I talk a lot about how our hormones change as we age, respond to stress and are affected by our diet and lifestyle. Today I want to talk about one symptom that too many women suffer through and how natural solutions can really help.
Yes, menopause changes our body in many ways, but there is one change — hot flashes — that unless you stick your head in a freezer, seems to be one of those, “You just have to live with it” symptoms.
At best, we’re told to use prescription solutions that come with their own side effects added on top of everything you’re already experiencing! Sure, hot flashes typically go away at some point. But that’s still at least a couple of years (if you’re lucky) of intense discomfort, coupled with other menopausal symptoms.
I want you to know that you don't have to wait your hot flashes out — you can eliminate them, in a natural way. A way that works with your body, a way that is safe and gentle and gives you the relief you need.
I’m going to give you options so you can take charge of this stage of your life. I understand what you’re going through because I’ve been there.
What’s Your Trigger?
We have learned that there are things that can trigger your hot flashes. So the first thing you will want to do is to figure out what your trigger is.
Common triggers are usually things like:
- Hot drinks (both heat and spicy)
- Spicy food
- Warm or hot environments
- Intense exercise
- High carb diets
Another big factor that contributes to hot flashes is insulin resistance. This is when our body has to pump out higher and higher amounts of insulin to drive blood sugar down because the receptors are less responsive, essentially ignoring insulin’s call. Improving one’s blood glucose control and weight loss are potential interventions to insulin resistance.
Stress is also a big trigger for most of us. So take a good look around — what is causing you to stress and what controls can you put on those stressors?
The best way to find out what your triggers are is simply to keep a journal so you know what to avoid. Keep a small journal with you, or even use a “note” app on your phone, to keep track when your hot flashes hit.
Here are some suggestions of what you can record:
- Time and duration of the hot flash
- Location (including your environment — cold, hot, humid, indoors, outdoors, etc.)
- What are you doing?
- What are/were you eating?
- Who are you with?
- What are you wearing?
- How are you feeling?
Doing this for two weeks or more will give you an idea of just what is contributing to your hot flash. Okay, now you know what are some of the possible triggers for your hot flashes. What now?
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Now let’s talk about what you can do to prevent hot flashes! Obviously, the most common sense approach is to balance your hormones and stay away from your triggers. Unfortunately for us, life isn’t always that simple! You might have the best intentions, but life has its own plans!
It was not easy for me either. So what do most of us do in this situation?
Well, we’re often advised to take something for hot flashes; typically it’s either prescription medications, like ones that double as anti-anxiety, or antidepressants, or we go for hormone replacement therapy or all of the above.
Ladies, I’m not knocking your choices, I can totally relate. Sometimes a hot flash is so terrible, we’re willing to settle for anything for some relief. In fact, I went through my worst hot flash some time back and managed to get it on video for you! I wrote about it on my blog and you can check that out here.
But for now, let’s think outside the box for a moment…
Your body is already going through all these changes. Adding a chemical on top — especially a chemical that comes with a list of side effects of its own — might not be a great idea, even if it provides temporary relief.
You want to get to the bottom of things, right to the cause of hot flashes. You’re going to want something that works with your body naturally and fast.
So here are five remedies I found to not only relieve hot flashes but to also prevent them from happening altogether!
Become Sleeping Beauty
Sleep is so underrated and is often the first thing we set aside when we’re busy. And yet sleep is so important for our wellbeing. It’s the only way your body can recharge and heal itself. So the first thing I recommend is getting a good night’s sleep.
Remember a good day starts with a good night! In order to get a good night — especially if you experience night sweats — is to keep the room at 65 degrees °F (18 °C) and completely dark, or as dark as you can get it. You should be vigilant about getting your rest. You are worth it.
In fact, combining a good night’s rest with deep breathing and meditation will really help you keep your balance and keep your stress at bay. If you have trouble getting to bed then try these tips below:
- Guided meditations for sleep
- Only use your bed for sleep, and not for lounging or work
- Catch sunsets for natural circadian support
- Stay off any electronic devices at least two hours before you intend to sleep (use blue light blocking screens — I use the app F.lux on my laptop as well to provide a sunset color scheme to reduce disrupting blue light)
- Add supplements like magnesium glycinate, magnesium l-threonate, 5-HTP, and melatonin at bedtime
- A few drops of calming essential oils can really help as well. My favorites are bergamot, Roman chamomile and lavender
- Set and keep a nighttime ritual that will help your body prepare itself for sleep
- Keep your room cool, dark and uncluttered
Remember your body knows how to sleep, this is something your body does naturally. So don’t stress, just set the right conditions and you’ll get there.
Keto-Green™ Diet And Lifestyle
I have written a lot about my keto-alkaline® or keto-green diet and lifestyle and how incorporating the nutrition and lifestyle principles to make a real difference in the quality of our lives.
Keto-Green (or keto-alkaline) is about incorporating a diet that strives to keep your urinary pH at an optimal “alkaline” level, which typically sits at 7 or above. A urine pH that is more alkaline than acidic is linked to lower rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and other chronic diseases.
It has also been shown to lower inflammation, decrease joint pain, and menstrual discomfort. A urine pH that is more alkaline works to balance your hormones, give you more energy and helps you feel better overall.
