Are Hot Flashes Holding You Back?

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Eighty-five percent of the women in the United States experience hot flashes as they approach menopause. Researchers suggest that women with higher body weights actually have more hot flashes that their leaner counterparts. It is believed that hot flashes may be the body's attempt at dispersing heat, but unfortunately fat seems to act as insulation that prevents the heat from spreading, which usually causes overheating to take place.

Therefore, studies have shown that women who followed a low-fat diet high in fiber-filled foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains experienced fewer hot flashes than women who didn't. Below is a list of foods that can help you reduce your symptoms_

1. Fiber:Recent research has suggested that no other method enhancing regularity has the same effect as fiber. Fiber absorbs the estrogen, which relieves hot flashes by reducing the amount of estrogen reabsorbed from bile salts released into the intestine to be mixed with stool. It is recommended that women should be consuming 25-30 grams of fiber daily. Enjoy fiber-rich foods throughout the day such as whole grain breads and cereals, apples, pears, broccoli and cauliflower.

2. Calcium:The National Institutes of Health recommends that menopausal women get 1,000 mg of calcium daily. Calcium cleanses excess estrogen from the liver, making this nutrient vital in reducing hot flashes. Calcium-rich foods include low-fat milk, low-fat yogurts and low-fat cheeses.

3. Soy:Recent studies have found that soy, which is rich in phytoestrogens like isoflavones, can also help reduce hot flashes, as well as night sweats and other menopausal symptoms. Opt for tofu, edamame or any other variety of soy beans, as well as low-fat soy yogurts and cheeses.

4. Beans:Almost all beans - not just soy - contain two important compounds; genistein and daidzein. Which are known for being estrogenic, helping to control hot flashes and other discomforts of menopause.

5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids:New research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutritionshows a common food compound found in omega-3s can ease hot flashes. Salmon, shrimp, walnuts and tofu all contain high levels of omega-3s.

6. Vitamin E:According to the National Cancer Institute, studies suggest increasing your intake of vitamin E. Vitamin E replenishes necessary electrolytes lost through perspiration during hot flashes. Mango, sweet potatoes, almonds, peanuts and sunflower seeds are all great sources of vitamin E.

7. Vitamin B:This essential vitamin has been shown to help reduce hot flashes. Foods like bananas, pistachios, fish, meat, eggs, bananas, beans and whole grains are all wonderful sources of vitamin B.

8. Vitamin C:One study showed that increasing your intake of vitamin C which contains bioflavonoids; a powerful antioxidant, reduced hot flashes. Grapefruit, oranges, potatoes, broccoli and pineapple are all fabulous sources of vitamin C.

9. Water:Drink a lot of water. Drinking water restores fluids lost to perspiration during hot flashes and can even prevent or minimize the hot flashes themselves.

10. Foods to avoid:Certain foods like, alcohol, caffeine, excess sugar, high-fat meat products and spicy foods rank among the top aggravators of these frustrating episodes.

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and founder of She is also the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto