Menopause: A low-fat, plant-based diet can reduce hot flashes and promote weight loss

Menopause: A low-fat, plant-based diet can reduce hot flashes and promote weight loss
  • Hot flashes are one of the common discomforts of menopause, but new research suggests that changing your diet can help alleviate them.
  • Researchers found that a low-fat, plant-based diet high in soy products was as effective as hormone replacement therapy in reducing hot flashes.
  • participants who followed the diet protocol also She experienced weight loss.
  • These results suggest the possibility of dietary modification as a first-line treatment for hot flashes.
  • Further research is needed to understand the role of diet in hot flashes and other symptoms associated with menopause.
Dietary changes during menopause are as effective as hormone replacement therapy and can treat hot flashes without the health risks.

This is according to new research recently published in the journal Menopause by the North American Menopausal Society.

Researchers found that a participant who adhered to a strict plant-based diet high in soy had an 88% reduction in symptoms. In contrast, hormone replacement therapy is associated with a 70-90% reduction in hot flashes.

In addition, the participant lost an average of 8 pounds of overall weight over her 12 weeks.

"Our findings mirror the diets of places in the world where low-fat, plant-based diets, including soy, are more common, and where postmenopausal women experience fewer symptoms, such as pre-Western Japan and the present-day Yucatan Peninsula. Principal Investigator Dr. Neil Barnard, Chair of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Care and Associate Professor of Medicine at George Washington University School of Medicine, said in a press release:

Treat hot flashes with a plant-based diet
In this study, researchers followed 84 postmenopausal participants who experienced two or more hot flashes per day for 12 weeks.

Subjects adhered to a plant-based diet rich in soy products by adopting the following dietary changes:

  • avoiding animal products
  • reducing total fat intake
  • one serving of soy daily Add
Despite the reduction in hot flashes, researchers aren't entirely sure why this particular nutritional protocol was so effective. combination was found to be the key to reducing the symptoms of hot flashes.

It's also important to note that in this study, participants with fewer hot flashes ate significantly less fat and more fiber, and did so in just 12 weeks on a soy-focused vegan diet.

Furthermore, although this study neither proves nor refutes that eating meat causes hot flashes, it does show that a plant-based diet low in fat and high in soy products reduces hot flashes and contributes to weight loss. increase.

Diet changes and menopause: what experts think
Amy Bragagnini, MS, RD, CSO, female dietitian and oncology specialist at Lacks Cancer Center at Trinity Health in Michigan and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics He told Healthline that he wants to try anything to improve his health. Reduce hot flashes.

"Clients tell us that hot flashes interfere with their sleep, cause irritability, and they sweat profusely at work," she said. These include:
  • Increase intake of whole soy foods
  • Increase consumption of fermented soy products
  • Limit processed foods
Reduce alcohol, caffeine and sugar (can adversely affect sleep cycle) A)
Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RDN, nutritionist and author of "Skinny Liver", menopause and associated hot flashes may alter vascular function in some people.

"This is one reason why postmenopausal women are often at higher risk of heart disease than premenopausal women," Kirkpatrick told Healthline.

Nutritionist Julie Cunningham, RD, explains that female clients with type 2 diabetes also experience menopausal symptoms, and soy products (and legumes such as chickpeas) He explained that the isoflavones it contains are similar to estrogen in the body.

More research is needed to understand how soy isoflavones affect menopausal symptoms, but Cunningham offered a possible explanation. It's rich in estrogen circulating in the blood, making hot flashes unnecessary," she told Healthline.

Don't eat meat during menopause?
A new study suggests that a plant-based diet may reduce hot flashes, but nutrition experts say that doesn't mean you should avoid animal foods entirely.

“Red meat can be a rich source of protein and vitamins [and] minerals,” says Braganini.

At the same time, you don't have to include meat in every meal, and increasing your intake of plant-based foods has many health benefits. I recommend switching to vegetarian food once or twice.

“In order to maintain a good relationship with food, instead of focusing on 'good' or 'bad', ask yourself whether this food is helping or hindering my health and menopausal symptoms. You have to," Kirkpatrick said.

Making the shift to plant-based eating 
There are simple ways to adjust your diet every day to improve your health and potentially alleviate menopausal symptoms.

According to Kirkpatrick, healthy dietary changes can help improve:
  • Hormone Imbalance
  • Cholesterol Levels
  • Sleep
  • Bone Health
, said that you can work on replacing animal protein with plant-based protein.
She added that a moderate carbohydrate approach may help regulate blood sugar levels after menopause. please,” she said.

How to get more soy in your diet
Studies show that eating soy, which is high in estrogen, may reduce hot flashes and even provide additional health benefits.

As a rule of thumb, choose the least processed soy products possible. You may also prefer soy products labeled as non-GMO. It is recommended that you first consult with your doctor or licensed dietician if you are suffering.

Edamame (soybeans)

Braganini suggests adding edamame as an appetizer to any meal.

"This delicious green vegetable isn't particularly intimidating, so your family is more likely to try it," says Braganini.

Steam the edamame with the shell on and sprinkle with salt.

Soy milk

Braganini says soy milk is another great option for incorporating soy into your diet.

"Soy milk mixed with fresh or frozen fruit and blended together makes for a wonderfully delicious smoothie," she said.

Soy nuts

Soy nuts are a great option for a quick high-protein snack.

"I keep soy nuts on my desk and eat them often in the afternoon when I'm craving something high in protein and fiber," said Braganini.

A new study suggests that a low-fat, plant-based product with a soy focus may relieve hot flashes associated with menopause and lead to weight loss.

However, positive results Nonetheless, larger studies are needed to determine whether this nutritional protocol can be considered an alternative to first-line treatment or hormone replacement therapy. If you are interested in switching to a diet that is more plant-based, it may help to gradually reduce your intake of meat products rather than making the all-at-once switch.

“Most of the take-home messages are: 'More vegetables.' Eat and Lose Fat,'" says Cunningham.

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