Menopause Corner
Menopause Corner

Wendy Hoffman blogs about menopause and women's health—particularly focusing on how diet and nutrition can positively affect a woman's life around the age of menopause.

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These Foods Could Be More Effective than HRT for Menopausal Symptoms

If you’ve been looking into natural remedies to alleviate menopausal symptoms, you’ve probably read about phytoestrogen rich foods like flax seed and soy, or botanicals such as Black Cohosh and Dong Quai. But recently, while perusing The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods, I came across three suggestions that were new to me. If you prefer to take the natural route through the menopause journey, consider following the advice of author James Duke PhD, who at one time was Chief of the Medicinal Plant Resources Lab at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.


Dr. Duke gives high marks to the delicious Pomegranate, whose health promoting properties have been celebrated for centuries. This biblical fruit is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine for everything from nose bleeds to sagging breasts. He writes that it may be a source of beneficial compounds that guard against heart disease and cancer. When it comes to menopause symptoms, Dr. Duke suggests that it might work even better than HRT due to its abundant supply of estrogen - “more than any other plant source” -  making it as potent as two days of HRT pills.

Black Beans

Since “Healing Foods” was published five years ago, there have been a number of high-quality studies examining the effectiveness of soy extracts as a remedy for menopause symptoms. The results have been mixed, but mostly disappointing. But maybe black beans is worth a try instead. Dr. Duke suggests trying them as an alternative to soy beans to reduce hot flashes. “They contain the same amount of phytoestrogens,” as well as “the phytoestrogen compounds including isoflavones, lignans, and phytosterols.

Celery and Herbs in the Celery Family 

Celery and dill, fennel and anise, Dr. Duke writes, “are four more in the long list of mildly estrogenic herbs. They all have some 40 to 50 phytochemicals.” It’s why he ranked it fourth on his list of the 12 greatest disease-fighting foods. (Beans earned the top spot!) 

It certainly can’t hurt to try these suggested remedies and, at worst, you just might find that you love pomegranates. If you’re interested in learning more about this fruit and why it’s often referred to as the “ultimate health food,” read “Pomegranate: The Most Medicinal Fruit” by Robert A Newman PhD and Melissa L. Block.


And for more information about natural remedies for menopause symptoms, visit the website of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Wendy Hoffman writes about women’s health at







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About the Author

Wendy writes about women's health in midlife.