You’re waking up at night drenched in sweat. Even sticking your head in the freezer does not help.
But the right food and drinks can cut symptoms by half.
WHAT CAUSES HOT FLASHES?
Hot flashes are feelings of warmth that spread over the body and last from 30 seconds to a few minutes. They can be accompanied by redness of the skin, known as flashing (flushing), and excessive sweating.
Hormonal imbalances are the root cause.
During menstruation, estrogen allows ovaries to respond when “luteinizing hormone” (LH) stimulates the release of eggs each month.
During perimenopause, ovaries ignore the LH.
The body’s response is to release adrenaline!
This causes your body to heat up for a few minutes before cooling off.
WHAT TRIGGERS HOT FLASHES?
Triggers for hot flashes might be related to the food and drinks you consume (e.g. coffee, spicy foods, sugar, large meals, processed foods especially carbs).
Maybe they’re related to lifestyle factors (e.g. stress, alcohol, smoking, certain medications or intense exercise).
Or maybe they get worse as your weight slowly climbs and increases the body mass index (BMI). Some menopausal women who lose weight can eliminate their hot flashes.
HOW TO REDUCE HOT FLASHES NATURALLY
Flax contains a “phytoestrogen” called “lignan”. Phyto (plant) estrogens are thought to help balance hormones by mimicking and binding them to hormone receptors.
Flax also contains fiber and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Both are powerhouses for better gut and heart health, an additional benefit!
Here’s where it gets interesting.
One study looked at thousands of women who experienced at least 14 hot flashes per week. Researchers had them add four tablespoons of flax meal to their daily diet.
After six weeks, participants reduced volume and intensity of hot flashes by half.
Scientists attribute the reduction of symptoms to lignan, a component of flax seeds.
That’s some super-food!
Ideas to increase your flax intake:
Add one or two tablespoons to smoothies or sprinkle it on just about anything (breakfast foods, nut butters, soups, salads etc.). Consider adding flax to your favorite baking recipes.
Pro Tip: Flax seeds should be ground up in order to achieve optimum benefits – their healthy compounds are locked beneath their hard outer shell.
Hot flashes cause water loss through perspiration.
Replace critical fluids by drinking water. Keep a bottle or cup beside you all day for frequent sips.
Aim for eight glasses of water per day. Drinking cool water can reduce the intensity of a hot flash.
Oily fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and help reduce hot flashes due to the EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) they contain.
Studies have shown that eating cold water fatty fish or taking a fish oil supplement helps reduce the number of hot flashes although not severity. Recommended dietary advice is 2-3 portions of fatty fish weekly and/or supplement with a minimum of 1000mg of fish oil omega 3 tablets.
Do you want to make your own oatmeal and flax seed muffin to enjoy at breakfast or as a snack?
Check out my recipe here.
LAURA PEISCHL, BA, INHC
Laura is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Holistic Menopause Health Specialist and Certified Hormone Health and Wellness Practitioner. She is the founder and owner of Feel Good Menopause™️.