5 Foods to Avoid When Having Hot Flashes and How Changing Your Diet Can Help

You're minding your own business when all of a sudden it hits. 

Your heart starts racing a mile a minute. The sweat begins to pour. And your face and neck turn a flaming shade of red. 

Hot flashes suck.

But if you're going through menopause, there's not much you can do about them. Or is there?

Believe it or not, what you eat may be contributing to your unbearable hot flashes.

Let’s take a look at the science behind foods that can trigger hot flashes and how changing your diet may be just the answer you’re looking for.

foods to avoid when having hot flashes

Table of Contents

What Foods Can Trigger Hot Flashes?

Hot flashes may be set off by a variety of foods, such as:

  • Caffeine, including: 
    • Coffee
    • Tea
    • Chocolate
    • Energy drinks; and 
    • Soda
  • Spicy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Fatty foods, including fried foods and most fast foods 
  • Processed foods like packaged meats 

Why Do Certain Foods Trigger Hot Flashes?

Hot flashes in menopause happen when foods alter your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, or anything related to blood flow. 

This fluctuation causes your estrogen levels to change and interferes with your body's ability to maintain a steady blood flow. Your blood vessels constrict (or dilate), causing your blood sugar levels to bounce up and down, affecting your body's temperature and making you feel the heat.

foods to avoid for hot flashes

5 Beverages and Foods That Trigger Hot Flashes

#1: Caffeine

If you’re a coffee lover who's dealing with hot flashes, you may want to see if going caffeine-free helps to cut the heat.

Research shows caffeine intake is linked to annoying hot flashes. Caffeine is also famous for elevating your heart rate and causing dehydration, both of which can cause your body to heat up.

If the thought of giving up coffee is more than you can take, give decaf coffee a try. You’ll still satisfy your craving for the taste of your morning cuppa Joe without bringing on the nasty hot flashes. 

#2: Alcohol

According to research, alcohol can fire up the severity and frequency of your hot flashes. 

Enjoying a glass of wine a few times each week probably won’t exacerbate your hot flashes. 

But drinking more than one drink a day, including as little as … 

  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 1.5 ounces of spirits

… may cause your body to start turning up the heat.

#3: Spicy Food

It probably comes as no surprise that spicy foods may cause your body to heat up, including bringing on hot flashes. 

If you start to notice yourself being affected by spicy foods, try avoiding foods such as:

  • Hot peppers
  • Jalapeños
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cumin
  • Black pepper
  • Horseradish
  • Wasabi
  • Kimchi

#4: Sugar

As revealed in the aforementioned study on “The Effect of Dietary Intake on Hot Flashes in Menopausal Women,” hot flashes and high blood sugar go hand-in-hand. 

So, it’s reasonable to conclude that since the consumption of sugar impacts your blood sugar levels, it may also up the frequency and intensity of your hot flashes. Menopause and sugar don't mix well. 

Some foods are obviously laden with sugar, like:

  • Candy
  • Soda
  • Cookies
  • Cake

Other foods, however, have hidden sources of sugar. These include foods sweetened with: 

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Glucose syrup
  • Tapioca syrup
  • Fruit fructose
  • Crystalline fructose 
  • Maltodextrin 
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose

Reading labels and doing your best to cut out obvious and hidden forms of sugar can go a long way towards keeping your body cool and keeping hot flashes at bay.

#5: Processed Foods

You’ve been hearing about the dangers of processed foods for years, but if you’re experiencing hot flashes, you may have even more reason to cut them out of your diet. 

A recent study revealed that while the frequency of hot flashes is suppressed after eating, symptoms are increased when you consume a diet that is high in ultra-processed foods.

If you’re suffering from hot flashes, foods to avoid include highly processed things such as:

  • Sugary cereal
  • Fast food
  • Pasta
  • Foods made with white flour
  • Prepackaged meats
  • Chips
  • Soft drinks
foods that trigger hot flashes

Changing Your Diet Can Help Control Your Hot Flashes

The Mediterranean Diet (also suggested for women who suffer from endometriosis) is highly recommended as a long-term solution to helping control hot flashes. In fact, one study shows women who follow this diet are 20% less likely to experience the misery of hot flashes.

