What to Eat to Fight Hot Flashes in Menopause? 7 Comfort Foods

Last updated 07.11.2023 | by Sabrina Johnson | 6 Minutes Read

This article has been reviewed and fact checked by Dr. Karen Pike, a senior physician administrator and board-certified emergency room doctor actively working in northern California. Read more at our medical disclaimer page.


Hot flashes are one of the major symptoms of menopause due to decreased estrogen hormone levels. The feeling associated with hot flashes isn’t a good one. You experience a sudden gush of heat, and the sweaty feeling engulfs you in no time. Hot flashes play a pivotal role in affecting your overall well-being.

True that you cannot do much about the hormone levels responsible for the hot flashes. But you can work on your diet and living conditions to ensure your well-being. When you eat well and avoid foods that could raise your body’s heat, your hot flashes can stay in check.

Why do Women get Hot Flashes in Menopause?

Hot flashes are a part of Vasomotor Symptoms (VMS) alongside night sweats. The main reason behind menopausal hot flashes is the low levels of estrogen.

Hypothalamus is that portion of the brain that regulates several important chemicals. The hypothalamus produces hormones that control many important bodily functions like heart rate, hunger, mood, and thirst. Estrogen hormones are responsible for regulating this hypothalamus to a large extent. That’s why a reduction in estrogen levels makes the hypothalamus sensitive to the slightest temperature changes. The outcome is an increased incidence of hot flashes.

What Effect Does Diet Have on Hot Flashes?

Your diet impacts your hot flashes immensely. Eating well is recommended so your body temperature doesn’t rise and the hot flashes remain under control.

Many experts and dieticians recommend the ‘When Way’ diet, which means eating only during the daytime. Your diet should also include fresh fruits and veggies. It would help normalize your blood flow and reduces the incidence of hot flashes.

Moreover, another way to reduce hot flashes is by going for a Mediterranean diet plan. A study was conducted on 6040 postmenopausal women. It was deduced that those who consumed a Mediterranean diet were at a lessened risk of night sweats and hot flashes.

A perfect Mediterranean diet combines vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, nuts, lean proteins, and olive oil.

What to Eat to Fight Hot Flashes in Menopause? 7 Comfort Foods

Let’s look at some foods you may add to your diet to relieve yourself from the hot flashes and night sweats related to menopause.

1. Cooling Foods

While some foods raise your body temperature, others cool you down. These foods help keep your body temperature down and even help you remain hydrated.

They even balance your sugar levels, mineral levels, and blood pressure. Here are some of the cooling foods:

  • Radish
  • Cucumber
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Bok choy 
  • Kale
  • Spinach 
  • Cauliflower
  • Watermelon
  • Bok choy 
  • Kale 
  • Spinach
  • Cauliflower
  • Pears
  • Banana
  • Apple

Combining hot food with cold food would help maintain the perfect balance. For example, you can have a platter of soup with fruit salad.

2. Fruits

Fruits are one of the most important ingredients of a Mediterranean diet. Some fruits have a cooling effect and work wonders in managing hot flashes. Do you want to know the fruits you can add to your salad?

Here are some of them:

  • Apricots
  • Kiwis
  • Grapes
  • Bananas
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Watermelons
  • Peaches 

3. Vegetables

Like fruits, vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale, zucchini, and brussels sprouts relieve hot flashes. These veggies have a high fiber content. As per studies, fiber positively impacts weight loss and hot flash reduction in menopause.

A study was conducted on 17,473 postmenopausal women. It showed that those who included sufficient vegetables in their diet could put them at a lessened risk of hot flashes.

4. Healthy Fats

Besides fruits and vegetables, a diet comprising healthy fats will also help provide relief from night sweats and hot flashes. The list of foods to add to your diet would be those rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

These include avocado, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and anchovies. Then, there are cold-water fatty fish like sardine, tuna, salmon, herring, and mackerel. A study on 55 postmenopausal women showed that flaxseeds, high in omega-3 fatty acids, helped lessen hot flashes.

5. Soy-Rich Foods

The compounds daidzein and genistein in soy effectively minimize the incidence of hot flashes due to menopause. This fact has been proved through studies as well.

So, ensure that you include a moderate amount of soy in your diet alongside fruits, veggies, and healthy fats. It can be achieved through soy milk, tofu, soybeans, and tempeh.

6. Vitamin E-rich Foods

Studies have shown the role of Vitamin E in lessening episodes of hot flashes during menopause. Though the focus is mostly on Vitamin E supplements, having foods rich in this vitamin would also be helpful in the long run.

The foods that rank high in Vitamin  E include avocado, almond, asparagus, beet green, collard green, spinach, sunflower oil, seeds, red bell pepper, soybean oil, etc.

7. Phytoestrogen-rich Foods

Knowing what phytoestrogen is, is important before knowing the foods rich in the same. These are compounds that function in a way similar to estrogen. So eating foods high in phytoestrogen will help manage hot flashes, night sweats, and other symptoms of menopause to a greater extent. It has even been validated through several studies.

Besides soybeans, flaxseeds, and tofu which have an increased amount of phytoestrogen, there are many more on the list as well. These include berries, oats, carrots, apples, barley, rice, wheat, sesame seeds, dried beans, alfalfa, mung beans, wheat germ, etc.

FAQs

Can cold water help to relieve hot flashes?

When you remain hydrated, it will help balance your body temperature well. It will help to manage hot flashes. Besides this, drinking small amounts of cold water before bedtime will help with night sweats and hot flashes. Another effective remedy is to splash cold water on your face and wrist or have a cold shower. It will help in lowering the body temperature.

Which foods can make hot flashes worse?

Some foods make hot flashes during menopause worse. So, they should be avoided. Some include spicy foods, alcohol, coffee, caffeinated products, chocolates, processed foods, etc. 

Conclusion

To sum it up, always maintaining a healthy diet is extremely important. And when it comes to menopause, the food you eat is crucial in determining how you will feel. So, it’s time that you take your diet seriously. Consider eating foods that will relieve you from two crucial symptoms that trouble you the most – hot flashes and night sweats.

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Author

  • Sabrina Johnson

    Meet Sabrina Johnson, a compassionate author and a seasoned expert in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a driving force behind Simply Menopause, where her extensive medical knowledge and empathetic nature come together to empower women in their menopausal journey. Sabrina offers culturally sensitive guidance and support through her approachable writing, making her a trusted friend on the path to menopause wellness.