7 Nutrient-Rich Foods Women Should Eat During Menopause

Embarking on the journey through menopause can be challenging, but a well-balanced diet can make a significant difference in managing its effects. In this blog, we explore seven nutrient-rich foods tailored to support women during menopause. From bone-strengthening calcium sources to mood-enhancing omega-3 fatty acids, let’s discover how incorporating these foods into your daily meals can contribute to a healthier and more comfortable menopausal experience.

What are the best foods to eat during menopause?

During the menopause transition, hormonal changes can often disrupt sleep. Incorporating certain foods into your diet may help to promote better sleep quality. Here are some foods that may contribute to improved sleep during menopause transition:

1. Foods Rich in Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid that contributes to the production of serotonin and melatonin, which both play a role in creating quality sleep.  Studies suggest that nutritional interventions such as consuming tart cherry juice or incorporating tryptophan-rich foods into the diet have shown promise in improving various aspects of sleep during the menopausal transition. Since our bodies cannot produce tryptophan on their own, obtaining it from our food becomes imperative for supporting the intricate relationship between serotonin and brain function.

Foods high in tryptophan include turkey, chicken, dairy products, nuts, seeds, and tofu. While serotonin helps in improving sleep quality, high doses of serotonin are unhealthy as they may lead to serotonin syndrome—an adverse condition resulting from an excess of serotonin in the body. Serotonin syndrome is a serious and potentially fatal condition characterized by mental changes, hot flashes, rapid fluctuations in blood pressure and heart rate, and in severe cases, coma or death.

2. Whole Grains

The menopausal phase increases the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease due to hormonal fluctuations.  Research indicates that incorporating whole grains into the diet may play a protective role, potentially reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats are good sources of Vitamin B complex and trace minerals. These enhance the natural production of sleep hormones in the brain which improves sleep and relaxation. Hence, embracing whole grains can be a proactive measure to support overall health during the menopausal transition.

3. Fruits

Fruits and vegetables stand out as some of the healthiest options in our diet. These nutritional powerhouses are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them essential components that should fill at least half of your plate during meals. Examples include cherries, especially tart cherries, as well as bananas, kiwi, and oranges. Numerous research findings highlight the specific benefits of incorporating more fruits and vegetables into the diet, especially for menopausal women.

In a prior study published in June 2018 in Maturitas, researchers examined vegans—individuals who abstain from consuming animal products. The findings revealed that vegans ‘report less bothersome vasomotor and physical menopausal symptoms than omnivores. This suggests a potential link between a plant-based diet and reduced severity of vasomotor and physical symptoms commonly associated with menopause. These advantages include a reduction in hot flashes, enhanced sleep quality, lower rates of depression, improved weight loss, and lowered blood pressure.

Fruits containing melatonin can regulate sleep-wake cycles, creating a restful night and an energetic morning. Embracing these colorful and nutrient-packed foods can contribute significantly to overall well-being during the menopausal transition.

4. Nuts and Seeds

Walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and almonds aren’t just delicious snacks or salad toppings—they’re nutritional powerhouses. Packed with polyunsaturated fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, these tiny superfoods can play a significant role in alleviating menopause symptoms. The unsaturated fats present in nuts and seeds contribute to maintaining the skin’s natural oils, promoting skin health. Their benefits extend to improving bone mineral density, providing valuable support in the fight against osteoporosis. Besides, these nuts and seeds also produce a relaxing effect on the muscles and nervous system. While nuts and seeds are nutritionally dense, it’s advisable to be mindful of portion sizes to balance caloric intake.

5. Fatty Fish

While the benefits of fish oil extend beyond menopausal symptoms, it can be particularly helpful during menopause or perimenopause, addressing key issues like depressed moods and hot flashes. A comprehensive analysis of research focused on omega-3 supplementation for menopausal women discovered that while omega-3s may offer relief for night sweats, they do not appear to be as effective in addressing hot flashes.

Nevertheless, omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in easing symptoms such as depression moods and anxiety, risk factor prevention for heart disease, and benefit those with metabolic syndrome. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Adequate intake can improve sleep quality and promote liver detoxification. Besides, fish oil operates primarily by addressing inflammation, a key factor in various diseases and symptoms. By reducing the body’s production of inflammatory substances, fish oil targets chronic inflammation, providing relief from menopausal symptoms and contributing to overall health.

6. Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy greens are super healthy and perfect for meeting your nutritional needs during perimenopause and menopause. Examples of these greens include watercress, Swiss chard, rocket, spinach, bok choy, leafy green cabbages, microgreens, and sprouted seeds like alfalfa, mung beans, and radish sprouting seeds. They aren’t just nutritious—they’re great for your mood too, something that can be particularly important during perimenopause and menopause. These greens can lift your spirits as they are loaded with folate, a nutrient known for its mood-boosting properties.

Folate plays a role in the production of mood-enhancing compounds such as dopamine and serotonin, contributing to an overall positive impact on your mood during these phases of life. They are also good sources of magnesium, calcium, and other minerals that contribute to overall bone health and can aid in better sleep. You can enjoy them in many ways—toss them in salads or cook them in various dishes.

7. Dairy Products

Dairy products like milk and yoghurt contain tryptophan and calcium, both of which are linked to improved sleep. However, opt for low-fat or non-dairy alternatives if preferred. According to a study conducted in 2017 that involved nearly 750 postmenopausal women, revealed that individuals with higher consumption of dairy and animal protein exhibited notably greater bone density compared to those with lower dietary intake.

Additionally, there is supporting evidence suggesting that the consumption of dairy products is associated with a reduced likelihood of experiencing premature menopause, defined as menopause occurring before the age of 45.


It’s important to note that individual responses to foods can vary, and it’s advisable to pay attention to how your body reacts to different foods. Additionally, maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet and adequate water intake can contribute to better sleep and overall health. Contact us to get doctor advice on menopause hormone testing.

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