The Ins and Outs of Hot Flashes
Ask most perimenopausal and menopausal women about their most frustrating symptoms, and the vast majority of them will report that it is hot flashes. Hot flashes happen when your body suddenly seems overwhelmingly hot, independent of where you are or what you are doing.
Often, a woman experiencing a hot flash will notice that their skin flushes, almost like a bad or severe blush. And, the symptoms of a hot flash do not stop there. A woman may also sweat profusely or notice that their heart is pounding. They may also feel anxious during a hot flash.
Some women’s symptoms improve with treatments, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT). But, many women are reluctant to embrace HRT and instead are eager to look for alternatives. One great alternative is embracing new diet and nutrition choices.
Can Food Choices Really Reduce Hot Flashes?
The answer to this question is absolutely yes. Making better choices about what you are eating can definitely reduce both the number of hot flashes you experience and the intensity of these hot flashes. But, this does not mean diet alone is necessarily a panacea. It may work for some women and not for others. This means that it is important that you are up for experimenting, and you also need to be willing to choose a new route if this does not work for you.
To give this approach a fair trial, it is important to give it time to work. Don’t expect all of your symptoms to resolve overnight. Also, try to minimize your cheat foods or cheat days. Focus on feeding your body with healthy options.
Foods That Help With Hot Flashes
What foods are effective in helping your body fight against hot flashes? One food that is frequently recommended for fighting hot flashes is soy in its many different forms. Soy is high in phytoestrogens, which can act as a substitute for estrogen. However, soy comes with a caveat. It may not be a healthy choice for women at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Another great source of phytoestrogens is edamame. More research remains to be done on the impact that phytoestrogens can have on hot flashes.
Many medical providers suggest that proteins can also help fight hot flashes. If you’re thinking about proteins, it may be a great idea to add even more fresh-caught wild fish into your weekly cooking rotation. Grass-fed, organic beef is another good protein choice. And, you can also loom at nuts and other non-meat proteins.
Omega-3s and other essential fatty acids can also help minimize hot flash symptoms. Preliminary research has shown that it may help decrease symptoms in a significant percentage of perimenopausal women. Olive oil is a great option to add some extra heart-healthy fat into your diet. And, if you like avocados, they can also boost your body’s ability to fight hot flashes. While you are at, make sure that your diet is rich in a variety of vegetables. Some of the best hot flash fighting vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts.
Diet is Not Only About What You are Including
The recommendations offered above are a great start in fighting hot flashes and the associated troubling symptoms. But, diet is not only about the good things that we are putting into our body. It is also about the less healthy choices that we are making. Some foods and drinks can make our hot flashes worse. Some examples of things to avoid include alcohol and caffeine. If you need coffee to get your day started, definitely think about making the switch to decaf. Aged cheese and a host of hotly spiced foods may also be no-nos.
Often, women struggling with hot flashes and generally feeling miserable may turn to comfort food as a pick-me-up. Comfort foods, however, tend to be heavily processed and/or high in sugar. The big bowl of ice cream that you consume may make you feel better in the moment, but it may make your hot flashes worse in the long run. It reminds us that we need to think consciously about our food choices.
And Don’t Forget About Vitamins
If food choices can play a positive role in fighting hot flashes and their symptoms, many people wonder if vitamins can have the same impact. The good news is yes. Some of these beneficial vitamins are well-known, and others are less common. For example, many people do not know about Vitamin B-5, but this vitamin may play an essential role in the body’s ability to create more female hormones. An increase in estrogen could help mitigate hot flash symptoms.
The rest of the Vitamin B family, including Vitamins B-6 and B-12, can also be crucial hot flash warriors. Vitamin B-6 boosts the body’s serotonin levels, which can help relieve other menopause symptoms, such as a drop in libido.
What if Food and Vitamins are Not the Answer
It would be wonderful if healthier food choices and vitamins solved hot flash symptoms for every woman. Unfortunately, this simply does not happen. Some women may still have lingering symptoms. But, these women may still want to pursue alternative healing approaches. One great option for this group may be embracing meditation. Meditation and a range of mindfulness exercises may help you deal with the worst of your hot flash symptoms. Again, patience and managing your expectations are critical here.
Eat Your Way To Fewer Hot Flashes
Hot flashes are one of the most frustrating and commonly experienced perimenopause symptoms. Medications exist to treat these symptoms. But, some women want to embrace a more holistic approach. One of these options is adding in healthy food choices while eliminating trigger foods, such as alcohol and aged cheese, and caffeine. Don’t forget to add in vitamins too. For some women, this approach will be successful. However, some people may still have symptoms. And, in this case, you should definitely consider incorporating meditation into your daily life and speaking with a medical professional.