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Best changes in diet during menopause

Best changes in diet during menopause

In the first study of its kind, research among women going through menopause has revealed just how effective making changes to diet can be for improving gut health and relieving symptoms of menopause. *The research, conducted among 1,526 women by DR.VEGAN®, revealed that 86% of women going through menopause experienced worsening gut health symptoms as a result of the menopause, and that 66% of women who made changes to their diet found them effective in combating these symptoms. In addition, the research highlighted that women were twice as likely to notice changes in their gut health during perimenopause as menopause.

Here we share the results of the research into menopause and gut health, the most common changes that women make to their diet to combat gut health symptoms during menopause, the foods and drinks they avoid or reduce, the foods they reach for, and which changes in diet are the most effective.

How menopause effects gut health

Oestrogen plays a significant role in the health and composition of the gut microbiome, while the health of the gut microbiome itself affects the regulation of hormones, including oestrogen. As a result, there is a circular relationship between gut health and menopause symptoms, with changes to hormones contributing to worsening gut health symptoms, and changes in gut health contributing to worsening menopause symptoms.

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The research by DR.VEGAN® highlights the most common changes in gut health during menopause and how many women experience them:

  1. Bloating: 63%
  2. Excessive wind and gas: 48%
  3. Constipation: 43%
  4. Acid reflux: 38%
  5. Mild or severe IBS: 35%
  6. Diarrhoea: 26%
  7. Stomach cramps: 24%
  8. Changes in the smell or colour of urine or stools: 22%

Constipation affects both men and women, so you may be interested in reading tips from our nutritionists on how to get rid of constipation. Acid reflux is also equally common among men and women, and it’s estimated that up to 20% of people suffer from acid reflux (also known as GERD), so it is important to note that some of the changes in gut health experienced during menopause may not be just a result of changing hormones.

Effects of changes in gut health during menopause

As a result of these changes in gut health and the symptoms of menopause themselves, 84% of women will experience at least one or more of the following:

  1. Weight gain
  2. Poor sleep
  3. Fatigue
  4. Anxiety or stress
  5. Lower confidence
  6. A desire to be less active
  7. A fall in libido
  8. Vaginal discomfort

The health of the gut microbiome plays a key role in regulating our mood and our ability to combat stress and anxiety. Research by DR.VEGAN® of over 700 men and women showed that 66% of people’s gut health worsens when anxious, and that among people with poor gut health, 50% feel more stressed and suffer poor sleep.

Gut Health Bundle

Gut Health Bundle

DR.VEGAN’s latest research also revealed the effectiveness of the multi award-winning Gut Works®, a uniquely comprehensive prebiotic and probiotic with 50bn CFU and 6 clinically studied strains of live cultures, that rebalances the gut microbiome and combats IBS, bloating, constipation and other gut health issues. Gut Works® has been shown to be 3x more effective than standard probiotics, and the research showed that 78% of women taking Gut Works® through menopause found it effective.

10 Common changes in diet during menopause

Our health always starts with our diet, and it is the foods we should avoid, including ultra-processed foods or powder drinks with sweeteners, that are just as important as the foods we prioritise and reach for, and which is even more important during perimenopause and menopause.

The research, conducted among women following all types of diets (over 80% are not vegan), revealed the most common changes in diet and how many made these changes:

  1. Increasing plants and vegetables: 58%
  2. Reducing or avoiding alcohol: 52%
  3. Increasing fibre intake: 47%
  4. Increasing protein: 42%
  5. Reducing or avoiding caffeine: 39%
  6. Reducing or avoiding dairy or gluten: 36%
  7. Increasing healthy fats: 31%
  8. Fasting: 28%
  9. Reducing or avoiding red meat: 27%
  10. Increasing healthy carbohydrates: 17%

Menopause Ultimate Calm Bundle

Menopause Ultimate Calm Bundle

Most effective changes in diet during menopause

The research highlighted four changes in diet that were shown to be most effective:

  1. Increasing plants and vegetables
  2. Reducing or avoiding alcohol
  3. Reducing or avoiding dairy or gluten
  4. Increasing fibre intake

Nutritionists and dietitians have long advocated for women increasing their plants, vegetables and fibre intake to help combat the symptoms of menopause, and the research highlights just how effective making these changes can be.

Learn more about why fibre in your diet is essential.

Gaining lots of calcium in your diet is always important, and even more so during menopause, because calcium is vital to help strengthen bones and reduce the risk of conditions such as osteoporosis. As a result, it may be a surprise to see 'reducing or avoiding dairy’ as one of the most common changes, however, research studies have shown that dairy is one of the most common food intolerances that causes IBS. The good news is there are lots of non-dairy sources of calcium, including beans, chickpeas, sesame seeds, green leafy vegetables, kale, spinach and broccoli.

While fasting, increasing protein intake, or avoiding red meat can all be effective for some, these four changes were the most effective for most women going through menopause. You may also enjoy reading ‘Best protein sources on a plant-based diet’.

pH Hero®

pH Hero®

Making healthier dietary choices is one of many ways to ensure a smooth transition through this natural phase of life. Exercising frequently is also vitally important throughout menopause, and natural supplements such as the award-winning MenoFriend®, which is effective for 89% of women who take it for 60 days or more, are often the most common option for women looking for additional relief from symptoms, while some women will choose HRT (hormone replacement therapy). You may enjoy reading how MenoFriend® and HRT compare in relieving menopause symptoms

If you're not sure what your diet is missing, create your free Diet Profile, developed by expert nutritionists and gives you a window into the nutrients your body is getting in your diet and those you're missing out on

Discover The Menopause Hub.

You may also be interested in reading:

*UK survey based on responses from 1,526 women, nationally representative, during January 2024, of which 996 were women taking MenoFriend®. Over 40,000 women enjoy relief from symptoms of menopause with MenoFriend®.

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