Foods that Cause Hot Flashes (You Ate One Today!)

The sparkling clementina mocktail helps you reduce foods that cause hot flashes.

Foods that Cause Hot Flashes (You Ate One Today!)


Can foods cause hot flashes in perimenopause and menopause? Hot flashes are super common during the menopausal transition – 80-85% of us get them. Research suggests hot flashes and night sweats occur when declining estrogen makes the hypothalamus (the body’s thermostat) extra sensitive to changes. It seems that when the hypothalamus perceives the body as too warm, it sets off a chain of events – such that the hot flash ultimately “cools us down” internally. But, here’s the deal, we want to avoid them as they signal broader health issues of which we need to be cognizant. 

During our menopausal transition, the fluctuation and reduction in estrogen also changes our body’s metabolism and makes us more sensitive to sugar, less able to balance it. Alcohol and caffeine contribute to destabilizing our blood sugar, which in turn messes with our hormone levels, and increases the frequency and intensity of our hot flashes. 

Hot flashes are annoying, but should they limit our consumption of some of the foods we love? Recent research shows that women who get hot flashes are at greater risk for cardiovascular illness, osteoporosis, and cognitive challenges. Hot flashes are associated with higher LDL cholesterol, insulin resistance, and hypertension. They should absolutely be considered wake-up calls for self-care! And we should take steps to reduce them. Foods that you likely ate today can play a role, so let’s learn a little more about them.


Many of us love a good drink, and in our adult life it can be a fun way to transition from work-day into play-time. But most of us cannot process alcohol as well as we once did. While alcohol does have the benefit of helping us relax, which is truly important, it adds to blood sugar imbalance and hormonal imbalance, and can increase hot flashes by 50%. 

Alcohol also negatively impacts the metabolism of estrogen, increasing a harmful estrogen metabolite associated with breast cancer. And, just two alcoholic drinks per day can significantly increase our risk of osteoporosis.   

It’s much easier to contemplate limiting or removing alcohol if you have fun alternatives. Picturing standing at a cocktail party with tap water may seem depressing…and it should. But standing at a cocktail party, with your favorite flowing dress and a touch of glitter on your cheeks, holding a Sparkling Clementina Mocktail is a whole other thing. We don’t need to think in terms of deprivation at all. It’s partly about attitude and partly about effort. Put in the time to intentionally make your life healthier, and more exciting! Having a great attitude when you’re out can be intoxicating in its own right!

Back to the Sparkling Clementina… 

Try this one out, people! You can even bring a jar of this mocktail as your gift next time you’re invited out.

Sparkling Clementina

Makes two


1 clementine zested, reserved for garnish
4 clementines juiced
1/2 lemon
1 tsp. coconut crystals
1 can club soda


  1. Put 1/2 tsp. coconut crystals at the bottom of each glass, and then squeeze 1-2 clementines (depending on how citrusy you like it) and the lemon juice over it. Stir well to absorb crystals.
  2. Add ice and club soda to each glass, and garnish with a little clementine zest.

Add skullcap, passionflower or kava kava tincture (according to labels) for extra relaxation!

Here’s another mocktail option that is satisfying and sexy…

Cranberry Ginger Sangria Mocktail contains foods that help you reduce hot flashes

Cranberry Ginger Lime Sangria Mocktail

2 cups unsweetened cranberry juice
1 inch fresh ginger minced
Flesh of 1 lime, skin cut off and cut into rounds
12 oz. Fizzy water
1/2 mango cubed
1/4 cup fresh raspberries
lime rounds


  1. Combine cranberry juice, fresh ginger, and lime flesh in blender and blend until smooth. Store in a glass jar in fridge until ready to use. 
  2. For serving, use one large cube of ice, add mango, lime, and raspberries, pour in about 1/2 cup of cranberry blend, and top off with seltzer water.

And, how about an alternative to hoppy beer? Hops are relaxing herbs that give beer its bitter flavor. They are used in herbal medicine as a treatment for anxiety and insomnia. H2OPS is an acquired taste. But, oh my goodness, once you’ve acquired it, you’ll want it in your life!


Reducing caffeine is another important way to reduce menopausal symptoms. Too much caffeine can leave us feeling anxious, jittery, and uneasy. Caffeine also disregulates our blood sugar, thereby triggering hot flashes and night sweats. (And, we know that just two caffeinated drinks per day can increase our risk for osteoporosis by increasing the amount of calcium excreted in our urine.)

Why not try adding herbal tea to your daily ritual?! This will not only help crowd out the coffee urges, but it will provide you with additional benefits as well. For example, the flavonoids found in teas (including black and green) can improve bone density. Keep in mind that for some women, hot beverages of any kind are a trigger for hot flashes simply because they warm up the body. You folks can drink your healing teas cold.

Teas to try out:

  1. Stinging Nettle Tea
  2. Holy Basil Tea
  3. Green Tea/Matcha

Stinging Nettles

Nettles are at the top of the menopausal list because they are chock full of the minerals and other nutrients critical to staying healthy in these transition years and beyond. They nourish us, strengthen us, and support our changing hormone production. They are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals for bone and heart health, including calcium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D.

