Losing weight by following a healthy diet can help reduce or even eliminate symptoms of menopause, according to research published online ahead of print in Menopause. Some lifestyle changes that may help ease you gently into menopause include: • Avoiding caffeine and spicy foods • Eating foods high in soy • Getting plenty of exercise Researchers from Kaiser Permanente analyzed data on more than 17,000 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification trial. For this trial, the women were randomly assigned to continue with their usual eating habits or to follow a low-fat diet that was high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. None of the participants were taking hormone therapy to treat their menopausal symptoms. Among the women bothered by menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and hot flashes, those assigned to the low fat diet were 14% more likely to be free of these symptoms than those assigned to eat as usual. In addition, the women were 23% more likely to be symptom-free if they lost 10 lbs or more and 56% more likely to be symptom-free if they lost 10% or more of their body weight within the first year of the study, compared with those who maintained their weight. Interestingly, the weight loss had a greater effect on symptom elimination if it occurred among the women assigned to the low fat diet, rather than among those who followed their usual diet, suggesting following a healthy diet, not just losing weight, is important for symptom improvement. Today’s research demonstrates the important role that diet can play in managing symptoms of menopause