Foods for Hot Flashes

Hot flashes suck, it’s hard to understand if you’ve never experienced one before. They can stop you in your tracks or send you running home for a change of dry clothes. If you’ve been dealing with hot flashes, whether from menopause or other hormonal imbalances, then you’re probably desperate to find something that works.

Luckily you’re in the right place, because I treat them all the time, in people of all ages. In many cases diet and herbs can majorly improve hot flashes and hormonal imbalances if you know what to look for, I’ll explain how!

Hot Flashes + Yin Deficiency


In Chinese medicine, hot flashes are typically associated with Yin deficiency (as in the balance of Yin and Yang.) Yin is the more feminine, cooling, calming, energy of the body. Yin is linked to estrogen, so Yin deficiency is typically linked to some degree of estrogen deficiency.

Therefore, eating Yin tonic foods and herbs (and avoiding foods that deplete Yin) can regulate this imbalance and treat hot flashes. Often Yin tonic foods are also estrogenic foods, and the same is true about Yin depleting foods - they can often cause imbalances of estrogen.

Eat More Cooling/Yin Tonic Foods + Herbs


Some of the most Yin tonic foods and herbs are:

  • Sweet potato and other root vegetables (such as rutabaga, turnips, carrots, parsnips, etc.)

  • Nuts & seeds (particularly walnuts or black sesame seeds)

  • Mung beans, mung bean sprouts, kidney beans, black beans, soy beans & soy products (just make sure soy is always organic and non-GMO, soy is easiest to digest when it has been sprouted or fermented, such as in tempeh, nato, miso, or tofu)

  • Wheat germ & wheat germ oil

  • Barley & millet

  • Fish & fish oil

  • Seaweeds & microalgaes (such as spirulina)

  • All types of melon

  • Cucumbers

  • Most berries, especially goji berries

  • Aloe juice (may cause digestive upset in some people)

  • Shatavari, He Shou Wu, and Vitex aka chasteberry (I usually recommend my Kidney Jing Tonic and/or Simply Vitex herbal tinctures for my patients with hot flashes)

In Chinese medicine cool foods don’t necessarily have to be raw vegetables. In fact, too many raw vegetables, salads, smoothies, and juices can be considered too cold for the body to digest and assimilate properly. It’s usually considered better for the body to lightly cook most of your foods - so steam, boil, or sauté.

The same goes for beverages, when they are iced and very cold, that can be too harsh on digestion. It’s generally recommended to enjoy mostly room temp or slightly warmed beverages. Especially because liquids are Yin in nature, so staying hydrated and eating liquid-filled/soupy foods are great for this pattern.

Eat Less Hot Foods


If we’re going to put effort into cooling the body down, then we’ve also got to watch out for foods that will only fuel the fire. This includes foods that are cooked at really high temps, such as foods that have been deep fried, barbecued, or roasted well-done. But hot foods also include foods that are “hot” in nature, such as:

  • Spicy foods

  • Lamb, beef, or bison; even chicken can be too warm for some people

  • Processed foods or ingredients, especially with artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, pesticides, or other additives

  • Animal products with added hormones and/or antibiotics

  • Alcohol

  • Coffee

  • Cigarettes (not technically a food, but they create heat within the body much like hot foods)

  • Garlic & onions (a small amount is typically okay, but large amounts may create heat)

What else?

In some cases diet alone may not be enough to calm hot flashes. In addition to the herbs listed above I typically recommend working with a trained herbalist who can prescribe custom herbs for your unique pattern. The same is true with acupuncture, it can be quite effective if you work with a licensed practitioner who can balance your hormones with proper treatment.

I treat hot flashes quite often, if you’d like to work together to nourish your Yin and cool off your hot flashes, send me a message or schedule an appointment.