Chill Out Diet for Hot Flashes
Although you may have experienced occasional hot flashes at some time in your life, when you're going through menopause, they can be unrelenting and even debilitating. The good news is that some small dietary adjustments may make a big difference in their frequency and intensity.
In general, the typical American diet includes a lot of white flour, fat, dairy, sugar, caffeine and meat. Replacing some of these items with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans, fish and small amounts of meat, would have many health benefits; one of which is that these food groups are high in concentrated phytoestrogens -- estrogen-like compounds that even out the hormonal fluctuations that cause hot flashes.
So, what foods are best to increase the phytoestrogens in your diet? Here are some excellent candidates:
- Soy. In the United States, soybeans are most commonly processed into tofu and used as an ingredient in Asian cooking. You can also make fruit-flavored soy milkshakes or use soy milk and flour in cooking your favorite dishes. When eating out in Chinese or Japanese restaurants, look for the dishes with tofu, miso or tempeh; they all contain soy.
- Beans. Try three-bean salads, chili and Mexican refried beans. Lentils and peas are also good sources of calcium and fiber. Over time, your body will become accustomed to your new diet and produce less gas, or you can take one of the anti-gas agents available at your local drugstore.
- Flaxseeds. Flaxseeds can be sprinkled on cereal and other food, or ground-up and added to recipes. They have a nutty flavor and contain alpha-linolenic acid, a nutrient with many benefits. Try to eat two to three tablespoons a day.
- Fruit. Concentrate on pears, plums, apples, grapes, strawberries and citrus fruit, but don't stop there. You should be eating five to seven servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
Finally, there are some foods you may want to steer clear of. Many women report that spicy food, wine and caffeinated beverages seem to provoke hot flashes. Keep a food diary to see if you can narrow down what triggers them for you.