Health Update: Plant Based Diets Lower Hot Flashes

Hello again:

I hope that this new year is treating you right, and here is some really great news about hot flashes. A recent study found that the combination of a plant-based food plan, along with soy, avoiding animal products, and reducing fat led to a reduction in hot flashes as effective as hormone replacement therapy. This is important because traditional hormone replacement therapy has some dangerous risk factors while this approach to hot flashes is not only NOT risky but offers significant advantages such as weight loss, lower cholesterol, and improved overall health. Here are some of the insights from the study:


  • A new study suggests that a low fat, plant-based diet rich in soy is as effective as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for reducing hot flashes.
  • The 12-week trial found that a plant-rich diet reduced moderate to severe hot flashes by 88%.
  • The diet may have also helped women lose 8 pounds on average and improved their quality of life.
  • Some experts say the study isn’t robust enough and that HRT is still the best option for reducing severe hot flashes. (Dr. S: See comment below as to why this may not be exactly accurate. **)
  • More research is needed to determine the impact of diet on reducing menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. 

Bottom Line:

If you are experiencing mild to severe hot flashes, you can seek relief with your daily food plan. Going plant based ( ) is as easy as simply focusing on foods that are unprocessed and mostly from plants. Here is a key takeaway from the study:

“We do not fully understand yet why this combination works but it seems that these three elements are key— avoiding animal products, reducing fat, and adding a serving of soybeans. Our results mirror the diets of places in the world, like pre-Westernized Japan and modern-day Yucatán Peninsula, where a low fat, plant-based diet including soybeans is more prevalent and where postmenopausal women experience fewer symptoms.”

“For estrogen alone, the listed risks include endometrial cancer, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, and dementia. For estrogen and progestin combinations, the risks include breast cancer, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, dementia, and myocardial infarction. A low-fat vegan diet plus soybeans is safe and effective, and all the ‘side-effects’ are good ones [such as] weight loss and lower cholesterol.” -Dr.Ruiz, OB-GYN


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