Taken from the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries, the Mediterranean Diet advocates plant-based foods, such as:

  • Olive oil
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains 
  • Legumes
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Herbs 

Seafood, fish, dairy, and poultry are included in moderation.

Eat Soy-Based Products

Consuming more soy-based foods may also prove helpful in eliminating, or at least decreasing, the frequency of hot flashes. 

Studies have shown compounds found in soy, daidzein, and genistein are useful in helping to control hot flashes in some women. 

If you want to include more soy in your diet, eat foods such as:

  • Edamame
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Soy milk

These soy-based foods contain phytoestrogens (more about those in a minute), which mimic the estrogen made by your body and can help control hormone levels that cause hot flashes.

Just be sure to opt for organic, non-genetically modified soy products. 

Add Phytoestrogen-Rich Foods

Phytoestrogens are plant-derived xenoestrogens that aren’t naturally produced in your endocrine system. They act as a form of weak estrogen in your body. 

You get phytoestrogens by eating plants or manufactured soy-based foods that contain phytoestrogens.

Research shows if you're trying to get rid of hot flashes, it may be worth giving phytoestrogen-rich foods a try.

Phytoestrogen-rich foods include:

  • Flaxseed
  • Soybeans
  • Peanuts
  • Chickpeas
  • Grapes
  • Sesame seeds
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Berry
  • Berries 
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Alfalfa
  • Rice
  • Dried beans
  • Lentils
  • Mung beans
  • Wheat germ

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables 

Truth be told, most of us need to up our fruit and vegetable consumption. This can be especially true when you're dealing with menopause and hot flashes. 

In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims only one-in-ten adults get the daily requirement of fruits and veggies.

One study revealed that upping the number of vegetables in your diet may help curb hot flashes in menopausal women.

A great way to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet is to eat the rainbow by including foods of all colors in your daily menu, such as:

  • Red: cabbage, beets, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, apples, pomegranates
  • Orange: carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, pumpkin, apricots
  • Yellow: squash, yellow peppers, mangoes, lemons
  • Green: broccoli, kale, cucumbers, green beans, spinach, asparagus, peas, avocados, green apples, green grapes, limes, Brussels sprouts
  • Blue: blueberries, blue corn, black currant
  • Purple: blackberries, purple sweet potatoes, purple cauliflower, passion fruit

Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Many women believe fats are foods to avoid. But during hot flashes, eating healthy fats can be a crucial component in feeling normal again.

Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, may offer some relief from both hot flashes and night sweats.

While you can reach for a supplement to boost your Omega-3 intake, the best way to get their amazing benefits is through food. 

An easy way to get more healthy omega-3 fatty acids in your body is by simply swapping your meat products for fatty fish and your butter for olive oil.

Examples of other foods that contain Omega-3 fats include:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • Flax seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Avocados
  • Hemp seed

foods to avoid for hot flashes

Cool vs. Warm Foods: Does It Matter?

Can some foods actually make you cooler? 

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the answer is yes.

Chinese medicine believes there are certain cooling foods that may provide relief for women suffering from hot flashes. They recommend maintaining a mix of cold and warm foods to keep your body balanced. 

If you’re suffering from hot flashes, giving these cooling foods a try may help you chill out:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumber
  • Radishes
  • Cabbage
  • Bok choy
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Pears
  • Watermelon
  • Eggs
  • Green tea
foods to avoid during hot flashes

Chiavaye’s Pure and Natural Products Can Help Keep Your Menopause Symptoms at Bay

Your body's been through a lot, and you (and your vagina) deserve to be comfy and healthy. Chiavaye can help. 

This all-natural, daily personal moisturizer and vaginal lubricant was created to enhance your vaginal health and wellness before, during, and after menopause. 

Whether you’re looking for the perfect lube to ramp up your time between the sheets, or you just need a little something to help relieve menopausal dryness and discomfort — Chiavaye was made with you in mind. 

With our all-natural, vegan ingredients like … 

  • Sunflower seed oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Almond oil
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Vitamin E

… you can know you’re giving your body the very best. 

Ready to experience the benefits of Chiavaye today? Visit our website today or a local retailer near you. 

Your vagina will thank you.

foods to avoid for hot flashes

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