Hot Flushes and Cold Therapy. What does the Science tell us?
Reflections and learnings from menopause community and supplement range founder, Rebekah Brown.
Words | Rebekah Brown
It’s not all about hot flashes…but it’s not a bad place to start.
It can feel unhelpful to start a conversation about menopause focused on the topic of heat! Hot flashes, along with mood swings are the symptoms that have traditionally been used to parody the lifestage; to make light of its impact. And yet, 80% of us will experience hot flashes at some point in our menopause transition. The medical community is not entirely clear on why we experience them- but it’s likely to be due fluctuations in hormones and the impact this has on our brains and, specifically, our hypothalamus, which regulates our body’s temperature.
In summer, hot flashes can seem more troubling and may occur more frequently, as our stressed bodies attempt to deal with the external stress of a warmer climate. But many other factors can act as a trigger. From anxiety to uncomfortable social situations, from spicy foods to caffeine and alcohol, sleeplessness and fatigue -learning what may lead to a flash, and also what may help ease the experience is key.
If you can’t stand the heat…get into the kitchen.
There are no silver bullets in menopause. But we know from our own research and from work with the leading menopause doctors, nutritionists, naturopaths, dieticians and herbalists, that food is a critical foundation layer. We’ve touched on spicy food, alcohol and caffeine as potential triggers for hot flashes, but what can you put on your plate to balance your body and improve your vasomotor systems?
- Beans mean business: Foods with high levels of phytoestrogens may help mimic biological oestrogen and therefore keep our bodies balanced and our hormones happy. Soya beans are a great source and also a powerful plant-based protein. Great as a snack, and really easy to chuck into sauces and salads.
- Love flax: Often hidden in the back of our store cupboard, flax seeds are a powerful source of lignans as well as omega and fibre, and researchers believe that regular consumption can help with hot flashes.
- Cacao as medicine: It’s official, chocolate is good for you! Well…its purest form is. 100% raw cacao has over 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries and a high concentration of magnesium which can help reduce hot flashes and aid us in a good night’s sleep. Sprinkle cacao nibs onto your porridge and breakfast bowls, chuck into your bakes - and find a good 70% bean to bar chocolate and indulge.
Or try a discovery pouch of MPowder Peri-Boost which takes all these superheroes, and blends with 20+ additional wholefood-led ingredients to make it as easy as possible to nourish your body and mind with a single, daily scoop.
The power of treating fire with ice.
There is also a fascinating body of research picking up pace exploring the impact of the cold on our hormones in menopause. From wild swimming to the morning shower, we’re learning the cold can help with depression, anxiety, focus...and hot flashes. Topical tools can make a huge difference too. Research shows that cryotherapy can help with regulating blood circulation, stimulate blood circulation and immediately lower the temperature of our skin, having a big impact on how we feel.
I have made the OLIVIEREWILSON Cryo Sticks part of my daily routine - and look forward to my morning blast of ice on the hottest summer days. They tighten my skin, make up for sticky nights with little sleep, and soothe my mind. They’re also great in-the-moment tools when you feel the creep of a hot flash start in your breast bone.
MPowder have generously gifted the OLIVIEREWILSON community a discount off their single 900g Peri-Boost and Meno-Boost pouches throughout August 2022. Simply use code Oliviere20 at checkout to redeem your 20% off*.