But …..does it have to be this way?
To answer this question, it is helpful to first understand the anatomy of a hot flash.
Hormone imbalance causes hot flashes
Hormone imbalance between estrogen and progesterone during menopause, disturbs a part of your brain … the hypothalmus … responsible for regulating your core body temperature. With this function upset, it constantly tries to lower your body temperature even though you’re not dangerously overheating. Mechanisms like hot flashes and sweats that would normally be reserved for bringing down your temperature when you have a fever, now come into play many times a day …. even when your body temperature is within normal range and you don’t have a fever.
It may be helpful to think of the relationship between the temperature regulation function of your hypothalamus and your body, as being similar to a thermostat and a house. If the thermostat on a house is constantly changed, or someone is frequently moving it up and down, the air conditioner of the house will constantly be going on and off. This is similar to what is happening in your body; the thermostat in your brain is bouncing up and down.
Given that the regulation of your core body temperature is awry because of your hormone imbalance, your diet very possibly is causing a further disturbance in your body’s thermostat. Unless your diet consists mostly of eating real food, the food you eat is exacerbating your hot flashes. Real food does not need labels – ie – unprocessed meat, fish, milk, eggs, legumes, fruits, grains and vegetables.
Your diet may also be causing hot flashes
If real food is not the basis of your diet, you are consuming a lot of processed food. Processed food is natural food that has been stripped of its nutritious, raw and fibrous elements to give it a longer shelf life. All foods in cans, plastic containers or plastic packaging are processed foods. The majority of the shelves of your supermarket contain processed food. When you fill your shopping cart, chances are that it contains mostly processed food.
Sugar is used heavily in processed foods to make them taste better. Sugar has been added to 75% of the 600,000 processed foods available in supermarkets in the US. It is found in breads, cereals, soups, crackers, hot dogs, salami and other packaged meats, juices, sodas, sports drinks, peanut butter, ketchup, mayonnaise, and salad dressings to name a few foods ….. not to mention cakes, cookies, candy and a Starbucks cappuccino.
Reading food labels will help you find out how much added sugar is in the foods you eat. The names of added sugar on food labels include
- Brown sugar
- Corn sweetener
- Corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrates
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Invert sugar
- Malt sugar
- Raw sugar
There are 3 forms of sugar. The form of sugar you may consume as table sugar, cane sugar, or white sugar is called sucrose. Then there is glucose. This type of sugar comes from eating carbohydrates such as such as rice, pasta, grain, and potatoes. Your digestion process converts these foods into glucose. Lastly there is fructose. The main food source for fructose is fruit.
Your brain requires a particular type of sugar to function efficiently … glucose. Your brain functions optimally when it receives a steady flow of glucose – ie – like when your diet is based around real food – unprocessed sources of protein and complex carbohydrates. It does not function well when your diet is filled with added sugar – sucrose and forms of fructose. They cause spikes in glucose, which triggers other responses in your body to try to regulate your glucose levels. These other responses bring about a rise in body temperature. A rise in body temperature means more hot flashes.
An effective way to reduce your hot flashes is to give your brain what it needs to function efficiently … a steady flow of glucose. You do this by following a diet that is based upon real food and eliminating processed food from your diet. This will also help to re-balance your estrogen and progesterone levels, which will reduce your hot flashes even further.