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Menopause Diet: Foods That Help Reduce Symptoms

Ana Marie Schick Apr 19, 2023

Foods that help with menopause symptoms

Throughout menopause and perimenopause, many women have to deal with hot sleep and waking up sweaty, which makes it challenging to get the restorative sleep they need. If you find it difficult to stay cool while sleeping during this life change, you may not be getting the quality rest your body needs to feel good while getting through the day.

While there are various treatment options available, including hormone therapy, many women prefer to manage their menopause symptoms naturally. One way to do this is through dietary changes. In this blog, we will discuss some foods that may help reduce hot flashes.

What Are Hot Flashes?

Hot flashes are a common symptom experienced by many women during menopause, and they can be uncomfortable and disruptive throughout the day—and at bedtime! Often accompanied by sweating and a rapid heartbeat, a hot flash is a sudden feeling of heat that spreads throughout the body.

Check out our article on how to reduce hot flashes at night. You’ll learn about the common symptoms, how long they last, what causes hot flashes, and more.

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What Is a Menopause Diet?

A menopause diet is a specific dietary approach that primarily focuses on the nutritional needs of women going through menopause. A menopausal diet generally incorporates certain foods that can help regulate your body temperature and reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes and night sweats.

Menopause Healthy Diet Study: A recent study included over 17,000 menopausal women in a one-year intervention. Those who consumed higher amounts of fruits, vegetables, fiber, and soy showed a 19% reduction in hot flashes compared to those who did not change their diet. [1]

If you’re wondering what to eat to help when experiencing hot flashes, choose from any of the following common whole, nutrient-dense foods and ingredients below.

Foods That Help With Menopause Symptoms

Various foods have been shown to help reduce the worst symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and poor sleep.


Soy is a good source of isoflavones, which are compounds that mimic estrogen in the body. Studies have found that consuming soy products may help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes. [2] Good sources of soy include:

  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Soy Milk
  • Edamame

According to recent studies, soy products may help reduce menopausal symptoms because they contain phytoestrogens, which is a chemical that is similar to estrogen. [3]


Flaxseed is high in lignans, which are phytoestrogens that may help balance hormone levels in the body. Similar to soy, studies have found that consuming flaxseed may help reduce the frequency and manage hot flashes. [4] Flaxseed can be added to smoothies, oatmeal or sprinkled on top of salads.

Fruits and Vegetables

Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your meals can help reduce inflammation in the body, which in turn may help reduce hot flashes. Aim to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to get a wide range of nutrients. The common vegetables that can not only help with hot flashes but improve your overall health include:

  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Brocolli
  • Asparagus
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Kumquats
  • other citrus fruits.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates, which can help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent hot flashes. Good sources of whole grains include quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are high in healthy fats, which can help balance hormone levels in the body. Good sources of nuts and seeds include almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

Calcium Rich Foods

As women age, their bodies undergo hormonal changes that can cause a reduction in bone density, increasing the chance of osteoporosis. Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones. It's important to include foods that are more calcium-rich, including:

  • Yogurt
  • Skim Milk
  • Soy Milk
  • Low-fat Cheese

Tip: Aim for around 1,200 milligrams–1,500 milligrams a day to ensure a good level of calcium.


Staying hydrated is important for your overall health, and it may also help reduce hot flashes. In general, you should try to drink approximately half an ounce for every pound you weigh. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim for 75 ounces. Additionally, consider sipping on cool water or herbal tea throughout the day. [5]

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Foods to Avoid During Menopause

While you may find relief through the many foods, you can also manage menopausal symptoms by avoiding foods that can trigger them. Foods can vary from person to person, but some common triggers include:


Caffeine can increase heart rate and blood pressure, which can cause the body to overheat and trigger a hot flash. Additionally, caffeine can interfere with sleep, which can exacerbate the symptoms. If you're experiencing hot flashes, it's best to avoid or limit your intake of caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and some soft drinks before bedtime.

Read More: Caffeine use was positively associated with Vasomotor symptoms, also commonly known as VMS. [6]

Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol can cause blood vessels to dilate, which can increase blood flow and trigger a hot flash. Additionally, alcohol can interfere with sleep, which can exacerbate hot flashes. If you're experiencing hot flashes, it's best to avoid or limit your intake of alcohol. Learn more about the consumption of alcohol and sleep.

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods are a common trigger for hot flashes. The capsaicin in spicy foods can increase body temperature, which can cause the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body temperature, to trigger a hot flash. If you're experiencing hot flashes, it's best to avoid spicy foods or reduce your intake. Make sure to avoid foods that include jalapenos, cayenne, and hot peppers.

Tip: If you want to experience a kick of flavor without the spicy peppers, try supplementing them with basil or thyme.


Consuming sugar can cause blood sugar levels to spike and then crash, which can trigger a hot flash. Additionally, a diet high in sugar can contribute to inflammation in the body, which can exacerbate the symptoms of menopause. If you're experiencing hot flashes, it's best to avoid or limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks.

Can sugar affect our sleep? Molly Eastman explores this complex relationship and details some fascinating research on the topic to explain why it exists.

Processed Foods

Processed foods, such as fast food, frozen dinners, and packaged snacks, are often high in salt and sugar. Consuming too much salt can lead to dehydration, which can trigger a hot flash. If your body always had problems processing these sorts of foods, your menopause will make it even more challenging.

Additionally, processed foods can contribute to inflammation in the body, which can increase the frequency and severity of hot flashes.

Final Thoughts

It's important to listen to your body and pay attention to any patterns that may emerge. If you notice that certain foods seem to trigger your hot flashes and night sweats, it may be best to avoid them.

While dietary changes can be helpful in reducing hot flashes, it’s important to note that every woman's experience is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s always a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional before making any major dietary changes or starting any new treatment plans.


[1] Kroenke, C. H., Caan, B. J., Stefanick, M. L., Anderson, G., Brzyski, R., Johnson, K. C., LeBlanc, E., Lee, C., La Croix, A. Z., Park, H. L., Sims, S. T., Vitolins, M., & Wallace, R. (2012). Effects of a dietary intervention and weight change on vasomotor symptoms in the Women's Health Initiative. Menopause (New York, N.Y.), 19(9), 980–988. View Study

[2] Barnard, N. D., Kahleova, H., Holtz, D. N., Del Aguila, F., Neola, M., Crosby, L. M., & Holubkov, R. (2021). The Women's Study for the Alleviation of Vasomotor Symptoms (WAVS): a randomized, controlled trial of a plant-based diet and whole soybeans for postmenopausal women. Menopause (New York, N.Y.), 28(10), 1150–1156. View Study

[3] Jargin S. V. (2014). Soy and phytoestrogens: possible side effects. German medical science : GMS e-journal, 12, Doc18. View Study

[4] Cetisli, N. E., Saruhan, A., & Kivcak, B. (2015). The effects of flaxseed on menopausal symptoms and quality of life. Holistic nursing practice, 29(3), 151–157. View Study

[5] Shaw, G. (2009, July 15). Water and Your Diet: Staying Slim and Regular With H2O. View Resource

[6] Faubion, S. S., Sood, R., Thielen, J. M., & Shuster, L. T. (2015). Caffeine and menopausal symptoms: what is the association? Menopause (New York, N.Y.), 22(2), 155–158. View Study