Menopause is often referred to as “the change,” and for good reason. Women who go through menopause experience many changes physically and emotionally. A common symptom of menopause is hot flashes. This sudden onset of extreme heat can leave you in a pool of your own sweat.
Hot flashes are the result of hormonal changes that occur during menopause. Estrogen levels begin to decrease, and this is represented by the cessation of menstrual cycles. Other symptoms that arise as a result of hormonal changes include vaginal dryness, insomnia, low libido, memory fog, depression, and weight gain.
Hot flashes can be quite irritating because you randomly begin to sweat profusely. For some women, hot flashes only last for a few seconds, while others suffer with them for longer periods of time. Some women only experience hot flashes throughout the day, while others only encounter them at night, which negatively affects their sleep.
There has been some research into the role that diet plays in controlling, preventing, and treating hot flashes. Although there isn’t a specific diet that women can consume to prevent hot flashes, there are some food items that should be limited or avoided, as they have shown to be possible triggers for hot flashes.
For some, consuming caffeine, spicy foods, hot beverages, and alcohol can be triggers of hot flashes. But other studies suggest it isn’t so much about the foods you eat, but how you eat them. Small studies have shown that consuming regular meals may help suppress hot flashes, while going long periods of time without eating may increase hot flashes.
There have been numerous studies examining the link between food and menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, and these studies generally conclude that no food item or diet will work for all women. So, when it comes to controlling and preventing your hot flashes, you may have to try out different food and diet options to see which one will work best for you.
Other studies have shown that foods containing soy may help minimize hot flashes because soy acts like estrogen in the body. But you need to be wary when taking in more soy, especially if you have a history of breast cancer. Always speak to your doctor about making a large change to your diet like taking in soy.
If you can’t eat soy, then flaxseed is a good alternative. In a small study of menopausal women taking flaxseeds, hot flashes decreased by 50 percent.
Lastly, a natural supplement known as cohosh has shown some promise in managing hot flashes, but much of the research has yielded mixed results. Once again, either check with a doctor to see if it’s safe to take and don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work, as natural products don’t work the same in every person.
Although you may not be able to eliminate hot flashes altogether, you may find that making swaps in your diet may be enough to minimize them.