Like most women, you’re probably moving along well in life — fairly healthy and having a stable weight — when all of a sudden, without eating your changing habits, you gain ten pounds. Then come the hot flashes, the exhaustion, and the inability to sleep.

Will your body ever go back to normal?

“A woman’s health is a barometer of her environment. It is molded and shaped according to her evolution in the womb and the social, cultural, and ecological environment of her childhood. It is created out of her relationships, her joys and traumas. It is grounded in the quality of her nutrition and the purity of the water and air around her. At each stage of a woman’s life cycle, because of her innate connection to birth, creativity, and the protection of the human race, a woman’s health represents a sentinel of subtle and great disturbances in our culture and our environment. “ — Dr. Hyman

Your body sends messages to you through your hormones. The control center of your body is your brain. When perceives something from your environment that needs to be addressed internally, it sends signals via your hormones to communicate the action to be taken by your internal organs, tissues, other hormones, etc.

Our nutritional environment can create balance and restore the optimal function of our hormones. Certain foods such as sugar, processed food and food additives, alcohol, antibiotics in meat, etc. are perceived by our body as stressors, causing it to jump start sequences of protective action via our hormones. These actions manifest as inflammation and food intolerance. Other nutrients and phytonutrients such as isoflaves, omega 3s, and B vitamins have the ability to enhance specific pathways of detoxification and to allow us to optimally release sex hormones.

The key to managing the changes you’re experiencing is to get on board with a positive diet for menopause.
There are things we can do right now to improve our diet and to take control of the symptoms of menopause that are running away with us. And guess what? It’s not that hard! Here are three things to implement right away.

1. Eat more vegetables (5–6 cups / day)

Adding more vegetables to your diet will immediately make a positive impact on your health and well-being as you go through menopause. Increase fiber specifically! This will have a wonderful detoxing effect on the body.

Focus on cruciferous vegetables, aiming for one cup per day. Cauliflower, cress, bokchoy, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are examples of cruciferous vegetables. They are rich in vitamins A, B, C, D and E. They are also good sources of zinc and contain sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, which are great for supporting detoxification and indole-3-carbinol, which is especially beneficial to estrogen metabolism.

You also want to increase our intake of phytoestrogen such as flax, sesame, leafy greens, alfalfa, licorice root, and legumes. Phytoestrogens are dietary estrogens because they’re not created by the human body. We get them from the food we eat. Phytoestrogens are amazing because they have the ability both to mimic estrogen and to act as an opposing force to estrogen, behaving in the opposite way of biological estrogen. These important nutrients affect the body because they attach to estrogen receptors and prevent more powerful estrogen produced by your body from getting in there and complicating things.

2. Increase your omega 3 intake

Healthy fats are good for you, especially when you’re going through menopause. For people on very low fat, low cholesterol diets, there tends to be a lower level of hormones because the building blocks of hormones are provided by dietary fat. One of them is cholesterol. Low cholesterol and therefore low production of hormones can lead to hormonal imbalance. Extremely low fat is not a great diet for menopause.

Get lots of healthy fats such as butter and olive oil, and focus on increasing your consumption of omega-3 fats. Omega-3 has been shown to promote the healthy metabolism of estrogen.

Another amazing benefit of omega-3 fats is their ability to decrease inflammation in our body. Inflammation is one of the elements of our environment that can negatively impact our hormonal balance.

Include 2–3 servings of cold water fish weekly — think wild salmon, sardines, and herring. Also, switch from conventional, feedlot meat products to pasture-raised beef and lamb, as the ratio of omega 3 is significantly higher in pasture-raised meats.

3. Reduce your sugar intake

When you’re tackling a diet for menopause, a key place to look at is sugar. We have heard it more than once: sugar is bad for us. We know that white sugar and added sugar won’t do us any good. Did you know that all carbohydrates including whole grains, rice, sweet potatoes, fruits even quinoa are being metabolized by our body as sugar? We need to start looking beyond just added sugar!

When we consume more than 16 grams of carbohydrates at once, our body will release insulin hormones into our blood to lower and stabilize our blood sugar levels. A problem occurs when it overproduces insulin like in most cases. When we overconsume carbohydrates, it has a negative impact on SHBG hormone, which helps metabolize estrogen and progesterone. Also, years of high carbohydrate consumption may lead to insulin sensitivity.

Look for all forms of added sugar in your diet and first deal with these. Then instead of having a high-carbohydrate breakfast, add more protein and healthy fats to your first meal of the day. For lunch and dinner, focus on getting 4–6 cups of vegetables. By increasing your consumption of vegetables ( Tip #1), there will be less room on the plate for anything else, thus making it easier to eat less carbohydrate-laden foods.

Diet for Menopause

Diet is such a very powerful agent in reducing the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause! Getting into a diet for menopause is absolutely key to making things easier. By simply nourishing your body with what it needs to properly metabolize hormones, you can restore balance so you can get rid of your muffin top and the hot flashes that have been robbing you of a good night’s sleep.
What’s more important is to realize that we are NOT defective. We are wonderfully designed and sensitive beings that can thrive and be healthy by following a few laws of biology. We should go with dietary changes before moving on to medication.

Share your thoughts: Have you experience any positive benefits from changing your diet? Do you think it can help you?

Author's Bio: 

Stephanie Dodier is a Clinical Nutritionist, Author, and Host of The Beyond The Food Show podcast. She has dedicated herself to helping women overcome food cravings, optimize their relationship with food, and achieve their health goals. To learn more about her work and get access to her free resources, visit