In my Magic Menopause program, we typically hear of a 50% or more reduction in hot flashes within the first two weeks of being keto-green.
In my keto-green approach, I encourage low carb alkaline veggies and discourage eating excessive acid-promoting foods especially all processed foods, grains, white sugar, white flour, and caffeine.
Here are some fruits and vegetables that are alkaline:
My keto-green approach encourages healthy protein choices from free-range meats and wild caught fish. For even more help with hot flashes, add some non-GMO soy from miso and tempeh. And let’s not forget healthy fats! Make sure you have healthy fats incorporated in your diet from sources like ghee, avocados, nuts, olive and coconut oil to keep hormones balanced and to give you much needed energy — plus this helps to stop cravings.
Time For Intermittent Fasting
I mentioned earlier that insulin resistance is one of the reasons why women experience aggravating hot flashes long term. One way to address this is to practice intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is basically an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting during a specified period of time.
When I mention fasting, many people usually get a little worried, but really we all go through periods of eating and not eating. Every night when you sleep your body is fasting until it’s time to “break-fast” the next day. In fact, I usually encourage my patients from time to time, to fast from seven in the evening (after dinner), till breakfast time the next day.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to balance hormones, lower insulin levels, promote cellular repair, reduce belly fat, reduce inflammation, and so much more. It is just the kick-start your body needs, combined with following the keto-alkaline dietary principles, to get to a place that is beneficial to your whole system.
Becoming more insulin sensitive is key to stopping hot flashes in so many women!
I recommend adding vitamin E to reduce hot flashes. It’s important to get a good quality mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols vitamin E and not just a low-grade alpha-tocopherol as these have been proven to not be very effective. Taking a daily dose of about 400–800 IU of vitamin E will really help reduce the severity of hot flashes.
Additional supplements I routinely recommend include vitamin C, magnesium glycinate or magnesium l-threonate and also methylated B vitamins (Methyl B-Complex). We do just need extra at this time in our lives, especially when experiencing hot flashes.
Get These Key Superfoods
And then there are key superfoods.
What is a superfood?
There aren’t a set of criteria that defines a superfood. But it’s widely agreed what counts as a superfood are foods that are packed with nutrients and can help provide your body with the vitamins and minerals you need to thrive, survive and feel great.
Superfoods that improve insulin sensitivity are turmeric, cinnamon, and green tea to name a few. In India, they swear by turmeric — which is great for inflammation, brain health as well as hot flashes. I’ve found a dash of turmeric in my diet really helps me too. Other superfoods include:
- Acai berries
But my absolutely favorite superfood is maca!
Maca is a root that grows in the Andes in Peru. Peruvian natives use maca to help with fertility, libido, and fatigue. It’s even called the Peruvian Viagra. Research has shown that maca reduces perimenopausal symptoms including hot flashes, anxiety, and depression. Maca also works to balance hormones and helps with mood fluctuations.
When I first heard of maca, I was skeptical because I heard it helped with “everything”. Of course, the medical researcher in me had to see what scientific studies were saying. And lo and behold, after extensive research, turns out, maca pretty much does help with everything!
Maca is an adrenal adaptogen that helps bring you back to balance whether you’re in overdrive or underdrive. It’s become a key essential superfood that has been beneficial in my life.
Self Care Is Key
In essence, to prevent hot flashes you’re going to have to create a conscious, healthy keto-alkaline lifestyle, combined with good rest, intermittent fasting, the right supplements and superfoods.
I know that it is not easy.
We have so much going on in our lives, and now we have to spend all this time preparing these special meals, making sure we get this and that in our diets — oh, and don’t stress out! Right!
Well, I want to share with you my yummy superfood combo that will make you feel better and yes, hotter, but not in flashes!
I am grateful that I sometimes have the time to cut and prepare a superfood combo for my family and I. However, I also know that we don’t always have the time to prepare a balanced meal. This was a point of concern for me, so much so I made this my next mission!
A quick side note: To be honest, even though I know maca is so good for me, I really can’t stand the way it tastes.
So, I now had two missions — to find a way to easily prepare a healthy meal and to make maca taste good. I used my scientific and culinary skills and learned that I could combine powerful superfoods together.
Turns out that combining superfoods like green tea, turmeric and other healing ingredients with maca not only improved their taste but also supercharged their effect naturally!
I knew just how beneficial this superfood combo was, so I worked with a leading supplement manufacturer here in the USA to create Mighty Maca® Plus. I’ve been drinking it for years. I’ve recommended it to my patients, and now doctors around the world recommend Mighty Maca® Plus to their patients too.
Mighty Maca® Plus with 40+ superfood ingredients (including turmeric, flaxseed, cinnamon, extracts of grape seed, green tea, milk thistle, mangosteen, and blueberry) helps to increase stamina, boost energy, fight inflammation and decreases hot flashes. It also assists with mood disorders, PMS, menopause symptoms and so much more!
It’s dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, non-GMO, gluten-free, preservative-free, with no artificial colorings or flavorings! On top of it all, it tastes really good!
Your body might be changing, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through that change or put things in your body that might cause negative side-effects. I would love for you to be able to trust your body again. It’s not too late.