Menopause and Nutrition 


All women want a better and symptom free natural ageing process between the age of 45 and 55. This is the period a woman goes through menopause. It is estimated that around 1.2 billion women will be menopausal by the year 2030. [1]

Unfortunately, this stage of a woman’s life usually presents itself with unpleasant symptoms: fatigue, trouble sleeping, weight gain, and hot flushes. Today you will learn about menopause and nutrition, the symptoms of menopause, and how these symptoms can be managed through diet and lifestyle changes.

What is menopause?

A woman is said to be in menopause when she has not menstruated for 12 consecutive months. This happens when there is a decrease in the production of ovarian hormones called oestrogen and progesterone and typically occurs at around 45 - 55 years of age. [2]


Menopause symptoms can seriously impact your daily life and activities, such as social life, family life, and relationship with others. Women experience menopause in different ways: 20% will have no symptoms, while 20% may have all the symptoms below. [3][4][5]

  • Change in your period, you may experience a change in the regular pattern of your periods before it eventually stops
  •  Hot flushes, you experience sudden feelings of hot or cold in your face, neck, and chest which can make you dizzy
  • Sleep disturbance, which may be a result of night sweats and make you feel tired and irritable during the day
  • Palpitations, where you notice your heartbeats suddenly become more noticeable
  • Headaches
  •  Muscle aches and joint pains
  •  Weight gain
  • Skin changes including dry and itchy skin
  • Reduced sex drive
  •  Vaginal dryness and pain, itching, or discomfort during sex
  •  Recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Change in hair and skin texture
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating (Brain fog) and problems with memory

Menopause is a natural part of ageing

Ageing is associated with your body composition. This process affects both your physical activity and health. Studies suggest that the change in a female body coincides with menopause. Menopausal transitioning usually lasts 2-7 years. During this period, clinical changes occur in your body composition because of ageing and hormonal changes. [2] Hormonal changes result from an impairment of the protective role of oestrogen and an increase in the level of androgen in your body. [6]

Although menopause is a natural part of ageing , that does not mean it is an easy phase. Some women experience menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mental health symptoms, and physical problems. These symptoms can make some menopausal women develop low self-esteem.

Some women believe menopause is a phase in their life they must suffer through. While it is difficult for some women to discuss menopause, talking about this natural part of a woman’s life can be helpful and empowering. [7]

A balanced diet is vital in preventing early menopause

A balanced diet is an important factor to prevent early menopause and caring for yourself during menopause. Dietary factors could influence the lifespan of the ovaries and sex-hormones levels in your body. [1] When you eat healthily, your body gets the required nutrients such as calcium and vitamins. During the menopausal transition, a decrease in oestrogen has been linked with loss of lean body mass and an increase in fat mass. These changes in your body can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. [8]

Crucial nutrients

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a unique nutrient as it can be synthesised by your body with the help of sunlight. You do not need dietary vitamin D if you are exposed to sufficient sunlight everyday. Vitamin D can be synthesised from sunlight or obtained from food. It is activated through the breakdown of chemicals in your liver and kidneys. [2] Always eat foods that are good sources of vitamin D because it helps your body use calcium. Foods containing vitamin D include: [9]

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Mackerel

Examples of good sources of vitamin D-fortified foods are:

  • Milk
  • Soy beverage
  • Orange juice
  • Cereal

If you think you do not get enough nutrition from your food, talk to your doctor or dietitian about vitamin supplements.

Omega-3 fats

Omega-3 plays a vital role in many aspects of your health such as growth, development, and brain function. Research suggests omega-3 may help reduce inflammation, protect the heart, and control insulin. [2] If you are close to menopause or in the menopausal age, it is advisable you consume an optimal amount of omega-3 to obtain these health benefits. The food sources of omega-3 include: [2]

  • Oils such as canola, flaxseed, wheat, walnut, and soybean
  • Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, and soybeans

Other food sources of omega-3 EPA and DHA are human milk, fish, and seafood.


