Menopause and its side effects (insomnia, dry skin, and hot flashes, oh my) are daunting to many women, especially those who don’t know how to help alleviate the transition. There are lifestyle changes you can make each day to help prevent the hot flashes associated with menopause — and recent studies show it is never too early to change your diet.
One of the studies, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, disclosed the connection between women’s’ diets and hot flashes and supported the idea that your food choices could relieve the aggravating menopausal symptom. We rounded up the everyday foods can help prevent hot flashes as well as the foods to avoid.
Following a typical Mediterranean diet, or one that’s plant-based and pescetarian can help ward off hot flashes. It’s important that menopausal and premenopausal women eat food high in the nutrients their body needs, including those that women’s diets are generally low in like iron and calcium.
Fish is a good dairy-free source of calcium that’s easy to incorporate into your diet. Nutritionists recommend getting around 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. Other healthy sources of calcium include fat-free Greek yogurt, milk, and plant-based proteins like nuts and tofu.
Broccoli serves its hot-flash ridding purpose twofold: it’s a good source of both calcium and iron, another nutrient women’s diets are often low in. Women over 50 should get around 8 milligrams per day of iron. While iron is found in lean red meat and poultry, vegetarians have a tougher time getting the nutrient than meat-eaters do.
Leafy green vegetables, nuts, and black beans are great sources of iron that vegetarians can incorporate into their diet to meet their iron requirement.
Whole grain bread and pasta
Fiber can help combat fatigue and weight gain in menopausal women as well as lower cholesterol, blood glucose, and help keep your digestive system running smoothly. Foods high in fiber like whole-grain bread and pastas, cereal, rice, fresh fruits, and vegetables can all help you meet your 21-gram per-day fiber recommendation.
By lowering cholesterol, fiber can help to alleviate hot flashes and their aggravating symptoms in women. Nutritionists recommend bread that’s high in fiber (at least 2 grams a slice) and whole grains but still low-calorie and low-sugar. Try Ezekiel’s 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread and Dave’s Killer Bread Thin-Sliced 21 Whole Grains and Seeds.
Avoid high-fat foods, alcohol, and excess salt
While adding calcium, iron, and fiber-rich foods into your diet, be sure to cut out those that could promote your hot flashes (or make them worse)! High-fat foods and saturated fats raise your cholesterol and boost your risk for heart disease as well, while a high-sodium diet can lead to higher blood pressure.
Monitor your drinks as well when trying to manage hot flashes. “Hot flashes often flare up when women drink wine or coffee, which, which acidifies the blood and strains the liver. One way to avoid this acidification is to cut down on these beverages and to drink more fresh vegetable juices, which counteract the effect by alkalinizing the system,’ Eve Campanelli, a holistic family practitioner, told Prevention.
General guidelines for what to avoid to prevent hot flashes:
- Limit fats to between 25% to 35% of your total daily calories
- Beware of saturated and trans fats
- Use sugar and salt in moderation
- Lay off the smoked, salt-cured, canned, and charbroiled foods that are salted and have high nitrate levels
- Limit alcohol consumption to one or fewer drinks per day
Not going through menopause? There are five other reasons you could be experiencing hot flashes.
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