Shannon12

Foods to Reduce Night Time Hot Flashes

Do you get hot flashes? Are they mostly at night? Let's get you some solutions! Before we do that, just some quick info on why hot flashes occur so we can try to effect the root cause of these hormonal symptoms.  

What causes hot flashes?hot flashes

  As you can imagine it's all about hormonal balance or imbalance. During the menstruating years, your estrogen allows for your ovaries to respond when “luteinizing hormone” (LH) says to release those eggs every month. When it gets to the point where your estrogen levels start dropping (i.e. perimenopause), those ovaries start to simply ignore the LH. And guess what your body's response to this is? It releases adrenaline! This causes your body to heat up for a few minutes until it cools itself back down.  

What triggers hot flashes?

  You may have already identified some of the triggers of your hot flashes.  Perhaps they're related to the food and drinks you consume (i.e. coffee, spicy foods, sugar, citrus fruit, large meals).  Maybe they're related to lifestyle factors (i.e. stress, alcohol, smoking, certain medications or intense exercise). Or maybe they get worse as your weight slowly climbs (higher BMI)?  Did you know that some menopausal women who lost weight were able to eliminate their hot flashes?  Win-win!  

Let's reduce those hot flash triggers naturally, shall we?

 

Food #1 – FlaxFlax Seed

Flax contains a phytoestrogen named “lignan”.  Phyto (plant) estrogens are thought to help our bodies better balance hormones by mimicking them and binding to certain hormone receptors. Flax also contains fiber and omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Both are powerhouses for better gut and heart health, an additional benefit! But here's where it gets interesting. One study looked at thousands of women who experienced at least 14 hot flashes per week.  Researchers had them add four tablespoons of flax meal to their day. After 6 weeks the number of hot flashes they had dropped in half and the intensity of those hot flashes dropped by more than half! Scientists think that's due mostly to the lignan content of flax seeds. That's some super-food! It's also pretty easy to increase your intake of flax.  You can add one or two tablespoons into your smoothie or sprinkle it on just about anything (breakfast, salad, nut butters, etc.).  Not to mention how easy it is to add to your baking.  (Hint, see recipe below). Pro Tip:  Flax seeds should be ground up in order to get most of their benefits because much of the healthy compounds in them are stored beneath the hard, outer shell. 

Food #2 – Water

OK, maybe this is more of a “drink” than a food but hear me out. When you get hot flashes, you're losing more water than you normally would.  Similarly to when you exercise. Make sure you replace those critical fluids by drinking enough water.  A good habit is to make sure that you don’t get to the point of feeling overly thirsty by keeping a bottle, glass, or cup beside you all day long for frequent sips. Water is definitely something to add (or increase) to your daily intake when you're experiencing hot flashes.  

Conclusion:

There are two critical things you should do if you experience hot flashes: increase your intake of both flax and water. Consistency is key. In addition, do things that reduce your stress levels and weight. If weight is an issue and if its off due to Hypothyroidism, check out this article (from an earlier blog post). Remember, these are healing FOODS, the body does not change over night and no one is "textbook" in their symptoms; no two bodies are the same. As a society, we tend to expect a magic pill that will instantly fix our health issue. This is unrealistic and sets us up for failure. On the other hand, if we apply everything out there that is available to help with hot flashes at once, you will not know what is really working for YOU. It is a process and I'm here to help you start and maintain lasting health and lifestyle changes. I imagine that is why you are here. For now, enjoy a delicious recipe and here is a homework assignment for you until next week: closely observe how you feel as you put these changes into action. Yours in Health & Happiness, Shannon  

Recipe (flax): Gluten-Free Oatmeal Muffins

Serves 6GF Muffins
  • 1 banana (very ripe)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 egg (or flax egg substitute)
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar (optional)
  • ½ cup flax meal*
  • ¼ cup oat flour* or other gluten-free flour
  • ½ cup oats (gluten-free)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup nuts or dark chocolate chips (optional)
 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line 6 muffin tins.
  2. Add banana, oil, egg, and sugar (if using) into your blender and blend until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (oats, flax meal, gluten-free flour, and baking soda).
  4. Add wet ingredients into dry and stir. Do not over mix.
  5. Add nuts or dark chocolate chips, if using.
  6. Spoon into muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 min.
  7. Serve & Enjoy!
*Tip:  You can blend flax and/or oats to make your own freshly ground flax meal or oat flour.   References: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-menopause https://authoritynutrition.com/11-natural-menopause-tips/ http://www.precisionnutrition.com/incorporating-flax-into-diet http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-flax  

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Shannon12

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong and it's Making You Fat and Tired

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong and it's Making You Fat and Tired

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere! And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right? Well, maybe… Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat.  This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it's certainly not the “holy grail” of health. Let's focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.  

What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don't get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that's simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone. When the intense focus on how much we ate didn't work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn't we? You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don't forget to also pay attention to what you eat. Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods).  This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness. Every day this is what you should aim for:
  • A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” - you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible.  You don't need to overdo it here.  Just make sure you're getting some high-quality fats.

 

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink. Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought. Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food? When it comes to how you eat let's first look at “mindful eating”. Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe. This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes. This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less.  Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full? Thought so! We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients. And don't forget about drinking your food. Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness. Don't get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack.  And don't gulp it down too fast. If your smoothies don't fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.  

Summary:

Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.   Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie Serves 1 handful spinach 1 tablespoon chia seeds 1 banana 1 chopped peach 1 cup unsweetened almond milk Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend). Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk. Blend, Serve and Enjoy!   Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions.  Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference. Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they  contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.  

References:

  http://summertomato.com/wisdom-wednesday-salad-dressing-is-your-friend   https://authoritynutrition.com/20-reasons-you-are-not-losing-weight/   http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal   http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2  

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