Do you get hot flashes at night? Do they set the bed on fire (but, you know, not in that way)?
Well, let's see if we can’t get you some relief!
But, before we do that, I just want to provide some quick info on why hot flashes occur so we can try to effect the root cause of these hormonal symptoms.
What Causes Hot Flashes?
As you can imagine it's all about hormonal balance (or imbalance).
As I understand it, during the menstruating years your estrogen allows for your ovaries to respond when your “luteinizing hormone” (LH) says to release those eggs every month.
When it gets to the point where your estrogen levels start dropping (i.e. perimenopause) those ovaries start to simply ignore the LH.
And guess what your body's AMAZING response to this is?
It releases adrenaline!
The increased adrenaline causes your body temperature to spike for a few minutes and then your body is left to rely upon itself to cool back down naturally (i.e., you sweat!).
What Triggers Hot Flashes?
You may have already personally identified some of your hot flash triggers. Perhaps they're related to the food and drinks you consume (like coffee, spicy foods, sugar, citrus fruit, large meals).
Maybe they're related to lifestyle factors (like stress, alcohol, smoking, certain medications or intense exercise).
Or maybe they get worse as your weight slowly climbs (higher BMI)?
Special Note: Did you know that some menopausal women who lost weight were able to eliminate their hot flashes? Win-win!
Let's reduce those hot flash triggers naturally, shall we?
Food #1 – Flax
Flax contains a “phytoestrogen” named “lignan”. Phyto (plant) estrogens are thought to help women’s bodies better balance hormones by mimicking them and binding to certain hormone receptors.
Flax also contains fiber and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Both are potential powerhouses for better gut and heart health, too!
But here's where it gets interesting.
One study looked at thousands of women who experienced at least 14 hot flashes per week. Researchers had them add four tablespoons of flax meal to their day.
Yes, just four tablespoons.
After 6 weeks the number of hot flashes they had dropped in half and the intensity of those hot flashes dropped by more than half!
Scientists think that's due mostly to the lignan content of flax seeds.
That's just amazing news if you ask me!
It's also pretty easy to increase your intake of flax. You can add one or two tablespoons into your smoothie or sprinkle it on just about anything (breakfast, salad, nut butters, etc.).
Health Coach Tip: Flax seeds should be ground up fresh (I use a separate coffee grinder dedicated to this task) in order to get most of their benefits because much of the healthy compounds in them are securely stored beneath the hard outer shell (and those compounds degrade rather quickly after that outer shell has been broken).
Food #2 – Water
OK, maybe this is more of a “drink” than a food but hear me out.
When you get hot flashes you're losing more water than you normally would. Duh.. it’s similarly to when you exercise. You do sweat when you exercise, right?
Well, make sure you replace those critical fluids by drinking enough water. A good habit is to make sure that you don’t get to the point of feeling overly thirsty. You can do this by keeping a bottle, glass, or cup beside you all day long for frequent sips.
Water is definitely something to add (or increase) to your daily intake when you're experiencing hot flashes.
So there you have my two tips on helping you through your hot flash experiences. I’ll admit, I’m probably not the best source for information on the subject, but I’m always gonna do my best to help.
If you’ve got anything to add, please feel free to leave a comment below. I am always open to learning more and would love for you to share your tips and experiences with us in hopes that you will benefit other readers in the same situation.
And remember; never stop moving toward a better you...
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