According to a recent study, women who are adept at eating a soy-rich plant-based diet are able to enjoy the perks of fewer impacts of menopause on health.
The Connection Between Hot Flash Symptoms and Nutrition
Medical health practitioners who are associated with Healthwire said that some of the common hot flashes symptoms are night sweats, blood pressure fluctuations, and hot flashes. Dr. Ruiz who was not connected with the research said that the changes or these symptoms arose because there are functional changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. This is mainly because these areas are what will generate the sex hormone secretions in the body.
The Hypothalamus which is located in the central part of the brain is necessary for thermoregulation. The change in the hormone levels during the phase of menopause often leads to major disruptions in the hypothalamus. Hot flashes will also occur when the hypothalamus tries to reset or resonate with this temperature difference.
The Effects of a Plant-Based Diet
The research group consisted of women who were between the age group of 40 to 65 and who had undergone menopause. The initial study area consisted of 1,662 respondents and only 71 of those stayed for the final analysis. There was also an intervention group that was subjected to almost half a cup of cooked and non-genetically modified soybeans almost every day a week. There was also a control group that was subjected to no change in dietary plans
Only vitamin B12 supplements were allowed and neither a change in medication nor any else exercise regime was requested.
Why there is a Need to Limit Healthy Fats?
The study is actually inspired by a Japanese diet in which there is a special emphasis on the consumption of plant-based foods such as soy products or those things that are low in sodium.
According to Dr. Barnard, the given below is the reason for limiting healthy oils and fats.
“The fat in nuts and avocados is healthier than the fat in dairy products and meat. The former is low in saturated fat, and the latter is loaded with it. But we often reduce fat of all kinds in our research studies. Oils and fats — ‘good’ or ‘bad’ — tend to interfere with weight loss [and] loss of excess weight seems to help with hot flashes.”
“Oils and fats modify estrogen activity. During the study, we did find that those women who carefully avoided oily foods seemed to have faster benefits,”
Limitations to this Study
One of the major things that were limiting the study was its cohort design. According to Dr. Ruiz, there was a need for a double-blind study “really the only way to come up with an observation that may be medically meaningful. A healthy diet will help you overall because it will make [you] feel better in general.”
The small sample of this study is one of the reasons why there is a huge possibility of a placebo effect. The researchers were admitting that there can be a placebo effect causing an impact on the findings.
“When the results are very strong and consistent, a smaller sample can prove the effect,” Dr. Barnard said.
“In this case, the 88% drop in moderate-to-severe hot flashes is enormous, and statistically, there is less than 1 [in] 1000 that this is due to chance. Our sample of 84 women was more than double the size needed to prove the effect.”
The Future Prospects of the Study
The future prospects of this study are very enlightening as it can provide easy assessments of the dietary approach and the link between hot flashes. People who are dealing with breast cancer are also suffering from hot flashes with very few options for relief. According to Dr. Barnard “In both cases, a low-fat vegan diet, plus soybeans, would be exactly the diet they should have clinically,”
Dietary Changes Vs Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement theory is considered to be one of the best options for people who are dealing with menopause
“For estrogen alone, the listed risks include endometrial cancer, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, and dementia. For estrogen and progestin combinations, the risks include breast cancer, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, dementia, and myocardial infarction. A low-fat vegan diet plus soybeans is safe and effective, and all the ‘side-effects’ are good ones [such as] weight loss and lower cholesterol.”
– Dr. Ruiz, OB-GYN