February 8, 2023

Foods to Avoid During Perimenopause

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Foods to Avoid During Perimenopause

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Foods and Drinks to Avoid if You’re in Perimenopause

The following foods should be avoided or consumed in moderation during perimenopause since they can exacerbate symptoms:

  • Caffeine: This can lead to agitation, anxiety, and disturbed sleep.
  • Sugar: Weight gain and mood swings are both potential effects of sugar and processed carbs.
  • Alcohol: Can cause sleep disturbances and worsen hot flashes.
  • Salt: Can cause bloating and water retention.
  • Red meat and processed foods: Can make the body more inflammatory.
  • Soy: Products made from soy may alter hormone levels


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The delicate balance of hormones and neurotransmitters in the body can be upset by caffeine, a stimulant. Women may be more sensitive to the effects of coffee during the perimenopause, which can exacerbate symptoms including irritability, anxiety, and sleep difficulties. Caffeine can disrupt the central nervous system’s regular operation, causing jittery and anxious feelings. Additionally, it can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep by raising blood pressure and heart rate during the night. This may result in greater tiredness and a diminished capacity to handle stress, which may exacerbate perimenopausal symptoms. During perimenopause, it is advised to limit or stay away from foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate.


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Because they can cause mood changes and weight gain, sugar and refined carbs can be harmful for those going through perimenopause. This is due to the possibility that they could result in blood sugar spikes and falls, causing changes in energy and mood. Sugar and other refined carbs like white flour quickly enter the system and raise blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels then drop sharply, which can cause feelings of weariness, irritation, and anxiety.

Furthermore, eating a lot of sugar and processed carbohydrates will make you gain weight, which can make your perimenopause symptoms worse. This is due to the fact that an excessive sugar intake might result in insulin resistance, which can promote fat storage. Gaining weight during perimenopause can also raise your risk of contracting other illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.


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During perimenopause, alcohol consumption can significantly affect sleep and heat flashes. Alcohol can initially aid in inducing sleep due to its central nervous system depressant properties, but it can also disturb the regular sleep cycle, resulting in restless sleep and poorer sleep quality. As a result, you could feel exhausted, angry, and less equipped to handle the mental and emotional challenges of perimenopause.

Alcohol might also make hot flashes worse and occur more frequently. Alcohol can cause a hot flash by increasing blood flow to the skin. Additionally, it increases the body’s estrogen levels, which may help hot flashes develop. Hot flashes might develop due to increased estrogen levels and blood flow to the skin, which can result in discomfort and decreased quality of life.

It is advised to limit or avoid drinking during perimenopause in order to reduce symptoms. To lessen the chance of sleep disruption, it is preferable to drink alcohol in moderation and to avoid doing so right before bed.

Red Meat

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Red meat and processed diets can cause inflammation in the body, which can exacerbate perimenopausal symptoms. The body’s normal response to injury or illness is inflammation, but when it persists for an extended period of time, it can cause a variety of health issues.

Saturated fat, which is abundant in red meat, especially processed and preserved meat, can worsen inflammation in the body. Frequently heavy in sugar, salt, and bad fats, processed meals can contribute to the emergence of chronic inflammation. This can raise your risk of getting some types of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, among other health issues.

Inflammation can also make perimenopause symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and joint pain worse. The delicate hormonal balance in the body can be upset by inflammation, which can cause a variety of symptoms.

Red meat and processed meals should be consumed in moderation or avoided altogether to lessen symptoms and lower the risk of inflammation. Pick items like fresh produce, healthy grains, nuts, and seeds that are high in anti-inflammatory ingredients instead. These meals can lessen symptoms, lower inflammation in the body, and enhance general health.

Soy Products

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Products made from soy contain phytoestrogens, which are chemically related to human estrogen and have similar physiological effects. Changes in hormone levels may result from this, which may have an impact on perimenopause symptoms.

Consuming soy products may cause some women’s estrogen levels to rise, which could make their hot flashes and other symptoms worse. Others may experience symptoms including joint discomfort, mood fluctuations, and low energy as a result of soy products lowering estrogen levels.

The amount and type of soy consumed, a person’s genetic makeup, and other aspects of their health can all have an impact on how soy products affect hormone levels.

It is advised to limit soy consumption or to choose fermented soy products, such as miso, tempeh, and natto, as they are less likely to affect hormone levels, in order to reduce the potential impact of soy products on hormone levels and symptoms. It is advised to avoid or consume soy products in moderation if symptoms develop after doing so. You should also talk to your doctor or a qualified dietitian about your concerns.

Talk to Your Doctor!

Before making any dietary adjustments, it’s crucial to see a physician or a qualified dietician. Each person has different dietary requirements and food tolerances, so a specialist can assist you to choose the best course of action.

It’s Fetch is a community that provides a safe space for members to discuss health and wellness topics. We provide access to archived health related content, note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content shared, regardless of date should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

-Written by Paavana Varanasi

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