Healing Hot Flashes With Diet
People often ask me if there is a special diet for healing hot flashes. And I assure them that there is. To begin with the basics, I encourage people to eat a diet that is rich in plant foods— with only about 20% or less of one’s daily caloric intake coming from animal products.
I do have some patients that do very well on a diet that is 100% plant-based. To find out more about my general guidelines for optimal health and weight-loss, you can check out that article here.
But whether your diet is 80% or 100% plant-based, the research is fairly compelling. People who receive most of their calories from minimally processed plant foods experience better health than people on a meat-centered diet. They also tend to experience less hot flashes and menopausal symptoms. This may be due in part, to the fact that plant foods contain a class of phytonutrients known as phytosterols—also referred to as phytoestrogens.
Soybeans Do Not Cause Cancer
There has been a lot of misinformation about soybeans and their impact on health. However, research suggest that women who consume more soy in their diet, experience greater health overall. Other foods rich in phytosterols include, ground flax, oats, barley lentils, sesame seeds and yams.
If you do decide to consume soybeans, make sure they are fermented as tempeh, miso or tamari sauce—as these foods may be easier to digest than non-fermented soy. I also suggest choosing organic soybeans, rather than genetically modified soybeans. And believe they are a better choice for the environment and our health.
In addition to foods rich in plant sterols, I encourage women to consume foods high in organic sulforaphane: an organic sulfur-based compound thought to have multiple health benefits. Sulforaphane is found in foods like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, bok choy, and brussels sprouts, and is thought to help reduce the symptoms of hot flashes. Sulforaphane is also being researched for its possible cancer preventative properties.
Foods Rich in Omega 3’s
Foods high in omega 3’s include, flax, chia, hemp seeds, broccoli, soybeans, salmon, anchovies and sardines. They can also be found in some forms of algae. Omega 3’s are important for heart health, brain health, and mood. And seem to help balance hormones as well. Consequently, women who consume omega 3’s daily seem to suffer from less hot flashes.
I encourage women to put chia seeds, and or ground flax seeds, in smoothies and salads every day.
Herbal Formulas and Supplements I Prescribe Often
I usually prescribe a good multivitamin to women over the age of 40, with the assumption that some nutritional support is usually needed to reduce hot flashes and improve overall health. In fact, many women have told me that simply taking a good quality multivitamin has dramatically reduced their symptoms.
My favorite multivitamin for women over 40 is is Meta-fem by Thorne Research. Thorne Research is by far my go to supplement company. And maintains some of the highest quality standards of any company on the market. Thorne Research is a professional line of vitamins, and is triple tested for quality assurance. using FDA purity standards. Making Thorne Research one of the most popular line of supplements naturopathic doctors prescribe. Simply taking a good quality multivitamin can often go a long way in terms of healing hot flashes.
Meal Replacements, Protein Shakes, and Smoothies
I often prescribe protein shakes and smoothies to my patients: to help support and encourage a nutrient dense diet. Morning smoothies usually contain liberal amounts of ground flax or chia seeds, and omega 3 fish oil.
I especially like Nordic Naturals Omega 3 fish oil in liquid form for smoothies because this product is molecularly distilled, to reduce heavy metals, and because this product as a relatively mild taste.
Omega 3’s are a vital part of my treatment protocol; because they help balance hormones and decrease the chronic inflammation often associated with hot flashes.
When prescribing a smoothie for my patients, many times I will also add a nutrient dense meal replacement as well. For women suffering from hot flashes, my favorite go to meal replacement is Medclear SGS by Thorne Research. SGS stands for Sulforaphane Glucosinolate, a form of sulforaphane extracted from broccoli. Mediclear SGS is great for healing hot flashes because it is so rich in sulfurophane.
This product comes in chocolate or vanilla flavor, and I usually encourage my patients to add a generous amount of frozen organic berries to their smoothies for additional antioxidant support. The other great thing about this product, is that it makes a wonderful morning smoothie, and is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This is a product I will often prescribe to patients that are worried about getting enough nutrition throughout the day.
There have been some interesting studies on the importance of daily consumption of mineral rich foods. And taking a mineral supplement daily can help reduce hot flashes. Both calcium and magnesium have been thought to be quite beneficial.
Because osteoporosis is a major risk factor in women over 50, I usually prescribe a good multimineral to women over the age of 40, and women who suffer from hot flashes. Two of my favorite multimineral blends are Multiminerals, with or without iron, by Bluebonnet, and Bone Up by Jarrow Formulas. Both these products are well formulated, and a great addition to any woman’s health regiment—especially if she is over the age of 40. Minerals also help the liver metabolize and make cholesterol: a process necessary in hormone synthesis.
Herbal Medicine Can Help
There are several herbal formulas that I prescribe for the treatment of hot flashes. And there are several good companies on the market. I get very good results with Meta Balance by Thorne Research. This blend has many of the traditional herbs that naturopaths use for treating hot flashes, such as Black cohosh Actaea racemosa, Chaste berry Vitex agnus-cactus and Dong quai Angelica Sinsesis, Wild yam Dioscorea villosa, and Hesperidin methyl chalcone; a flavonoid found in citrus fruits, and thought to be helpful treating a host of menopausal symptoms.
I usually have patients start by taking 2-3 capsules twice daily to start. If hot flashes subside, they may only need to take this product once a day. I suggest taking 2-3 capsules 1/2 an hour before bedtime to reduce hot flashes at night.
Other Great Formulas for Healing Hot Flashes
Another great product I love for healing hot flashes is Estrovera by Metagenics. This is a great product because the dosage is just 1 tablet a day. I usually advice patients to take Estrovera prior to going to bed; in order to avoid hot flashes at night. Estrovera is made from Raphonic rhubarb, and appears to be safe in women at high risk of developing breast cancer. And has also been shown to help improve many menopausal symptoms such as mood changes, vaginal dryness, and poor libido.
I have many patients that prefer taking traditional herbal tinctures. One of my favorite tincture blends comes from Wise Woman Herbals; developed by the brilliant herbalist Susan Weed. Weed has formulated a very good blend, that I often prescribe, called ‘Phytoest‘. This is a beautiful traditional remedy of Black cohosh Cimicifuga racemosa, Dong quai Angelica sinensis, Bitter fennel Foeniculum vulgare, and Alfalfa Medicago sativa, with fennel essential oil in a base of organic alcohol and spring water.
I get great results with this product but, I do encourage patients to dose heavily to start—around 4-5 full dropperfuls in a little water every few hours. People may reduce the dosage as symptoms improve. And I encourage people to keep this tincture by their bedside nightstand. And use it often, to stave off hot flashes at night. This product is not recommended for anyone who does not consume alcohol.
In addition to nutritional support and supplementation, I advice my patients to have a salivary hormone test done to determine if bio-identical hormone restoration therapy may be warranted.
Are You Looking for A Naturopathic Doctor?
To find out more about my work, or to visit me in my offices, you can check out my web pages at, http://www.doctorwhimsy.com/ and find the diet and supplement program that is right for you. I hope these suggestions are helpful to you are your journey to health, and feel free to contacted me if you need additional support.