9 foods that fight menopausal hot flashes

Women's Health

by Baylor Scott & White Health

Mar 19, 2024

Hot flashes, also known as hot flushes, are a common symptom experienced by many women during menopause. Unfortunately, they can disrupt daily life with their sudden onset of heat, sweating and discomfort. While there are various treatments available, incorporating certain foods into your diet has been found to help alleviate these symptoms naturally.

Here are nine foods that may help cool your hot flashes without medication.

Foods to help with menopausal hot flashes

1. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are a nutritional powerhouse packed with omega-3 fatty acids, lignans and fiber. These compounds have been shown to help regulate hormonal fluctuations and reduce the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.

One easy way to incorporate flaxseeds into your diet is by adding them to your favorite foods and beverages. Just two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds a day may help regulate hormone fluctuations and alleviate hot flashes:

  • You can sprinkle ground flaxseeds onto yogurt, oatmeal or cereal for a nutritious boost in the morning.
  • Flaxseeds can be stirred into smoothies or added to baking recipes for an extra dose of omega-3s and fiber.
  • You can also use flaxseed oil as a dressing for salads or drizzle it over cooked vegetables for a flavorful and healthy twist.

2. Soy

Soy products contain isoflavones , which are plant-derived compounds that fall into the phytoestrogen category. Phytoestrogens mimic estrogen, which has been shown to reduce hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms when consumed regularly.

Popular soy products include:

  • Edamame
  • Soy milk
  • Tofu

In the past, some researchers thought that soy increased the risk of breast cancer. However, based on larger clinical trials, we now know soy is safe for consumption, contains many antioxidants and may even reduce breast cancer risk. Aim for one to two servings of soy food per day to reap the benefits.

3. Cold-water fish

Cold-water fish are rich in sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Some easy-to-find options include:

  • Mackerel
  • Salmon
  • Sardines

Incorporating these types of fish into your meals a few times a week may help regulate hormone levels and decrease the severity of hot flashes.

4. Leafy greens

Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and Swiss chard are loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that support hormonal balance and overall health. They also contain calcium, which is essential for bone health and regulating blood pressure during menopause. Aim to include at least two servings of cooked leafy greens in your daily diet to help combat hot flashes, such as:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard

5. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of vitamin E and healthy fats. Vitamin E has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women. Incorporating a handful of the following nuts or seeds into your snacks or meals each day may contribute to hot flash relief:

  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts

6. Whole grains

Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals that support overall health and hormone regulation. Whole grains may help with hot flashes by providing a steady release of energy, which can help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent sudden spikes and crashes that may trigger hot flashes.

Whole grains include:

  • Brown rice
  • Oats
  • Quinoa

The fiber content in whole grains also aids in digestion and promotes a feeling of fullness, which may contribute to overall hormone regulation and reduce the likelihood of experiencing hot flashes. Aim to make whole grains a staple in your diet by choosing them over refined grains whenever possible.

7. Fruits

Incorporating a variety of fruits into your diet each day can provide essential nutrients and may help alleviate hot flashes:

  • Apples, with their skin rich in quercetin (an antioxidant), offer additional support in reducing inflammation and promoting overall health.
  • Berries like strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, are not only bursting with antioxidants but also rich in phytochemicals that have been shown to support hormonal balance and combat inflammation.
  • Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and lemons are renowned for their high vitamin C content, which plays a crucial role in hormone synthesis and immune function.

8. Avocados

Avocados are not only delicious but also incredibly nutritious, containing healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. As well as a lot of vitamin E, avocados contain potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure and electrolyte balance, potentially contributing to overall comfort during hot flashes.

Incorporating half an avocado into your meals or snacks several times a week can provide you with beneficial nutrients needed to potentially combat hot flashes and support hormonal balance during menopause.

9. Herbal teas

Enjoying a cup or two of herbal tea daily is a relaxing ritual for many of us, but herbal teas have also been used for centuries to relieve menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes. These teas have calming and cooling properties that can help soothe the body and alleviate discomfort:

  • Black cohosh
  • Chamomile
  • Peppermint

It’s important to note that black cohosh is considered a supplement and is not regulated by the FDA. Talk to your doctor before incorporating a supplement into your daily diet.

While hot flashes can be a challenging symptom to navigate during menopause, by including these foods and following a healthy, balanced diet, you can support hormonal balance and potentially reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.

Looking for support during menopause? Meet with an OBGYN to talk about your wellbeing today

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