause symptoms are just annoying (hello hot flashes), problems like bone loss or high cholesterol can pose a more serious health risk as you age. What’s the best secret weapon for staying healthy as we age? Eating right, of course! Let’s take a look at what to eat and what to avoid during menopause to make this natural aging process a little more manageable:

What to Eat

Calcium Less estrogen production during menopause means bone loss can speed up, so calcium is more important now than ever. Getting enough calcium slows down bone loss so your bones stay healthy longer. Aim for 1,000mg calcium per day (the amount in one Cal-EZ packet) from ‘ Calcium-rich foods like dairy products, leafy greens, and broccoli.

Whole Grains Whole grains are rich in fiber, which helps keep you fuller longer. This is key for preventing weight gain during menopause. Fiber also helps lower your risk of cardiovascular disease (which increases after menopause) by keeping cholesterol levels in check. Great whole grain choices include oats, quinoa, rye, 100% whole wheat, and wild rice.
Photo: The Pioneer Woman
Iron Even though your iron needs technically go down after menopause, it’s still important to make sure you’re getting enough. Iron helps carry oxygen in your blood. Not getting enough can cause you to feel lethargic and fatigued. Load up on iron-rich foods like lean red meat, poultry, lentils, and leafy green veggies.

Vitamin D Getting enough vitamin D is just as important as getting calcium during menopause. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium so you’re able to maximize all the bone health benefits from calcium-rich foods and supplements. Cal-EZ has you covered here, too, since each packet of the Calcium and Vitamin D supplement gives you 1,000 IU of vitamin D.
Photo: francois schnell
Produce Eating fruits and vegetables is great health advice for anyone, but even more so during menopause. Greens, vegetables and berries provide vital nutrients while adding volume to your diet without adding loads of calories, making it easier for you to maintain your weight. They’re also chock full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that keep cell damage at bay. Aim to make half your plate vegetables at every meal.
Soy Soy contains compounds called isoflavones, which mimic estrogen in the body. This is especially helpful for balancing your hormone levels during menopause, when your estrogen production slows. Soy foods can help reduce symptoms like hot flashes and help to maintain bone health. Organic tofu, fresh edamame, tempeh and miso are great soy foods to include in your diet.

Foods to Avoid

Alcohol As we age, every calorie counts. Alcohol provides “empty” calories, which provide little bang for your calorie buck and make it difficult to manage your weight during menopause. Alcohol can also be trigger for hot flashes, so steer clear if you’re looking to manage those. Caffeine Caffeine is another common trigger for hot flashes and can pose a risk for bone health in post-menopausal women. Caffeine also interacts with calcium, hindering its ability to prevent bone loss. Although it isn’t a major concern during early age, as bone loss accelerates during menopause, it’s a good idea to limit any factors that could get in the way of calcium doing its job. Stick to one cup of coffee or tea per day, or switch to decaf if you can. High-Sugar Foods Sugar is another “empty calorie” food that isn’t helpful for weight loss and can trigger menopause symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings. High sugar consumption can increase insulin response as well, a hormone that’s already out of balance during menopause. Looking for more information on aging well? Check out this post on ways to feel young and energetic after 40, this post on more ways to help your body during menopause and this list of top superfoods women should be eating. SaveSave SaveSaveSaveSave