A new study, published by the North American Menopause Society in the journal Menopausefound that a dietary intervention is almost as effective (88%) as hormone replacement therapy (70–90%) in reducing menopausal hot flashes, without the associated health risks.
The WAVS trial, the Women’s Vasomotor Symptom Relief Study, found that a plant-based diet rich in soy reduced moderate-to-severe hot flashes by 88% and helped women lose, on average, eight pounds in 12 weeks.
“We still don’t fully understand why this combination works, but it seems that these three elements are key: avoiding animal products, reducing fat, and adding a serving of soy,” explains lead researcher Neal Barnard, MD, chair of the Committee. of Physicians and adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine. “Our results reflect diets in parts of the world, such as pre-Westernized Japan and today’s Yucatan Peninsula, where a low-fat, plant-based diet, including soy, is prevalent and where postmenopausal women experience fewer symptoms.”
The study published today is the second phase of a two-part trial, the first of which was also published in Menopause in 2021. The fall timing of the first trial raised the question of whether this symptomatic improvement could be attributed to cooler temperatures. But women who started the study when the weather warmed up in the spring had the same benefit, ruling out the effect of outside temperature.
“These new results suggest that a change in diet should be considered as a first-line treatment for bothersome vasomotor symptoms, including night sweats and hot flashes,” explains Dr. Barnard.
The study included 84 postmenopausal women who reported two or more hot flashes per day. They were randomly assigned to an intervention group, which consisted of a low-fat vegan diet that included half a cup of cooked soybeans daily, or a control group that made no dietary changes for 12 weeks.
“This study demonstrates the efficacy of a dietary intervention for menopausal symptoms,” explains Dr. Barnard. “In addition, it is precisely the diet that would be expected to reduce the health problems of many women who reach menopause: an increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer and memory problems.”
Hot flashes are not only uncomfortable, they can also be hard on the heart
Neal D. Barnard et al, A dietary intervention for vasomotor symptoms of menopause: a randomized controlled trial, Menopause (2022). DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000002080
Neal D. Barnard et al, Women’s Vasomotor Symptom Relief Study (WAVS): A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Whole Soy and Plant-Based Diet for Postmenopausal Women, Menopause (2021). DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001812
Provided by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Citation: Study Shows Certain Foods Reduce Hot Flashes Associated With Menopause By 88% (Oct 19, 2022) Accessed Oct 19, 2022 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-foods-hot -menopause.html
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