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Food Choices Can Help With Perimenopause Symptoms

Headshot of Meena Malhotra, M.D.

Meena Malhotra, M.D.

Perimenopause, the transition into menopause, is a tumultuous time in a woman’s life as reproductive hormones fluctuate and decrease until menstruation stops. This phase can last up to five years. These nutritional tips may afford a smoother transition.

Soy (source must be organic, sprouted and non-GMO)-derived isoflavones may help reduce hot flashes, improve bone mineral density, benefit systolic blood pressure and  improve glycemic control, and also improve depressive symptoms.

Phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables may help alleviate increased inflammation. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower contain glucosinolates which help the body send estrogen metabolites down the pathway that prevents and suppresses the development of hormone-modulated female cancers.

A Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts can lower risk for preclinical atherosclerosis, as well as lower weight. The reduction in clustered cardiometabolic risk occurs from lower total cholesterol, resting heart rate, LDL-C, triglycerides and C-reactive protein.

A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (from fatty fish, nuts and seeds) helps with hot flashes.

Western-pattern diets (typical Western diet) which have higher amounts of refined carbohydrates and saturated fats and decreased amounts of fiber, decrease insulin and leptin sensitivity also lead to higher levels of mitochondrial-generated reactive oxygen species, in turn causing oxidative damage.

Women should seek medical advice if they continue to have debilitating symptoms. Functional medicine has effective tools to offer, like bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, as well as additional assistance from a practitioner and their team.

To contact Meena Malhotra, M.D., medical director at Heal n Cure, located at 2420 Ravine Way, Ste. 400, in Glenview, call 847-686-4444 or visit