Are you feeding your hot flashes?
Summertime heat can bring on hot flashes and healthy foods can be part of the plan to keep hot flashes away, according to Nationally Recognized Menopause Specialist, Dr. Diana Bitner. She adds that hot flashes happen in midlife and menopause when estrogen gets low. The body thermostat gets overly sensitive to heat and turns on the AC which works by causing a flash or a sweat. The most effective treatment is estrogen medication but with or without the medication, it can be helpful to know the tricks.
What else can bring on hot flashes? Weight gain. Bitner points out that even a modest 5-10 pounds! Carrying extra weight is like wearing a sweater you cannot take off. Another trigger is being even slightly dehydrated from less water and too much caffeine or alcohol. We each need about 60-80 ounces of net water each day. Are you really into your sugar? It is actually another common trigger of hot flashes. This isn’t just from candy, it’s from things like white rice, white flour, or white potatoes as well as ice cream or campfire s’mores. There can be the initial hot flash and then with a drop in blood sugar 30 minutes later, there is another hot flash. Knowing why hot flashes happen can provide solutions to make life better.
Dr. Bitner prepared a healthy dinner that is prime for those going through hot flashes. It consisted of a fresh grilled chicken breast, fresh green beans, half of a sweet potato along with a mixed green salad. The dressing on the salad was a blend of olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. Want that nightly glass of wine? Turn it into a spritzer, instead of using less wine and blending it with Club Soda.
Dinner should be the lightest meal of the day as the body cortisol levels drops and insulin can rise, and when tired or stressed, the insulin response is greater. To not promote belly fat, avoid carbs at dinner, especially simple carbs such as white rice.
At Spectrum Health Midlife, Menopause & Spectrum Health, they take care of the whole person using the Symptom Circle to offer solutions and options. The SEEDS gives a daily checklist by which to keep things organized, and when a hot flash occurs, the SEEDS is a good reference to think about why the hot flash might have happened. Many women have learned to have the checklist in their heads: water, sleep, sugar, extra weight from less exercise, a stressful moment which needs metered breathing?
All of these can be part of menopause misery, and it does not have to be that way! Know that suffering is not the only option, and a following healthy diet is one way to feel better.
To set up an appointment with Dr. Bitner or her staff, call (616)267-8520. Their office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Suite A., Grand Rapids. Make sure to visit her blog at healthbeat.spectrumhealth.org/blogs.