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Foods That Ease Menopause Discomfort

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Updated April 25, 2014

Upgrading your diet may help you feel better before, during, and after menopause. Add these specific foods may help even more:

Soy: Many women believe the phytoestrogens found in soy help reduce their hot flushes. While it appears that hot flushes occur less often in women who live in areas where people eat more soy in their diets, clinical research on isolated soy isoflavone supplements is mixed. Many of the studies show the effect is no better than placebo.

Add soy to your diet -- try a soy beverage, snack on soy nuts, or use tofu chunks in a healthy stir-fry.

Vitamin E: Research studies are mixed on the effectiveness of vitamin E for reducing hot flushes, but it's still an important nutrient. You can get plenty of vitamin E from a healthy diet when you eat nuts, wheat germ, seeds, olives, corn and asparagus.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish, such as salmon and tuna, but you'll also get a good dose from walnuts, canola oil, soy, flax and omega-enriched egg. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for cardiovascular health and regular consumption may help to reduce your risk of cognitive decline as you age. One study suggests omega-3 fats may help to reduce hot flushes.

Avoid Hot Flush Triggers: Some foods that contain caffeine, spices and alcohol may make hot flushes worse. Try decaf coffee, a little less hot pepper, or  cut back on alcohol to see if hot flushes improve.

Fiber: Fiber is important for healthy digestive system function and it helps keeps your heart healthy. It might also decrease hot flushes. Make sure to choose 100-percent whole grain breads and cereals and eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every single day. 

Calcium: You need calcium to keep your bones strong. Be sure to consume three servings of low-fat dairy products, or other calcium-rich foods, every day. Sprinkle a bit of shredded cheese on your salad or enjoy yogurt topped with fresh fruit and nuts. Dark leafy greens are also a good source of calcium.

Sources:

Monroe KR, Murphy SP, Henderson BE, Kolonel LN, Stanczyk FZ, Adlercreutz H, Pike MC. "Dietary fiber intake and endogenous serum hormone levels in naturally postmenopausal Mexican American women: the Multiethnic Cohort Study." Nutr Cancer. 2007;58(2):127-35.

Campagnoli C, Abbà C, Ambroggio S, Peris C, Perona M, Sanseverino P. "Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) might reduce hot flushes: an indication from two controlled trials on soy isoflavones alone and with a PUFA supplement." Maturitas. 2005 Jun 16;51(2):127-34.

North American Menopause Society. "Treatment of menopause-associated vasomotor symptoms: position statement of The North American Menopause Society." Menopause. 2004 Jan-Feb;11(1):11-33.

Ziaei S, Kazemnejad A, Zareai M. "The effect of vitamin E on hot flashes in menopausal women." Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2007;64(4):204-7.

Welty FK, Lee KS, Lew NS, Nasca M, Zhou JR. "The association between soy nut consumption and decreased menopausal symptoms." J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2007 Apr;16(3):361-9.

Hickey M, Saunders CM, Stuckey BG. "Non-hormonal treatments for menopausal symptoms." Maturitas. 2007 May 20;57(1):85-9.

Campagnoli C, Abbà C, Ambroggio S, Peris C, Perona M, Sanseverino P. "Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) might reduce hot flushes: an indication from two controlled trials on soy isoflavones alone and with a PUFA supplement." Maturitas. 2005 Jun 16;51(2):127-34.

 

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