Foods that Trigger Hot Flashes

January 25, 2023

Foods that Trigger Hot Flashes

People who don’t have hot flashes don’t understand how uncomfortable they can be. Suddenly without warning, a surge of heat overcomes your body, causing pinpricks of sweat to break out. You could be in a meeting, standing in line at the grocery store, or about to indulge in a romantic dinner, and you’re drenched in sweat. Hot flashes really don’t care about your social life. 

Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause and a direct result of low estrogen levels. Yet diet and exercise can play a significant role in the intensity of hot flashes. Here are some foods that trigger hot flashes and how to treat them. 

What are hot flashes?

Before diving into what foods trigger hot flashes, precisely understanding what a hot flash is is essential. A hot flash is a sudden spark of heat that instantly spreads all over your body. The first time you have one, you think the heater must be on, or you’re dressed too warmly. They aren’t painful but rather deeply uncomfortable, embarrassing, and alarming. And you can have them throughout the day for weeks on end. Then, the discomfort becomes a daily painful experience you want to stop. 

Besides the sweat, your face becomes flushed and feels hot and clammy to touch. After the heat subsides you can be left feeling clammy or cold. It’s common for women to change clothing. Hot flashes come from low estrogen levels and if not treated make it hard for women to enjoy life. Below are some foods to avoid and trigger hot flashes. 

Processed Foods

This one won’t come as a surprise —processed food. While the surge of fat and grease of your favorite cheeseburger may make your tastebuds do a happy dance, they may cause a hot flash. Unfortunately, processed foods include everything from your favorite breakfast cereals to meat products like bacon and sausage. 

In all honesty, most of the items in the center aisles of most grocery stores are packed with processed food choices. They can trigger a hot flash and result in weight gain, heartburn, and other adverse health effects. Processed foods can also increase the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular concerns. So, eliminate processed foods to decrease hot flashes and improve your overall health. 

Sugary Snacks

Like processed foods, sugary snacks can trigger a hot flash. Nowadays, it can be hard to eliminate sugar entirely from one’s diet. Literally, sugar is added to so many things you’d least suspect and comes in many different names. 

  • Corn sweetener
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Honey
  • Raw sugar
  • Sugar molecules (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, etc.)
  • Molasses 
  • Syrup

There’s also a difference between added sugars, natural sugars, and total sugars on the product label. Added sugars are the ones listed above, while natural sugars are ones naturally occurring in the ingredients. Dairy is an excellent example of things that have natural sugars in them. 

Total sugars are a combination of added and natural sugars together. So it’s essential to check the label before indulging in a sugary snack to see how much sugar you’ll absorb. Sugar spikes your blood sugar, giving you a lovely high, but it can trigger a hot flash. 

Caffeinated Drinks

The morning cup of Joe may be a ritual not to be messed with by anyone, but caffeine may cause you to have a pesky hot flash. But caffeine isn’t just limited to coffee (as you know); it can be in hot tea, soda, and energy drinks. Caffeine can also be hard to quit because your body becomes accustomed to it, and reducing or eliminating coffee can cause withdrawal symptoms. 

The biggest one is headaches. You can start by reducing the amount slowly or go cold turkey and endure the headache for a day or two. The intensity of the headache can depend on how much caffeine you consume daily. 

Fried Foods

Who doesn’t love French fries or jalapeno poppers and anything dipped in batter and fried to crispy yumminess? Fried foods, like processed foods, are almost like comfort foods for many people. But fried foods not only make you fat, but they can also trigger a hot flash. 

It’s best to stay away from these foods overall but if you need further motivation, know that by doing so, you won’t suddenly be overcome with a heat surge. 

Hot Beverages

This tip is logical once you think about it. Hot flashes make your temperature rise, and so can hot beverages. It’s like drinking coffee outside in 100-degree heat. Hot beverages increase your core temperature and may even trigger a hot flash. So, it’s best to limit the consumption of hot drinks when it comes to hot flashes. 

Alcoholic Beverages

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the consumption of alcohol for women is increasing, and how alcohol affects women’s bodies is different than it is for men. For example, biological differences between men and women make it easier for men to absorb alcohol faster and process it quicker. 

This means that women generally can drink less, and it takes longer for the alcohol to leave the body. All of which can have profound chemical changes that affect hormone levels. In turn, it can trigger a hot flash. Excessive alcohol consumption can result in an alcohol disorder or addiction as well. For many reasons, including fighting menopausal symptoms, limiting alcohol is always advised. 

Spicy Foods

For some people reaching for the Picante sauce is like going for the salt. If the dish isn’t spicy, it may not be worth eating. Plus, so many tasty cuisines around the world inject their dishes with chilies and other heat-inducing ingredients. In a Thai restaurant, the waiter usually asks you what heat level you can handle. But like hot beverages, spicy foods may trigger a hot flash and cause your body to go into heat overload. So be nice to your vessel and pass on the hot sauce. 

How to Treat Hot Flashes?

While avoiding foods that trigger hot flashes will help, estrogen hormone replacement using a high-quality cream can be the most effective. Transdermal estrogen creams add the missing hormone to stop hot flashes at the source. Hormone supplementation is the number one treatment for menopausal symptoms and may be the answer you need.