Menopause and Good Nutrition
Foods to Help Menopause Symptoms
Plant-based foods that have isoflavones (plant estrogens) work in the body like a weak form of estrogen. For this reason, soy may help relieve menopause symptoms, although research results are unclear. Some may help lower cholesterol levels and have been suggested to relieve hot flashes and night sweats. Isoflavones can be found in foods such as tofu and soy milk.
Avoid Foods During Menopause?
If you're having hot flashes during menopause, you may find it helps to avoid certain "trigger" foods and drinks, like spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
Supplements After Menopause
Because there is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen after menopause and the development of osteoporosis, the following supplements, combined with a healthy diet, may help prevent the onset of this condition:
- Calcium. If you think you need to take a supplement to get enough calcium, check with your doctor first. A 2012 study suggests that taking calcium supplements may raise the risk for heart attacks in some people -- but the study showed that increasing calcium in the diet through food sources didn't seem to raise the risk.
- Vitamin D. Your body uses vitamin D to absorb calcium. People ages 51 to 70 should get 600 IU each day. Those over 70 should get 800 IU daily. More than 4,000 IU of vitamin D each day is not recommended, because it may harm the kidneys and weaken bones.