Doctors Say Women Over 40 Should Prioritize These 5 Foods To Balance Hormones And Manage Weight During Menopause: Leafy Greens & More

yogurt parfait in woman's hand
yogurt parfait in woman's hand

Navigating menopause and managing weight can be a challenging journey for many women over the age of 40. As hormonal shifts occur during this stage of life, it’s common to experience changes in metabolism and body composition. However, incorporating certain foods into your diet can help balance hormones and support weight management during this transitional phase in life.

We spoke with Dr. Veena Madhan Kumar of to learn about five common foods you can easily incorporate into your diet to balance hormones and manage weight during menopause. She revealed that flaxseeds, salmon, leafy greens, soy products, and Greek yogurt are the ones to eat more of.

1. Flaxseeds

Rich in lignans, flaxseeds can help regulate estrogen levels in the body, potentially alleviating symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings associated with menopause. Additionally, the high fiber content in flaxseeds promotes satiety, aiding in weight loss efforts by reducing overall calorie intake and supporting digestive health.

"Plant chemicals called lignans, which possess estrogenic qualities, are abundant in flaxseeds. They may lessen menopausal symptoms like mood swings and hot flashes by balancing estrogen levels. Flaxseeds also include a lot of fiber, which helps control bowel motions and promote feelings of fullness, both of which are related to weight management," Dr. Kumar says.

2. Salmon

Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon supports brain health and mood stability, potentially alleviating symptoms like mood swings and cognitive changes associated with menopause. The high-quality protein in salmon promotes satiety and helps preserve lean muscle mass, which can aid in weight any loss efforts by boosting metabolism and reducing the risk of muscle loss often experienced during this stage of life.

Dr. Kumar elaborates on this type of fish and says, "Known for its anti-inflammatory qualities and potential to lower the risk of heart disease, which is a typical concern during menopause, salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally beneficial to brain health, omega-3s may lessen cognitive alterations and mood swings. Since metabolisms slow down as women age, salmon's protein can also help maintain muscle mass, which is vital for controlling weight."

3. Leafy Greens

Bursting with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, these green wonders offer a natural boost to overall health during menopause. Their abundance of fiber not only fosters feelings of fullness but also aids in regulating digestion and supporting a healthy metabolism, crucial factors in managing weight fluctuations commonly experienced during this period.

Leafy greens are abundant in numerous beneficial nutrients, as Dr. Kumar notes, "High in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are vegetables such as Swiss chard, spinach, and kale. They contain substances called phytoestrogens, which function by imitating the actions of estrogen on the body to help balance hormone levels. Because they are high in fiber and low in calories, leafy greens are excellent for managing weight because they aid digestion and fullness."

4. Soy Products

Soy products encompass a diverse range of healthy options that serve as valuable allies for women navigating menopause over the age of 40, offering distinct advantages for hormonal balance and weight management. From tofu and tempeh to soy milk and edamame, these versatile soy-based foods provide a wealth of nutrients essential for supporting overall health when going through menopause.

Dr. Kumar highlights the key ally here which is isoflavones. "Isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen found in soybeans and soy-based foods like tempeh and tofu, work as a milder form of estrogen in the body to help reduce menopausal symptoms. During menopause, consuming soy products may lessen hot flashes, enhance bone health, and support heart function. Furthermore, foods based on soy are often low in cholesterol and saturated fat, which makes them good for managing weight."

5. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt isn't just a tasty treat; it's also a secret weapon for women embarking on the menopausal adventure during the later stages of life. Bursting with benefits for hormone levels and body weight, Greek yogurt adds a delicious twist to your journey.

From maintaining muscle mass to its probiotic content, Dr. Kumar lists out Greek yogurt's multiple health benefits during this period of life. "Rich in probiotics, calcium, and protein, Greek yogurt is a great food. Maintaining muscle mass and encouraging satiety protein can help with weight management by lowering cravings and regulating appetite. Because little estrogen is produced during menopause, calcium is especially vital for healthy bones."

She elaborates a little more on probiotics by saying, "Probiotics assist in maintaining gut health, which is associated with general well-being, and may ease stomach problems that are frequently seen during menopause."