Perimenopause and diet

Alison Tehan Nutrition / anxiety  / Perimenopause and diet
womens health

Perimenopause and diet

 Perimenopause, diet and what is going on?

Irregular cycles, unexplained weight gain, mood swings, sound familiar? These could be new symptoms you’re experiencing due to perimenopause? And what the hell is perimenopause? There is definitely a lack of information for women out there about what to do and how to support our bodies during this hormonal transition. Peri is a Greek word for “around” or “near” menopause. Perminenopoase begins on average at age 40 and usually about 10 years before menopause, for some it seems to start happening earlier.

Perimenopause is when a woman’s ovaries begin to make less oestrogen and the body responds. It’s a phase that lasts until menopause. It’s definitely a time we really need to take more care of our bodies, slow down and listen to what our body needs.

So how do you know you are entering the peri phase?

  • New onset heavy or longer flow
  • Shorter menstrual cycles <25 days
  • New sore, swollen or lump breasts
  • New mid sleep waking & night sweats
  • Increased menstrual cramps
  • New migraine headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Weight gain without changes in exercise or eating
  • Fatigue and Difficulty sleeping
  • Forgetfulness
  • Urine urgency and incontinence

Some or all of these symptoms may or may not happen to you, everyones experience is completely different. But to best support your body through this period, its important to embrace a diet that will support your hormonal balance as well as your adrenal health.

its a time to start thinking about you can help balance your blood sugar and hormones, reduce cravings and feel satiated for longer periods of time.

As your metabolism slows with age, you’ll need to consume fewer calories (and make them high-quality, nutrition-packed ones) and burn more calories, particularly through strength training exercises.

Perimenopause describes the hormonal transitions leading up to that, and can be a decade-long process

While our hormones are changing so are our bodies needs. Nourishing yourself with more wholefoods in your diet – good fats, quality protein and complex carbohydrates in the right portions is key and especially avoiding foods that spike insulin levels. Its about eating the amount of food our bodies need and quality food rather than quantity – probably a lot less than what we ate in our 30s. 

Foods that we need to reduce or be more aware of include


Caffeine can disrupt our sleep and with the lack of estrogen and declining progesterone its much harder to sleep well during this period. Caffeine can also increase feelings of anxiety, so it’s a bad choice all around. If you absolutely must have your daily caffeine fix, try to limit it to one cup early in the morning.


While alcohol can relax us at the end fo the day it can actually make the symptoms of perimenopause worse. Alcohol consumption raises our internal body temperature, and can lead to an increase in hot flashes and night sweats. It can also interfere with sleep, and trigger or worsen feelings of anxiety. Also the extra calories from alcohol can have a negative impact on the waist line. Our liver needs more support during this time to clear hormones effectively so loading our liver up with alcohol can interfere and delay this process leading to more hormonal imbalance.


Sugar consumption can easily lead to issues like weight gain, inflammation, heart disease and diabetes, and it can also wreak havoc on your hormones, and make you feel tired. Its much harder during this time to manage our blood sugars with declining levels of estrogen (estrodial) so it is best to avoid completely when you can


too much salt can cause bloating and fluid retention. if there is extra salt in your diet make sure you are balancing your intake with plenty of fluids to match

Processed and fatty foods

Fatty foods like fatty cuts of meat, fried foods, cakes and pastries, and pretty much anything loaded with butter) should be avoided. These foods can wreak havoc in our gut and reduce our serotonin levels, which in turn can cause us to feel more irritatable, so indulge with caution!