Adopting a balanced diet full of fruits, veggies, and protein, along with consistent physical exercise, can help alleviate the discomforts of menopause.
Menopause generally kicks in between the late 40s and early 50s and can last for a few years. During this phase, about two-thirds of those going through menopause experience symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, irritability, and fatigue.
Moreover, the risk of certain health issues like osteoporosis, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes also rises during menopause.
A lot of folks seek relief through natural supplements and home remedies.
Here are 11 natural methods to help you manage menopause symptoms more comfortably.
In this article
1. Eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D
The hormonal shifts that come with menopause can weaken bones, upping your risk for osteoporosis.
To maintain strong bones, getting enough calcium and vitamin D from your diet is crucial. Sufficient vitamin D levels can also lower the odds of hip fractures, especially during the postmenopausal stage.
Foods rich in calcium include dairy items like yogurt, milk, and cheese. You can also find a good amount of calcium in green leafy veggies like kale, collard greens, and spinach. Tofu, beans, and sardines are other good options.
Some foods are fortified with calcium too, like certain cereals, fruit juices, or dairy alternatives.
Sun exposure is the best natural source of vitamin D, as your skin produces it when hit by sunlight. But as you age, your skin becomes less efficient at this process.
If you’re not getting much sun or you cover your skin most of the time, consider taking a supplement or upping your intake of foods rich in vitamin D. This includes oily fish, eggs, cod liver oil, and vitamin D-fortified foods.
Summary: A calcium and vitamin D-rich diet can prevent menopause-related bone loss.
2. Maintain a moderate weight
Weight gain is a frequent issue during menopause, and it can arise from a mix of hormonal changes, getting older, lifestyle factors, and even genetics.
Packing on extra pounds, particularly around your midsection, can elevate your risk for health issues like heart disease and diabetes.
Your body weight could also influence how severe your menopause symptoms are. One research study involving 17,473 women who had gone through menopause found that those who shed at least 10 pounds or 10% of their body weight over one year were more successful in getting rid of symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
Summary: Achieving a healthy weight can help manage menopause symptoms and reduce disease risk.
3. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
Eating a diet abundant in fruits and vegetables can help alleviate various menopause symptoms. These foods are low in calories but can make you feel full, making them excellent for both losing weight and keeping it off.
They can also help ward off several health issues, including heart disease, which becomes increasingly likely after menopause due to factors like aging, gaining weight, or perhaps even a decrease in estrogen levels.
Additionally, fruits and vegetables could contribute to stronger bones. One study that observed 3,236 women between the ages of 50 and 59 suggested that high-fruit and high-vegetable diets might result in less bone degradation.
Summary: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can promote bone health, manage weight, and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
4. Avoid trigger foods
Some foods can set off symptoms like hot flashes, sweating at night, and mood swings.
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These foods might have an even stronger effect if you eat them in the evening.
The usual suspects are caffeine, alcohol, and foods that are high in sugar or spice.
Write down your symptoms and what you eat in a journal. If you notice certain foods make your menopause issues worse, try eating less of them or cutting them out altogether.
Summary: Certain foods and drinks, such as caffeine, alcohol, and sugary or spicy options, can trigger symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes.
5. Exercise regularly
There’s not enough solid proof right now to say that exercise can specifically help with hot flashes and night sweats.
However, regular exercise, like Pilates routines, offers other perks such as better energy, healthier bones and joints, reduced stress, and improved sleep.
For instance, a Korean study on a 12-week walking program showed it boosted the physical and emotional well-being of 40 women going through menopause.
Regular exercise also improves your health and lowers your chances of getting severe conditions like cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and weak bones.
If you’re going through menopause, it’s worth noting that your risk of heart disease goes up. Several studies suggest that regular exercise can help lower this risk.
Summary: Regular exercise can alleviate menopause symptoms and protect against weight gain and diseases.
6. Eat more foods that are high in phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens are compounds found in plants that can act like the hormone estrogen when they’re in your body.
So, they might help keep your hormones in check.
People in menopause in Asian countries like Japan rarely have hot flashes, and some think it’s because they eat a lot of phytoestrogens.
Foods loaded with these compounds include:
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- soybeans and soy-based foods
- sesame seeds
- various beans
The amount of phytoestrogens in these foods can differ based on their processing.
One research study showed that women starting to go through menopause who ate a lot of soy saw improvements like lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as milder hot flashes and night sweats.
Yet, there’s still some debate about whether soy is good or bad for you.
Current thinking leans towards getting phytoestrogens from whole foods rather than supplements or processed foods with added soy protein.
Summary: Foods rich in phytoestrogens may have some benefits for reducing hot flashes and heart disease risk; however, mixed evidence supports this.
7. Drink enough water
Dryness is a common problem during menopause, probably because of falling estrogen levels.
A simple way to ease this is to drink between 8 to 12 cups of water daily.
