What to eat to help with hot flushes

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Women in countries eating a diet high in phytoestrogens - naturally occurring plant oestrogens that mimic the effects of our body’s oestrogen - don’t tend to report hot flushes, and the other crazy menopause symptoms that women eating a Western diet often do. Cultural reasons may also play a part as Japanese women are also reported to experience lower levels of breast cancer! Although studies on phytoestrogen can sometimes be contradictory.

Approaching menopause get to know your isoflavines from your lignans, as these are the active ingredients in phytoestrogens.

So where do you find them? Not in a packet but found naturally in: 

  • chick peas, lentils, peas, peanuts, alfalfa and wholemeal rice.
  • nuts such as almonds (the menopausal magic nut), cashews and peanuts are high in lignans
  • seeds: milled linseed (also called flaxseed), sesame, sunflower and pumpkin 
  • Whole grains, rye, barley and oats, whole wheat, granola, bran and muesli
  • Soya products: milk, mince, flour, soya beans (found in freezer cabinet), fermented Miso - essential that it is fermented to get the benefit, tofu, and soya based milks and yogurt. 
  • Brassicas (broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi) are a good source of lignans. Also, peppers, carrots and beans. 
  • Fruits - apricots, peaches and all berries are chock-full of lignans. Also, pears, nectarine, pink grapefruit and cherries.

Phytoestrogens are a hot topic and divide professional opinion. Menopause Matters say that women with breast cancer should be cautious about taking phytoestrogen supplements - with some breast surgeons and cancer specialists advising against ‘even tiny amounts’ of oestrogen.  Where there’s a risk to you or a family history of breast cancer, get advice from your GP.