Phytoestrogen, also called plant oestrogen, are substances found naturally in plants. They possess similar chemical properties to the oestrogen found in your body. Phytoestrogen can bind to the same receptors that the oestrogen in your body binds to. The impact of phytoestrogens varies depending on the woman’s reproductive years. [10]

Phytoestrogen helps to relieve menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. [11] Some studies in humans have shown potential benefits of phytoestrogens regarding heart disease risk, bone disease, brain disease, breast and prostate cancer, and menopausal symptoms. [10] A study shows that one-third of women who eat a particular diet (Asian diet) that delivers an amount of phytoestrogen find that their menopausal symptoms improve. [3]

Some good sources of phytoestrogens are:

  • Soy product examples include soybeans, soy milk, and tofu
  • Grain examples are oats, quinoa, wheat germ, and rice
  • Seed and nuts examples are flaxseed, sunflower seed, almond, and sesame seeds
  • Legumes examples are chickpeas, lentils, and red kidney beans


Women experience menopause with ageing. Menopause may lead to various changes, especially in how your body metabolises fat due to reduced oestrogen secretion. These changes increase your chances of becoming overweight. As menopause is associated with altered fat levels and increased risk of metabolic disorders, including heart disease, perimenopausal, menopausal, and postmenopausal, women must consume recommended diets and beneficial foods. Physical activity and diet are vital factors in menopause because they are important for your heart protection.


  1. Dunneram Y, Greenwood DC, Cade JE. Diet, menopause and the risk of ovarian, endometrial and breast cancer. Proc Nutr Soc [Internet]. 2019 Aug [cited 2022 Nov 20];78(3):438–48. Available from:
  2. Ko SH, Kim HS. Menopause-associated lipid metabolic disorders and foods beneficial for postmenopausal women. Nutrients [Internet]. 2020 Jan 13 [cited 2022 Nov 20];12(1):202. Available from:
  3. Cutson TM, Meuleman E. Managing menopause. Am Fam Physician [Internet]. 2000 Mar [cited 2022 Nov 20];61(5):1391-1406. Available from:
  4. Menopause - symptoms [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2022 Nov 20]. Available from:
  5. What is menopause? [Internet]. National Institute on Aging. [cited 2022 Nov 20]. Available from:
  6. Spangenberg A, Maghsoodi N, Dulnoan D, Moore AE, Edwards S, Frost ML, et al. Bone mineral density and body composition are associated with circulating angiogenic factors in post-menopausal women. Calcif Tissue Int [Internet]. 2016 Dec [cited 2022 Nov 20];99(6):608–15. Available from:
  7. Why you should speak up about menopause | pfizer [Internet]. [cited 2022 Nov 20]. Available from:
  8. Silva TR, Oppermann K, Reis FM, Spritzer PM. Nutrition in menopausal women: a narrative review. Nutrients [Internet]. 2021 Jun 23 [cited 2022 Nov 20];13(7):2149. Available from:
  9. Lips P. Vitamin D physiology. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology [Internet]. 2006 Sep [cited 2022 Nov 20];92(1):4–8. Available from:
  10. Domínguez-López I, Yago-Aragón M, Salas-Huetos A, Tresserra-Rimbau A, Hurtado-Barroso S. Effects of dietary phytoestrogens on hormones throughout a human lifespan: a review. Nutrients [Internet]. 2020 Aug 15 [cited 2022 Nov 20];12(8):2456. Available from:
  11. Chen M n., Lin C c., Liu C f. Efficacy of phytoestrogens for menopausal symptoms: a meta-analysis and systematic review. Climacteric [Internet]. 2015 Mar 4 [cited 2022 Nov 20];18(2):260–9. Available from:

Lauretta Iyamu

Doctor of Pharmacy- PharmD, University of Benin, Nigeria

Lauretta Iyamu is a medical and health content writer with a strong passion for health, medicine, and well-being having exposure to clinical and management roles between the hospital and community healthcare sectors.
She has 5 years of experience as a registered clinical pharmacist and started her medical writing career in 2018.
Lauretta is currently undertaking the “Digital Content Marketing and Data Analytics” course online from Google. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818