Can you really relieve hot flashes and night sweats simply by changing your diet and lifestyle?
The short answer is “yes”. The qualified,Stop Eating Sugar For Relief Of Hot Flashes And Night Sweats Articles longer answer is “usually, yes”. How do I know? Well, for one many women friends (who have suffered hot flashes and night sweats say that they have done so). There is also good research showing this to be so.
Let’s start with the personal experiences related to me by women friends. One friend assured me that cutting sugar out of the diet would dramatically improve hot flashes and night sweats. Hmmmm! Why would that be so? To understand how cutting sugar from your diet would help reduce hot flashes and sweats, we need to understand what causes them a little more clearly.
Hot Flashes and Night Sweats Reflect An Upset Brain
As I explain the why and wherefore of hot flashes and night sweats, keep my friends experience in mind. (Remember, when she cut sugar out of her diet, her hot flashes and night sweats improved.)
Hot flashes and night sweats arise from lagging production of sex hormones by the ovaries. But it’s not the ovaries that produce the hot flashes and night sweats. Hot flashes and night sweats an attempt by your body to bring down your core temperature. This regulatory mechanism lies within the brain, in an area called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus regulates many critical body functions-blood pressure, the sleep/wake cycle, the stress response, body temperature, and our sexual cycle (puberty, monthly cycling, menopause).
When ovarian secretion of estrogens and progesterone falters during perimenopause, a simultaneous change is occurring in the hypothalamus. Hormone secretion by the hypothalamus surges in an attempt to stimulate the ovaries to secrete more. In a sense the hypothalamus becomes upset. This hypothalamus upset affects its other functions as well.
It is like finding out that a drop in the stock market has evaporated your retirement fund. You don’t contain your upset, focusing it only on the market. You find yourself irritable at everything and everybody, including your loved ones. Your hypothalamus behaves the same way.
Brain control of body temperature is upset in menopause.
One hypothalamic function that is disrupted by your upset hypothalamus is its control mechanisms for your body’s temperature. With this function upset, it constantly tries to lower your body temperature even though you’re not dangerously overheating. Mechanisms like hot flashes and sweats that would normally be reserved for bringing down your temperature when you have a fever, now come into play many times a day. Even when your body temperature is within normal range and you don’t have a fever.
Another hypothalamic function that is disrupted by your upset hypothalamus is the stress response. Remember that many critical control systems for your entire body reside side by side within a very small area of the brain-the hypothalamus. Upset one area and the other area’s feel it.
Brain control of our stress response is also upset in menopause.
The stress response also originates in the brain and hypothalamus. When you feel stressed (in your thoughts and feelings) your brain is the first to register it. It then dutifully initiates a physical stress response through your entire body. The physical stress response is designed to help you do something about whatever it is you’re stressed about. Generally when we’re stressed we become motivated to handle it in some active way. We want to do something to solve the problem. The body’s physical stress response enables us to act and resolve the source of the stress. What if our body’s shut down and went to sleep whenever we experienced stress? We wouldn’t be very effective in resolving the causes of our stress if our body did that, would we?
The body’s stress response is a complex series of hormone responses that impacts every tissue in the body. Blood pressure increases, the heart rate increases, blood circulates more quickly, digestion shuts down, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol which mobilizes stored sugar and increases blood sugar levels.
The last feature of the stress response (how stress causes the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol which in turn raises blood sugar) takes us back to my friend at the beginning of this article. Part of the stress response is a rise in blood sugar levels. This gives us the energy we need for our brain to think clearly and our muscles to contract.
But still, how does eating sugar have anything to do with hot flashes?
Here’s the connection between eating too much sugar and making hot flashes worse. When you eat lot’s of sugar it causes a stress response in your body, not too different from the stress response we discussed above. Your body uses the stress response mechanism to stabilize blood sugar. When you eat too much sugar you upset your body’s blood sugar level, and your body (under stress) then struggles to immediately stabilize it and return it to normal.
The stress response associated with eating too much sugar also upsets the brain (hypothalamus). Remember that the hypothalamus is already upset by the lagging levels of ovarian hormones. Fluctuating blood sugar levels (from eating too much sugar) further upsets an already upset hypothalamus. This upset spills over into neighboring areas of the brain which regulate body temperature. When you add more upset to the brain’s control center for body temperature, you get more hot flashes and night sweats.
Reducing sugar intake to relieve hot flashes and night sweats.
Not everyone will experience the same relief of hot flashes and night sweats by removing sugar from their diet. We each have a unique physiology. Some of us are more sensitive to changes in blood sugar than others. So the response will be different for each of us.
When I say sugar I am referring to a broad class of foods. All sweets obviously contain sugar of some type. So these would be the first foods to avoid. However, many foods release sugar into the bloodstream as soon as they are digested. All starches are in 서울op
this category. Generally speaking the more processed the starch, the more sugar is released. So in order to prevent fluctuations in blood sugar, one should also avoid starches such as pasta, rice, breads, anything made of flour, potatoes, etc. How much and how quickly a particular food raises blood sugar is measured by its “glycemic index”. The higher the glycemic index of a food the more quickly it raises blood sugar. There are glycemic index tables for foods that will show you more specifically which foods to avoid and which to focus on.
To summarize: one strategy to relieve hot flashes and night sweats that works better for some people than others (and that worked for my friend) is to avoid sugars and starches with a high glycemic index.
Another major dietary strategy to relieve hot flashes and night sweats is to eat foods that contain phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are plant derived estrogen like molecules. They have a weak estrogenic effect in the human body, generally at about 1/1000 the strength of human estrogens. Having a lot of plant estrogens in your diet helps make up for the deficit of estrogens due to lagging production by the ovaries. Plant estrogens are also found is specific herbs. One herb that has been shown to effectively relieve hot flashes and night sweats due to its content of phytoestrogens is an extract of Siberian rhubarb root.