Menopause and Nutrition: Diet for Hot Flashes

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Hot flashes seem to be a personal experience for women experiencing various symptoms in menopause. Many women we talked to tried various diet remedies and supplements but results are often inconsistent. Let’s look at some common diet solutions for menopause and hot flashes.

Menopause Nutrition for Hot Flashes

Avoid the following food items in your diet. Most women found these foods make hot flashes worse.


  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine containing soft drinks
  • Spicy foods
  • Smoking

Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is an herb used extensively in Europe for treating hot flashes. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports short-term use of black cohosh – up to six months – for treating symptoms of menopause. But the exact effects of longer-term use aren’t known. Studies are underway to determine the effectiveness and long-term safety of taking black cohosh supplements.

Soy

Soy contains phytoestrogens, an estrogen-like substances. In Japan, where soy foods are commonly consumed daily, women are only one-third as likely to report menopausal symptoms as in the United States or Canada. In fact, there is no word in the Japanese language for “hot flashes”. However, clinical trials have generally yielded unimpressive results. The safest approach is to incorporate whole soy products such as soy milk or tofu in you diet. Indeed, the North American Menopause Society in 2000 recommended that 40 – 80mg of isoflavones daily may help relieve menopausal symptoms.

Other common supplements for hot flashes:

  • Vitamin E (400 – 800 IU)
  • Dong Quai
  • Wild Yam
  • Evening Primose Oil

Scientific evidence of these supplements for hot flashes is not strong. It’s best to discuss with your physician before taking these herbal supplements as they may interact with drugs you are taking.

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