What to eat for hot flushes

Few people fancy eating watermelon in the snow. Even warmed up, it wouldn’t really appeal on a frosty morning. It’s also not the convention to drink hot chocolate by the pool in 40⁰ heat, but the watermelon would go down well. It seems we have an instinct for the foods that help us regulate our body temperature.

Chinese medicine pays attention to instinct. Observes it, distils it, tests it out over hundreds of years, and then conveniently writes it down. In this way, Chinese medicine has codified foods that affect our thermostat. Not only that, it has combined this knowledge with an understanding of the various physiological processes that influence body temperature in different ways and at different times in our lives. This means that we know the right foods to nudge our thermostat in the right direction in just the right ways.

And hence, the lists of foods below! The first list includes foods that will help most women stay a little cooler in the midst of the menopause. The second list includes foods that nudge the body in the opposite direction, making hot flushes more likely and more powerful.


Apples, asparagus, black sesame, black soybeans, bone marrow, butter (in small quantities only), caviar, celery, coconut milk, cress, eggs, gooseberries, kidney beans, lentils, lotus seeds, millet, oysters, pork (but not ham!), pig kidneys, pistachios, sesame and raw sesame oil, raw sunflower oil, wholemeal wheat (in limited quantities), wheat germ, wild rice.


  • The usual suspects – refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol

  • Hot foods like chilli and curry

  • Warming spices associated with winter food, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and star anise

  • Some meats, including lamb, mutton, raw ham, salami, venison and goat

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