Staying Cool In Menopause

When a woman has not had a period in at least 12 months, menopause is said to have occurred. This inevitable life change can bring about unwanted symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, trouble sleeping, mood changes, and pain during sexual intercourse. Attributed to a significant decline in estrogen, certain menopause symptoms are unavoidable, but for some women, lifestyle changes can help. These 3 dietary shifts can help to decrease hot flashes and improve overall quality of life.


1. Go plant-based

A vegan or vegetarian diet can do wonders for health, and menopause is no exception. A recent study found that a plant-based diet rich in soy reduced moderate-to-severe hot flashes by 84%, from nearly 5 per day to fewer than 1 per day. Dark green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and carrots are all great choices rich in antioxidants. Tofu, soybeans, soy milk, and tempeh can contribute to daily soy needs. Plant-based diets are all the rage nowadays, so don’t feel the need to stick with plain or bland veggies. Restaurants typically have a delicious vegetarian option available, and people can get creative with plant-based meals at home.

2. Consider the Mediterranean diet

The well-known Mediterranean diet can be a nice middle ground for women who aren't ready to go completely vegetarian or vegan quite yet. Rich in vegetables, fruits, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and healthy fats like olive oil, this diet has been shown to decrease the occurrence of hot flashes in menopausal women. A moderate amount of cheese is acceptable, and little to no red meat is encouraged.

3. Avoid triggers

Just as important as what to eat is what not to eat. Menopausal women should identify potential triggers and attempt to cut those foods or beverages out of the diet. Coffee is a notorious culprit capable of raising body temperature, elevating the heart rate, and causing dehydration. Instead, switch to an iced or decaf version. Alcohol is another potential red flag to keep an eye on. An occasional glass of wine shouldn’t affect menopause symptoms too much, but drinking more than a glass per day can increase the severity of hot flashes. Spicy foods are another potential trigger that can increase the heat even further, making hot flashes unbearable.

Embrace the change

For aging women, menopause is an unavoidable life change. However, the new life stage doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Hot flashes are an extremely bothersome symptom, but with the proper diet, women can stay cool later in life. Consider a vegetarian, vegan, or Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, soy, and healthy fat. Avoid triggers like caffeine and spice. By making the right nutritional choices, women going through menopause don’t have to suffer unnecessarily.