With perimenopause, our calcium needs increase to 1200mg/day and 2-4 tea infusions of stinging nettle helps us meet that need. Nettles reduce fatigue and increase our energy at the cellular level due to substantial amounts of iron, chlorophyll and copper. They help us stabilize our blood sugar and support our adrenal function with chromium and manganese. Nourishing our adrenals with nettles can help us produce enough estrogen precursors to keep us looking and feeling supple. Nettles are also full of the vitamins that nourish our immune and nervous systems such as the B vitamins, carotenes, and vitamin C. These are vital to bolstering mood and preventing chronic illness.

Recipe: Stinging Nettle Infusion

An herbal infusion is a large amount of dried, delicate plant parts, the leaves and flowers, brewed for a longer time in order to extract all the incredible medicinal qualities. We nutritionists, herbalists, and health coaches teach that herbal infusions are an inexpensive and effective way of getting bioavailable, bone supportive vitamins and minerals into our diets. 


2-3 tsp of dried, chopped stinging nettle leaves (or try out red clover flowers as an alternative)
1 quart of water
(1 tsp raw honey for taste)


  1. Combine nettle leaves in a one quart Mason jar. 
  2. Fill the jar with boiling water. (Add the honey.) Lightly cover with the jar lid until it cools, then fully put the lid on and refrigerate. Let steep for 4-12 hours in the fridge.
  3. After cooling, the infusion will keep in the fridge for 3 days. You can reheat infusions to enjoy them hot, or in the summer, drink them iced. Enjoy 2-4 cups/day

Here are two stainless steel tea infusers (from iHerb) and from Happy Earth Tea, that can be used as a strainer for the infusion you’ve let sit for hours. 

Holy Basil (or Tulsi)

Holy Basil is an adaptogen which has antidepressant, antioxidant, antiviral, and immune supportive properties. It is also used to improve the body’s stress response, to balance blood sugar and to enhance memory. In perimenopause and menopause, Holy Basil can help reduce brain fog and improve mood. According to ancient ayurvedic texts, the daily use of holy basil is described as helping to maintain the chakras (energy centers) of the body.

Green Tea

Green tea can help us balance our blood sugar. Where coffee and black tea can give us that caffeinated brain boost that comes with the jitters (blood sugar spikes and drops), green tea gives us a balanced, smooth focus. Green tea contains L-theanine, which has been shown to boost neurotransmitters (including serotonin, dopamine, and GABA), and improve learning, memory, mental clarity, calm, restful sleep, and mood. What can be better if you’re having perimenopausal brain fog?!

Green tea is also rich in antioxidants (catechins) and is neuroprotective. It is being studied as a therapeutic agent to slow down the brain aging process. The antioxidant catechins also boost our immune systems, may help us lose weight and protect us against disease. 

Green tea can also help protect us against osteoporosis and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing LDL cholesterol and improving LDL/HDL ratios. It does contain caffeine, but much less than coffee.


Matcha is a green tea powerhouse! Green tea on steroids! Matcha and green tea are both made from the Camellia sinensis plant. However, with matcha, the plant is covered/shaded for the last 2-3 weeks before it is picked, which serves to greatly increase its L-theanine! Also, with matcha, the whole tea leaf is used to make powder, resulting in more concentrated, powerful antioxidants. The Ginger Matcha Latte takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and is a perfect menopausal treat! 

Ginger Matcha Latte is a great drink to help reduce hot flashes (and helps you reduce foods that cause hot flashes)

Recipe: Ginger Matcha Latte 


1 cup oat milk, heated
1/2 tsp. ginger, freshly grated
1 tsp. hemp hearts
1 date pit removed and minced
1/2 tsp. Matcha powder (we love Apothekary Slay All Day Matcha)


Heat oatmilk. Blend all ingredients in a vitamix or good blender. Serve!

*Bonus Tip!

One of the foods that helps reduce hot flashes is maca. Maca, although it’s a strong flavor in its own right, is fairly easy to add to smoothies or other warm drinks. In the Ginger Matcha Latte, you can add 1-3 teaspoons of maca, and then you are both avoiding caffeine AND adding in a hot-flash reducer!  

By consuming 1 Tbsp. of powdered maca per day, women have seen a decrease in nervousness, mild depression, insomnia AND HOT FLASHES. 

Maca is a gentle adaptogen which can increase our production of beneficial estrogen, while at the same time lowering levels of stress hormones. Maca’s nutrients stimulate our hormone-producing glands, working holistically to improve sleep, mood, energy, hot flashes and even libido. If you don’t love maca right away, try it 3 more times. We found that once we acquired the taste, we became obsessed. 
To find out more about Foods that Reduce Hot Flashes, read our blog post, “VSM: Your Ultimate Guide to Vasomotor Symptoms” or check out our programs page.

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