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This Common Ingredient Can Make Your Menopause Symptoms Worse


Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can bring on many unpleasant symptoms, such as mood swings, weight gain, and hot flashes.

Unfortunately, there is one dietary culprit you may not realize is exacerbating your symptoms: sugar.

Read on to learn how sugar affects your menopause symptoms and some dietary changes you can make to regulate your hormones.

How Does Sugar Affect Menopause Symptoms?

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Studies have shown that women with diets high in sugar can experience worse menopausal symptoms than those with low-sugar diets. 

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed 6,000 women for nine years, and the results showed that women who followed a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, noodles, and red wine were around 20% less likely to report hot flashes and night sweats than those who strayed from the diet.

Moreover, a lot of refined sugar can exacerbate fatigue and cause weight gain—two more symptoms you’re already dealing with during menopause.

A sugar high is followed by an insulin release, causing a sugar low, which makes you feel exhausted and lethargic. Sugar is also high in calories and keeps you hungry even after eating. (A vicious cycle!)

Eating nutritious foods like whole grains, vegetables, and protein can leave you feeling fuller longer.

The Connection Between Sugar and Estrogen

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Estrogen levels fluctuate a lot during menopause. As so many women have come to learn, these dramatic spikes and falls in estrogen can cause uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

After you consume a lot of sugar, your insulin levels spike, which simultaneously lowers the amount of a protein in your body called SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin). When your SHBG decreases, your estrogen goes up.

In essence, eating sugar causes an estrogen spike. The bottom line? Your body’s estrogen is already fluctuating, and if you add a bunch of sugar, those spikes and falls are more significant, worsening your menopausal symptoms.

Dietary Tips For Regulating Hormones During Menopause

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We know that excess sugar can pose a problem for your night sweats, weight gain, fatigue, and hot flashes, but just how much is too much—and what are you supposed to do about it? Here are our suggestions.

Limit sugar as much as possible. If you can’t totally cut out sugar, aim to keep your daily sugar consumption to less than 10 grams at a time. Whenever possible, try to snack on fruit when you’re craving something sweet. Fruit has natural sugar combined with fiber, which will not spike your insulin levels (and estrogen levels) the same way.

Cut back on caffeine. Caffeine also causes an estrogen spike and interferes with sleep, which can already be a problem during menopause. Stick to less than 100 mg daily—roughly 1 to 2 cups of coffee—to avoid exacerbating your symptoms.

Try a Mediterranean diet. Studies have shown that menopausal women who eat a Mediterranean diet have less severe menopausal symptoms than those who don’t. This diet consists of fish, fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and yes—a little red wine now and then!

Get your fiber. Fruits, veggies, and whole grains are packed with fiber, which has been linked to lower estrogen levels.

Stay hydrated. If you’re suffering from night sweats and hot flashes, you want to make sure to drink plenty of water to replenish lost fluids and keep your body healthy.

Eat flaxseeds. Flaxseeds are a great source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and they also contain a substance called lignins, which help regulate hormone metabolism. Sprinkle them on your yogurt, granola, or salads to help regulate menopause symptoms.

9 Tips For Joint Health | Keep Your Joints Healthy As You Age

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Keeping your joints healthy is key to staying mobile and experiencing less pain as you age.  Although you may not be able to prevent all joint injuries or arthritis, there are many things you can start doing today to improve your joint health!

9 Tips For Joint Health | Keep Your Joints Healthy As You Age

Balance These 4 Hormones for Weight Loss

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Your hormones impact so many things—from your mood and energy levels to your weight.

When you are deficient or dominant in any one hormone, it’s easier to gain weight. This is particularly true for women who are experiencing hormonal imbalances caused by the natural aging process.

If you’re someone struggling with weight loss, you might benefit from understanding your hormone levels and trying these natural ways to balance your hormones.

Balance These 4 Hormones for Weight Loss

14 Health Benefits of Cucumbers (And a Few Refreshing Recipes)

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From healthy skin to improved memory, check out the top 14 health benefits of cucumbers!

And if you’re lucky enough to have a load from your garden or farmers market on hand, you’ll definitely want to check out some of our favorite cucumber recipes, too.

14 Health Benefits of Cucumbers (And a Few Refreshing Recipes)

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