Menopause Diet: 8 Foods to Eat

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Menopause typically starts between the ages of 45 and 55, and it can last anywhere from seven to 14 years. During that time, women can experience a wide array of symptoms, ranging from the uncomfortable to the outright concerning. In some cases, what a woman eats plays a role in the severity of her symptoms, which can make certain diet adjustments a wise move. Here’s a look at eight foods to eat as part of a menopause diet.

Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese

During menopause, estrogen levels decline, and that can increase the chances of bone fractures. By consuming dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, a woman gets critical vitamins and minerals that can support bone health. Often, it can lead to higher bone density, which may reduce the odds of fractures.

Dairy products may also promote better sleep. According to research, glycine — a protein building block found in dairy products — had a positive impact on sleep quality in menopausal women. Dairy products may also reduce the risk of premature menopause.

Oily Fish and Flaxseed

Omega-3 fatty acids — which are found in many oily fish, like anchovies, salmon, and mackerel, as well as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts — can benefit women who are going through menopause. According to a study, women going through menopause who ate flaxseed regularly had lower risk of heart disease. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, and some other conditions, so they’re a wise diet addition regardless for most women.

Additionally, the research is limited thus far, but omega-3 fatty acids may help with night sweats. The research doesn’t show any benefit for hot flashes or sleep quality, though. 

Whole Grains

Whole grains are a valuable source of fiber and a range of critical nutrients. Plus, for postmenopausal women, one study showed that eating sufficient servings of whole grains reduced the chances of premature death.

There’s a wide variety of whole grain foods available, including everything from whole wheat bread to quinoa. Generally, whether a food is made solely from whole grains (versus also including refined grains) is listed on the packaging.


Some research shows that berries are a potentially wise addition to a menopause diet.  Flavonoids are a component of berries, as well as other foods. One review article reported that berry flavonoids showed potential benefits for the heart and reduced cancer risk, though the data is considered preliminary.

Berries are also rich in antioxidants. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants has been shown to reduce menopause symptoms, like hot flashes.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables include arugula, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and many others. These vegetables are particularly beneficial to postmenopausal women. One study showed that consuming them can decrease levels of a specific type of estrogen that’s connected to breast cancer. Additionally, many of these vegetables are also rich in antioxidants, which play a role in reducing menopause symptoms.

Next Steps

These foods can be part of a healthy diet, especially if you’re experiencing the symptoms of menopause. During menopause, these foods are particularly important for your health and for helping with your symptoms. Dietary changes may not be enough for everyone, since it depends on how severe your symptoms are. If you’re having continued discomfort or you have questions about how to best manage your menopause, speak with your doctor about your options.

Medical content reviewed by Brittany Stopa, MPH.

Further Reading

  • National Institute on Aging. “What is Menopause?” Last reviewed 30 Sep 2021.
  • Mayo Clinic. “Menopause.” Published 17 Dec 2022.
  • The North American Menopause Society. “Changes in Hormone Levels.” Accessed Mar 2023.
  • Parazzini F. Resveratrol, tryptophanum, glycine and vitamin E: a nutraceutical approach to sleep disturbance and irritability in peri- and post-menopause. Minerva Ginecol. 2015;67(1):1-5.
  • Purdue-Smithe AC, Whitcomb BW, Manson JE, Hankinson SE, Rosner BA, Troy LM, Bertone-Johnson ER. A prosective study of dairy-food intake and early menopause. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2019;188(1):188-196.
  • Patade A, Devareddy L, Lucas EA, Korlagunta K, Daggy BP, Arjmandi BH. Flaxseed reduces total and LDL cholesterol concentrations in Native American postmenopausal women. J Women’s Health (Larchmt). 2008;17(3):355-366.
  • Mohammady M, Janani L, Jahanfar S, Mousavi MS. Effect of omega-3 supplements on vasomotor symptoms in menopausal women: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2018;228:295-302.
  • Jacobs DR, Pereira MA, Meyer KA, Kushi LH. Fiber from whole grains, but not refined grains, is inversely associated with all-cause mortality in older women: the Iowa women’s health study. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000;19(3 Suppl):326S-330S.
  • Huntley AL. The health benefits of berry flavonoids for menopausal women: cardiovascular disease, cancer and cognition. Maturitas. 2009;63(4):297-301.
  • Doshi SB, Agarwal A. The role of oxidative stress in menopause. J Midlife Health. 2013;4(3):140-146.
  • Fowke JH, Longcope C, Hebert JR. Brassica vegetable consumption shifts estrogren metabolism in healthy postmenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2000;9(8):773-779.