The 7 best foods to support your health during menopause

What you eat can go a long way in helping balance those hormonal swings.

Let’s face it – menopause isn’t the easiest time of life to navigate. There are all these symptoms, when your body and brain starts behaving in unexpected ways, and it can drag on for a while; especially if you count perimenopause too. (On the bright side, it has benefits too – including never having to worry about period or PMS symptoms again.)

Following our last menstrual cycle, the body experiences a significant decline of estrogen. This causes what are debilitating symptoms for one in five women, including hot flushes, joint and muscle aches, fatigue and night sweats.

The good news is, there are ways you can support your menopause journey. And key to it is diet – which is why it’s so important to consider estrogen rich foods for menopause.
The first step? Choose foods with plenty of phytoestrogens.

“During menopause, your ovaries slow and eventually stop making the strongest form of oestrogen (oestrodiol),” says nutritionist Kristen Beck. “However, this decline is not normally a gradual and steady tapering off, but is instead often a rollercoaster of high and low levels of oestrogen that can trigger various symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, skin ageing and vaginal dryness. “

What are Phytoestrogens?

“Phytoestrogens, also known as dietary estrogen, are naturally occurring plant compounds that may function similarly to the estrogen the human body produces,” as per Healthline

Phytoestrogens can be categorised into three groups:

  • Isoflavones.
  • Coumestans.
  • Lignans.

“Research shows that phytoestrogen rich foods can be useful for the prevention and treatment of menopausal symptoms, skin ageing, osteoporosis, cardiovascular, neurogenerative, immune and metabolic diseases as well as some forms of cancer,” Kristen says.

“There have, at times over the past decades, been concerns raised over the potential for phytoestrogens to possibly increase the risk of oestrogen-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer however the majority of the research tends to show no increased risk or even a protective effect of phytoestrogens in these conditions.

“Eating a wide range of plant foods is a great way to manage menopausal symptoms as well as manage and minimise weight gain around this time of life.” 

So, which foods are rich in phytoestrogens? Here are the best foods for menopause.

All homemade and organic food and drink: gazpacho, hummus, pesto, olive tapenade, beer bread, almond milk and a great variety of bottles, cups and plates, all vintage finds by the owner.


Soy is rich in isoflavones. Research has shown that high intake of soy from tofu, soya beans, soya milk and soya flour can help to balance hormones during menopause

Cruciferous vegetables

Rich in phytoestrogens, cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage are a great addition to a menopausal diet. Cauliflower and broccoli contain lignan, and cabbage and Brussels sprouts are rich in coumestans – powerful plant compounds – to help balance hormones.

Dried fruit

While fresh fruit is often preferred, dried fruits contain higher levels of phytoestrogens. In particular, dried apricots, dates and prunes are oestrogen rich foods for menopause.


Ground flaxseeds are rich in lignans. Some studies suggest that flaxseeds may help reduce menopausal hot flushes and vaginal dryness. They also contain protein, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.


Legumes are one of the best high estrogen foods for menopause. Chickpeas, red kidney beans, split peas and lentils are rich in isoflavones, with around 5,530 micrograms of phytoestrogens per 100 grams.


While more data is needed to understand how grains impact menopause, the high level of lignans found in rice, oats, quinoa, rye, barley, rice bran and wheat bran may have a hormone-balancing effect.

Sesame seeds

Another great food for menopause is the humble sesame seed. Potent with lignans, research has suggested that these fibrous seeds may increase estrogen levels in menopausal women.

This article takes general dietary information for menopause. Speak to a healthcare professional to find a diet plan that suits your specific needs. 

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