A hot flash is a common, but extremely uncomfortable symptom of peri-menopause and menopause. Hot flashes or ‘night sweats’ as they are generally known, typically occurs at night when estrogen levels dip drastically. Hot flashes are characterized by a sensation of excessive heat, followed by rapid heart beat and intense sweating. Some women start to experience hot flashes many years before they reach actual menopause.
A hot flash can throw a menopausal woman’s life totally off gear. There are numerous treatment options to control the intensity of hot flashes. Lifestyle changes especially dietary changes can to a large extent help women find relief from this common menopausal problem. Some important and extremely essential dietary changes to reduce the severity of hot flashes are mentioned below.
Dietary Changes For Hot Flashes
Say No to Caffeine
Peri-menopausal and menopausal women who suffer from frequent hot flashes should stop drinking coffee and caffeinated drinks totally. Caffeinated drinks – including some brands of herbal teas which contain low levels of caffeine – are known to worsen the symptoms of menopause.
Furthermore, drinking too much coffee or other caffeinated drinks can lead to dehydration. A dip in fluid levels of the body can actually intensify the symptoms of a hot flash.
Keep Yourself Well Hydrated
Menopausal women are advised to drink at least ten to twelve glasses of water every single day to prevent dehydration. Furthermore, keeping the body well hydrated can help to regulate body temperature.
Drinking plenty of water can also mitigate the feeling of intense which accompanies a hot flash. Menopausal women, who follow a regular exercise regime, should make it a point to drink water at regular intervals to prevent dehydration.
Include Soy Products
Dietary research has shown that incorporating soy based foods can actually reduce the intensity and even the frequency of hot flashes. Besides being a rich source of proteins, soy products contain good amounts of phyto-estrogen as well.
Phyto-estrogen which mimics natural estrogen can help to ease the symptoms of hot flashes. Tempeh, miso, soy milk, and soy cheese are some wonderful soy products which should be incorporated by menopausal women into their daily diet.
Reduce Intake of Spicy Foods
Spicy foods are known to raise body temperature levels. A sudden rise in body temperature after consuming spicy foods can trigger hot flashes among peri-menopausal and menopausal women. Furthermore, eating spicy foods can intensify the symptoms of hot flashes. Menopausal women who suffer from frequent hot flashes should avoid taking spicy foods altogether or use fewer spices to flavor food.
Eat Plenty of High Fiber Foods
To reduce the intensity of hot flashes, eat plenty of high fiber foods. High fiber foods like fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains can to a large extent lessen the symptoms of hot flashes.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are also rich in numerous antioxidants. These antioxidants can protect the body from the degenerative processes which accompany menopause. High fiber natural foods contain appreciable amounts of water as well.
Increase Intake of Calcium And Iron Rich Foods
To alleviate the symptoms of hot flashes peri-menopausal, menopausal and post menopausal women are advised to increase their consumption of calcium and iron rich foods. Medical research has shown that eating a diet that is high in calcium and iron can reduce the frequency of hot flashes. Milk, cheese and broccoli are few good dietary sources of calcium. Beef liver, fish and poultry are excellent dietary sources of iron.