Foods that fight hot flashes

9 Foods That Fight Hot Flashes

The dreaded hot flash. These sudden sensations of intense heat, often accompanied by sweating and rapid heartbeat, can seemingly come out of the blue during menopause.

While not a cure-all, these 9 foods that fight hot flashes may be able to help quell some of the heat.

This blog will explore the science behind foods that balance hormones and can curb those surprising sizzle spells. So get ready to load up your plate with these hot flash fighters.

What are hot flashes?

Hot flashes and night sweats (also called vasomotor symptoms) are perhaps the most common menopausal symptoms, impacting up to 80% of women. (1

It’s unclear what exactly causes hot flashes, but changes in hormone levels and changes in women’s internal thermostats play a role. 

Science shows that the following list of 9 foods that fight hot flashes may be able to help. If nothing else, they are delicious and healthy foods that should be part of a healthy diet. 

1. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are a nutritional powerhouse, rich in plant compounds called lignans. Lignans are a type of phytoestrogen, meaning they can have weak, estrogen-like effects and may be able to ease symptoms of hormone imbalance. (2

Studies have shown that consuming flaxseeds can reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes, most likely due to their high lignan content. (3

Additionally, flax is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which may be able to help reduce night sweats. (4

Incorporating flaxseeds into your diet is easy; sprinkle them over salads, yogurt, or oatmeal, or blend them into smoothies.

2. Soy products

Soy products have garnered significant attention as a potential remedy for menopausal hot flashes due to their high content of phytoestrogens, particularly isoflavones. These plant-based compounds bear a structural resemblance to the hormone estrogen, allowing them to interact with estrogen receptors in the body. 

Although the evidence regarding soy’s impact on hot flashes is not entirely conclusive, various studies have indicated a potential correlation between isoflavones and improved menopausal symptoms. (5)

A fascinating aspect of the soy and menopause connection lies in the gut microbiome’s role in this equation. In some women, the microbiome has the ability to convert metabolized isoflavones into a compound called equal. Equol, in turn, has been associated with a reduction in hot flashes. (6)

The gut microbiome might be the key to explaining the varying responses observed among women consuming soy products. 

3. Salmon

Unquestionably salmon is a superfood, making its presence on the list of hormone-balancing foods no surprise.

Salmon’s superpower lies in its remarkably high content of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat essential for overall health. Omega-3s form an integral part of every cell membrane in the body,  and they play pivotal roles in supporting heart health, lung function, immune system efficiency, and proper brain function. (7)

Omega-3s also play a role in hormone production, and studies have shown that taking omega-3 supplements can help alleviate menopausal hot flashes. (8)

Eating fish three times a week will help ensure that you get omega 3-s in your diet; however, for those of us who don’t eat fish that often, an omega-3 supplement can help fill in the gaps.

4. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are one of the best sources of vitamin E – a one-ounce serving has 7.4 mg of vitamin E, which is almost half of the Daily Value. This vitamin acts as a potent antioxidant that combats oxidative stress and helps protect our cells from damage. (9)

In terms of menopausal health, research suggests that 400 IU of vitamin E supplements daily can help decrease hot flashes. (10

To boost your vitamin E intake, add sunflower seeds to salads for a little crunch, or mix them in your smoothies.

5. Tumeric

When it comes to battling hot flashes, turmeric is like a golden ray of hope. This vibrant spice, known for its active compound curcumin, boasts anti-inflammatory properties that can help take the edge off those sudden heat waves.

A 500 mg curcumin supplement was shown to significantly reduce hot flashes symptoms after four weeks when compared to a placebo. (11

Two teaspoons of fresh turmeric have about 400mg of curcumin. Adding turmeric to a smoothie, curries, or golden milk latte is a great way to add this flavorful spice to your daily diet. 

6. Dark green leafy veggies

Dark green leafy veggies like kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, and arugula are high in folate, a B vitamin that plays a role in numerous functions in the body, including DNA synthesis and protein metabolism. It is also a cofactor for the synthesis of norepinephrine and serotonin – two neurotransmitters that influence hot flashes.

Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, was shown to reduce the severity and duration of hot flashes. Women taking 1 mg of folic acid for four weeks noted a significant improvement in hot flashes compared with women who took a placebo. (12)

7. Beans

Beans are a great source of folate, which has been shown to help with hot flashes. Additionally, they are high in fiber which can help fight hot flashes in another way. 

A study found that vasomotor symptoms were associated with insulin resistance and elevated fasting blood sugar. (13) Fiber-rich foods such as beans help to keep blood sugar levels stable, which may help keep hot flashes at bay. 
Lastly, studies have shown that plant-based diets may help to alleviate hot flashes, and beans are a fantastic source of plant-based protein. (14)

8. Cold water

Okay, so it’s not technically a food, but sipping on cold water could help to manage hot flashes by helping you feel cooler. There have also been reports that women who are not hydrated enough may have more hot flashes than those who keep themselves hydrated.

The National Institute of Aging recommends women drink a little cold water before bed to help ward off night sweats. (14)

7. Citrus fruit

Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that supports the immune system and fights inflammation. Citrus is also a source of the bioflavonoid hesperidin.

Studies have suggested that vitamin C and hesperidin may reduce the severity of hot flashes.(15)

So add some lemon slices to that cold water!

8. Nuts

Just like sunflower seeds, nuts are high in vitamin E, which can help combat hot flashes.

Nuts are not only a good source of healthy fats and protein, but also contain selenium, zinc, and magnesium, which are minerals essential for hormone balance and overall health. 

Studies have also shown that regularly eating nuts can help stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day, potentially reducing the frequency of hot flashes. (16)

9. Whole grains

Finally, whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice are essential in a diet aimed at reducing menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. Whole grains are packed with fiber, which helps in helps to steady blood sugar levels.

The high fiber content also keeps the gut microbiome balanced to support estrogen detoxification. (17)

Bottom line

While hot flashes during menopause can be challenging to manage, incorporating these nine foods that fight hot flashes into your diet may provide natural relief. Remember that every woman’s experience is unique, so listen to your body and seek guidance when you have concerns. By embracing a balanced diet rich in these wholesome foods, you can potentially minimize the discomfort of hot flashes and embrace this transitional phase with greater ease.

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