Two for One: How Weight Loss May Ease Hot Flashes
They say it gets harder to lose weight once you’ve reached a certain age. And while it may be tempting to just accept those extra pounds as an inevitable result of life after 30, science has given us yet another great motivation for weight loss and a healthy diet.
The Women’s Health Initiative recently conducted a study of almost 17,500 postmenopausal US women, ages 50 to 79 years, to determine the effect a low-fat diet would have on vasomotor symptoms (VMS; ie, hot flashes or night sweats) in postmenopausal women. The women in the study were not using hormone replacement therapy.
The results were encouraging. Women who lost 10 pounds or approximately 10% of their total body weight experienced fewer hot flashes and night sweats. By eating a low-fat diet high in whole grains, fruit and vegetables, the women in the study were able to significantly reduce the occurrance and intensity of hot flashes after a year on the program.
Dr. Bette Caan,senior author of the study, illustrated how the weight loss could affect these symptoms.
“Since most women tend to gain weight with age, weight loss or weight gain prevention may offer a viable strategy to help eliminate hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause,” said Bette Caan, DrPH, a research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research and the senior author of the study.
She explained that greater body fat provides insulation that may hinder heat loss, and hot flashes and night sweats provide a way to dissipate that heat.
In addition to alleviating menopausal discomfort, reducing your excessing body weight offers a host of health benefits.
- Revised vitality
- Increased resistance to disease
- Reduced vulnerability to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease
- Improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Reduced symptoms of stress and depression
In addition to a healthier diet, incorporating regular activity and stress management into your lifestyle can help you navigate the often choppy waters of menopause and perimenopause.
If you would like to learn more about a holistic, common-sense approach to weight and stress reduction, as well as increased vitality and well-being, please feel free to contact us.
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