Hot flashes are the worst.

They can come at any time, when you least expect it. For some women, they are so bad that they tend to avoid dating altogether.

But for others, eating triggers them. And not just certain foods. Almost each and every type, from every food group, can cause some kind of hot flash reaction.

Mealtime becomes a new form of torture.

These women have to go on a starvation diet. Certainly, eating out in social settings becomes forbidden. But even meals at home become something to fear on a daily basis.

(And let me tell you, if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, starvation is NOT the way to go. Any weight you lose will only come back eventually, doubled. Deprivation diets never work.)

So how do you go back to eating without the torture of hot flashes? And what causes hot flashes after eating?

As a woman’s estrogen level drops during perimenopause, her internal thermostat goes off. Certain foods, such as spicy foods, alcohol, and coffee, dilate blood vessels and stimulate nerve endings, causing hot flashes. Dramatic spikes in blood sugar levels after a sugary snack can also cause hot flashes.

Not everyone will react the same way to all foods. But there are certain foods that are more likely to cause hot flashes than others. To alleviate symptoms, you will want to avoid the following foods:


Caffeine (coffee, in particular)

Excess sugar

Refined carbohydrates

Spicy food

Meat (especially red meat)

Dairy products

Relieving hot flashes is not as difficult as you might think. It really is about eating the right foods and taking the right supplements to balance hormones.

In addition to avoiding the foods mentioned above, you’ll want to add plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to your diet. The phytoestrogens found in fermented soybeans are also great for relieving hot flashes, as are flax seeds.

During the perimenopausal years, estrogen levels begin to drop. In an ideal world, that decline is gradual and the symptoms are manageable. Sure you may experience some hot flashes as a result of decreased estrogen levels, but they are nothing you cannot handle.

Unfortunately, that is not the case for many of us. The symptoms we experience during the perimenopausal years can be numerous and quite serious. Some women spend those years before menopause in agony as their hormones plummet and fluctuate dramatically.

Why is this the case?

Really a combination of factors. Today’s women are exposed to more toxins and more stress than ever. These toxins, or xenohormones as they are called, have a negative impact on our hormones just like stress. Those two factors, plus a poor diet, can greatly influence our estrogen and progesterone levels.

The good news is that by changing your diet, reducing your exposure to hormone-disrupting toxins, and managing stress, you may experience fewer perimenopausal symptoms. Even certain supplements can have a positive impact and help alleviate your worst hot flashes.