Water can also help reduce the puffiness that sometimes happens due to hormone shifts.
Moreover, it can assist in preventing weight gain and even help you lose weight by making you feel full and slightly boosting your metabolism.
Having 17 ounces (about 500 ml) of water half an hour before you eat could make you eat 13% less during your meal.
Summary: Drinking an adequate amount of water can aid in weight management and relieve dehydration symptoms.
8. Reduce refined sugar and processed foods
Eating a lot of refined carbs and sugar can cause your blood sugar to spike and crash, leaving you feeling worn out and grumpy. This can make menopause symptoms even worse.
One study showed that women who ate a lot of refined carbs were more likely to feel depressed after menopause.
Diets filled with processed foods can also have a negative impact on your bones, particularly if those foods take the place of the essential nutrients you should be getting from a balanced diet.
One extensive study observed that for women between 50 to 59 years old, eating a lot of processed and snack foods was linked to weaker bones.
Summary: Eating lots of processed foods and refined carbs can increase the likelihood of feeling depressed and can harm your bone health if you’re going through menopause.
9. Don’t skip meals
Consistent meal times can be crucial if you’re experiencing menopause.
Eating sporadically might intensify some menopause symptoms and make it tougher to manage your weight.
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One study, which followed postmenopausal women for a year in a weight management program, found that those who skipped meals lost 4.3% less weight.
Summary: Inconsistent eating patterns could worsen some menopause symptoms. Not having regular meals may also make weight control more challenging for postmenopausal women.
10. Eat protein-rich foods
Eating protein consistently at your meals can help save the muscle mass that tends to decrease as you get older.
One study indicated that having protein at each meal could reduce the muscle loss that comes with aging.
Besides helping you keep your muscles, protein-rich diets can also aid in weight loss. They do this by making you feel full and boosting the calories your body uses.
Protein sources include meats, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, and dairy products.
Here is a list of 20 nutritious foods that are high in protein:
Summary: Regular intake of high-quality protein can help prevent muscle loss, support weight loss, and improve mood and sleep regulation.
11. Take natural supplements
Many people think about using natural products and supplements to ease their symptoms during menopause.
However, the scientific backing for many of these is not strong.
Here are some popular natural supplements often used for menopause symptoms:
- Phytoestrogens. You can get these through certain foods or supplements. There isn’t enough solid evidence to say they effectively relieve menopause symptoms.
- Black cohosh. While some research suggests this could lessen hot flashes, the results are inconsistent. Plus, we don’t have long-term safety info on this supplement.
- Red clover. Some studies indicate red clover supplements may reduce the number of hot flashes you have each day, starting from an average of three. But more targeted research is needed to be sure.
- Other supplements. Things like probiotics, prebiotics, cranberry extract, kava, DHEA-S, dong quai, and evening primrose oil are often mentioned, but we need more research to confirm if they actually help with symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
Summary: While natural supplements are often suggested for easing menopause symptoms, we still need more data to know for sure how safe and effective they are, as well as the best dosages and combinations.
Frequently asked questions about natural remedies for menopause symptoms
How can I balance my hormones naturally during menopause?
Exercising regularly and eating a diet full of nutrients can help even out your hormones when you’re going through menopause. Sometimes, you might also need to add supplements or even medication to manage symptoms. Always consult your doctor for personalized advice on dealing with menopause symptoms.
What natural treatments are there for menopause?
You can try herbal supplements as a natural way to manage menopause symptoms. Some supplements have plant-based estrogens, known as phytoestrogens, that could help offset lower hormone levels and relieve symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
But remember, even over-the-counter supplements can be strong and might interact with other meds you’re taking. So, check with your doctor before you start any supplement routine.
Which foods make menopause symptoms worse?
Foods that quickly raise your blood sugar can make some menopause symptoms more bothersome. This usually means processed carbs and sugary foods like:
- baked items made with white flour
Try to also limit the amount of fried foods you consume.
Also, skipping meals or eating meals low in protein and healthy fats can worsen your symptoms.
How can I quickly stop hot flashes?
Wearing breathable fabrics and using breathable bedding can help minimize or prevent hot flashes. Stress and some foods, like spicy foods, coffee, and booze, can also trigger hot flashes.
Keep a diary to pinpoint what might be setting off your hot flashes, and then try to sidestep those triggers. A little trial and error can help you determine what’s effective for you.
Do natural fixes lessen menopause symptoms?
Yes, natural strategies like a balanced diet and hydration can ease menopause symptoms and benefit your overall well-being.
You might also consider adding supplements to help balance your hormones. It could take a bit of experimenting to find what works for you, so talk to your doctor about natural ways to manage your menopause symptoms.
Menopause isn’t a disease; it’s a normal phase in life.
While the symptoms can be challenging, a good diet and consistent exercise can help make them more manageable.
Feel free to try out the suggestions provided earlier to make your experience of menopause—and the years that follow—more comfortable and fulfilling.