Menopause is a natural transition that happens when your menstrual cycles come to an end.

It’s confirmed 12 months after your last period. But the transition and symptoms associated with menopause can last for several years.

While menopause is linked to many uncomfortable symptoms and increases your risk for certain diseases, consuming certain foods may help reduce your symptoms and ease the transition.

Learn more about how what you eat may affect your symptoms.

During the transition to menopause and beyond, your levels of the hormone estrogen begin to decline, disrupting your usual cyclical patterns of estrogen and progesterone.

Declining estrogen levels can negatively affect your metabolism, potentially leading to weight gain. These changes may also affect your cholesterol levels and your digestion of carbohydrates.

Many women experience symptoms such as hot flashes and sleep problems during this transition period.

Additionally, hormonal changes lead to decreased bone density, which research indicates can increase your risk of fractures.

However, making changes in your diet may help relieve menopause symptoms and promote optimal health during this phase of life.


Menopause is a natural transition that happens when your menstrual cycles come to an end. Changes in hormone levels can cause symptoms such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances and may negatively affect metabolism and bone density.

There is evidence that certain foods may help relieve some symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, sleep problems, and low bone density.

Dairy products

The decline in estrogen levels during menopause can increase your risk of fractures.

Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, contain calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins D and K — all of which are essential for bone health.

In a 2017 study of nearly 750 women in postmenopause, those who ate more dairy and animal protein had significantly higher bone density than those who ate less.

Dairy may also help improve sleep. A 2023 review notes that the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in dairy products, helps people fall asleep and stay asleep.

Furthermore, some evidence links dairy consumption to a decreased risk of premature menopause (menopause that happens before age 45).

In another 2017 study, researchers found that women with the highest intakes of vitamin D and calcium had a 17% lower risk of early menopause. Cheese and fortified milk are rich in these nutrients.

Healthy fats

Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, may benefit women going through menopause.

According to a 2020 review, higher omega-3 fatty acid levels are associated with better health among women in postmenopause. Additionally, women in postmenopause who have diabetes or coronary heart disease tend to have lower omega-3 levels than women without those conditions.

Foods highest in omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish (such as mackerel, salmon, and anchovies) and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and hemp seeds).

Whole grains

Whole grains are high in nutrients, including fiber and B vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid.

A diet high in whole grains has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and premature death. Additionally, according to a 2021 review, women who eat more whole grains, vegetables, and unprocessed foods tend to have less severe menopausal symptoms than those who eat fewer of those foods.

Some examples of whole grain foods are brown rice, whole wheat bread, barley, quinoa, oats, Khorasan wheat (Kamut), and rye. Look for “whole grain” listed as the first ingredient on the label when evaluating which packaged foods contain primarily whole grains.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

A 2020 study found that women who ate more fruits and vegetables had fewer menopausal symptoms than women who ate less of those foods.

Dark berries may be especially beneficial among women going through menopause. In a small 8-week study of 60 women in postmenopause, participants who consumed 25 grams of freeze-dried strawberry powder per day had lower blood pressure than those in a control group, who did not consume the powder.

However, it’s generally recommended to “eat the rainbow” of fruits and vegetables in order to get all the necessary vitamins and minerals

Phytoestrogen-containing foods

Phytoestrogens are compounds in foods that act as weak estrogens in your body.

While there has been some controversy around including these in your diet, the most recent research suggests that they may benefit postmenopausal health, particularly by improving bone health and lowering cardiovascular risk. However, more research is needed to better understand the connection.

Foods that naturally contain phytoestrogens include soybeans, chickpeas, peanuts, flaxseed, barley, grapes, berries, plums, and green and black tea.

Quality protein

The decline in estrogen from menopause is linked to decreased muscle mass and bone strength.

For this reason, women going through menopause should eat more protein. Guidelines recommend 1–2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

In a 2018 study of 131 women in postmenopause, those who took 5 grams of collagen peptides daily had significantly better bone mineral density than those who took a placebo powder.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body.

In a large 2017 study in adults over age 50, eating dairy protein was linked to an 8% lower risk of hip fracture, and eating plant protein was linked to a 12% reduction.

Foods high in protein include eggs, meat, fish, legumes, and dairy products. Additionally, you can add protein powders to smoothies or baked goods.


Incorporating dairy products, healthy fats, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, foods high in phytoestrogens, and quality protein sources into your diet may help relieve some menopause symptoms.

Limiting certain foods may help reduce some of the symptoms linked to menopause, such as hot flashes, weight gain, and sleep problems.

Some of the most important foods and drinks to limit are:

Menopause is linked to changes in metabolism, reduced bone density, and increased risk of heart disease.

Additionally, many women going through menopause experience unpleasant symptoms such as hot flashes and sleep problems.

A whole-food diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high quality protein, and dairy products may reduce menopause symptoms. Consuming phytoestrogens and healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids from fish, may also help.

You may want to limit your consumption of added sugars, processed high carb foods, alcohol, caffeine, and high sodium foods as well. These dietary changes might help make this important transition in your life easier.