This Diet Change Can Reduce Hot Flushes During Menopause by 95%

Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms of the menopause.

Hot flushes are one of the most common and difficult symptoms of menopause. Described by NHS Inform as, “short, sudden feelings of heat, usually in the face, neck and chest, which can make your skin red and sweaty”.

Now only can these flushes can cause discomfort and frequent sleep disruption, but can also contribute to insomnia and fatigue.

People struggling with hot flushes are advised by Mayo Clinic to keep their home cool, limit caffeine and spicy foods, quit smoking, and lose weight to attempt to curb the more severe sensations of hot flushes but according to a new study in Complementary Therapies In Medicine, hot flushes can almost be eradicated by around 95% by simply following a vegan diet.

How a vegan diet may help with hot flushes

In the study, Director of Clinical Research Dr. Hana Kahleova and her team of researchers used data from 84 postmenopausal people that reported two or more moderate to severe hot flushes a day.

The participants were asked to follow either a low-fat vegan diet that included a half-cup of cooked soybeans per day, or just to continue with their diet for 12 weeks.

Additionally, a subset of 11 participants were additionally asked to provide stool samples for a gut microbiome analysis both before the study and after being on a vegan diet for 12 weeks.

At the end of the study, scientists found changes in the species of bacteria in the gut microbiome of participants that followed the vegan diet. Some of these changes included more of the bacteria Porphyromonas and Prevotella corporis — both of which were linked to a reduction in severe hot flushes.

Overall, researchers found that study participants who consumed the low-fat vegan diet with added soy decreased their overall hot flushes by 95% in comparison to those that continued with their usual diet.

Researchers also reported the vegan diet led to a 96% decrease in moderate to severe hot flashes, as well as a reduction in daytime hot flashes by 96% and nighttime hot flashes by 94%.

Speaking on the research to Medical News Today, Dr. Khaleova said, “A vegan diet with soybeans is rich in fibre and compounds called isoflavones, both of which help increase the abundance of gut bacteria that fight inflammation and stabilise oestrogen levels, which helps to fight hot flashes. Avoiding meat also helps to decrease the amount [of] gut bacteria that are linked to increased inflammation.”

Further research necessary

Medical News Today also spoke to Monique Richard, a registered dietitian nutritionist about the study and she said, “It is a very small sample size to pull from and make a conclusive statement/headline. It would be important to see this study replicated in larger sample sizes.”

She added that previous research shows isoflavones in soy may contribute to a reduction in hot flashes possibly from the oestrogen-like constituents of the plant, but they are not able to ascertain direct cause and effect and some of the studies are inconsistent and inconclusive.

Health benefits of a vegan diet

Before making any dietary changes, it’s essential to speak to your GP about the change to be certain that it’s the right choice for you and your body.

However, if you are considering trying the switch, some of the health benefits of a vegan diet, according to BBC Good Food are:

  • may be heart-healthy
  • may lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • may support blood sugar control
  • may reduce the risk of diabetes complications
  • may reduce the risk of certain cancers
  • may be beneficial for gut health
  • may be anti-inflammatory
  • may support healthy skin
  • can be a very nutritious way of eating