The Importance of Nutrition in Menopause and Perimenopause
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The Importance of Nutrition in Menopause and Perimenopause

Hormonal Changes and Metabolic Impact

Menopause marks the end of a woman's reproductive years, accompanied by significant reductions in estrogen levels. This hormonal change disrupts various metabolic processes, leading to increased risks of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and changes in body composition such as increased visceral fat. 

A recent comprehensive review by Aliz Erdélyi and colleagues, published in the journal "Nutrients" in December 2023, delves into the critical importance of dietary management during menopause and perimenopause. This blog post aims to dissect and discuss the findings of this study, emphasizing practical dietary recommendations to mitigate health risks associated with this life stage.

The review emphasizes that estradiol, the predominant form of estrogen, plays a crucial role in regulating metabolic functions including glucose metabolism, lipid storage, and appetite control.

Key Points:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): The decline in estrogen levels leads to a decrease in BMR, contributing to weight gain and increased fat deposition, particularly around the abdomen.
  • Insulin Sensitivity: Estradiol enhances insulin sensitivity in muscle tissues; its decline can lead to higher blood glucose levels and increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Lipid Profile: Lower estrogen levels adversely affect lipid metabolism, often resulting in elevated LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

Dietary Recommendations to Counteract Hormonal Changes

The research thoroughly discusses the need for specific dietary interventions to mitigate the health risks associated with hormonal changes during menopause.


  • Protein: Increased protein intake is recommended to counteract muscle loss due to aging and hormonal changes. Sources include lean meats, dairy, legumes, and nuts.
  • Carbohydrates: Emphasis on low-glycemic index foods to maintain blood glucose levels. Whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are preferred.
  • Fats: A shift towards intake of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids from fish and flax seeds, which support heart health and reduce inflammation.


  • Calcium and Vitamin D: Critical for bone health, particularly as bone density declines. Dairy products, fortified foods, and supplements may be necessary depending on individual dietary intake and sun exposure.
  • Vitamin C and E: These antioxidants help in combating oxidative stress linked with aging and hormonal changes.
  • B Vitamins: Especially important for energy metabolism and maintaining proper nerve function.

Fluid Intake:

  • The review highlights the importance of adequate hydration, noting that the sensation of thirst may diminish with age. Women are encouraged to consciously increase their water intake to support kidney function and overall cellular activities.

Lifestyle Modifications

In addition to dietary changes, the paper underscores the importance of integrating physical activity into daily routines. Regular exercise not only helps in managing weight but also improves psychological well-being, which is crucial given the increased incidence of mood swings and depression during menopause.

Practical Tips:

  • Structured Exercise: Incorporate both cardiovascular and strength-training exercises to enhance heart health and muscle mass retention.
  • Mindful Eating: Awareness of caloric needs which decrease with age and adjustments in portion sizes can prevent weight gain.
  • Stress Management: Techniques such as yoga, meditation, and adequate sleep are recommended to manage stress and improve mental health.


The detailed insights from Erdélyi and colleagues provide a solid foundation for understanding the complex interplay between diet, hormonal changes, and health risks during menopause. By following these detailed nutritional guidelines, women can better manage the physiological changes that occur during this significant life stage, thus enhancing their overall health and quality of life. This comprehensive approach not only addresses the immediate symptoms associated with menopause but also contributes to long-term health benefits.

The Importance of Nutrition in Menopause and Perimenopause—A Review; Nutrients, 2024
1.Hormonal Changes and Metabolic Impact
2.Key Points:
3.Dietary Recommendations to Counteract Hormonal Changes
4.Lifestyle Modifications