Before dropping another heaped teaspoon of sugar into that cup of tea or coffee, you should stop to consider the effects it might have on your body. If you are currently struggling through the unavoidable phase of life known as “menopause”, then it is likely you are experiencing some fairly uncomfortable and distressing symptoms.
Hot flashes and night sweats are experienced by 50% of women in perimenopause and 75-85% of women in post menopause. Eating and drinking the right foods is imperative to making hot flashes and night sweats, and all other symptoms in addition, as infrequent and undisruptive as possible.
Sugar, eaten in excess, triggers hot flashes and night sweats episodes, so if you often find yourself drenched in sweat with your heart beating faster than normal, you should be altering your diet and cutting back on the foods which contain high amounts of this sweet additive.
What Foods and Drinks Are Unnecessarily High in Sugar?
Fast food and processed foods
Soda drinks and energy drinks
Cookies and candies
Dried fruits and juices
Foods made from white flour
Why Should You Avoid Excess Sugar Consumption?
Before being able to understand why experts advise against high sugar consumption in menopause, you need to know what causes a hot flash or night sweat to occur. A menopausal woman is likely to experience a hot flash or night sweat episode because of the hormone imbalance in the body. When the body has a lower amount of estrogen, the part of the brain which controls temperature, called the hypothalamus, is directly affected. The hypothalamus misunderstood the body's signals and believes the body is overheating so triggers “cooling down” sensors. This is the hot flash, or night sweat. So, what has sugar got to do with this? Read on to learn more.
The Effects of Sugar in Your Body
Sugar can severely affect a menopausal woman's body.
Triggers stress response
An excess amount of sugar causes an artificial high source of sugar, which triggers the body to go into a stress response with the assumption that the body is under stress. The stress response originates in the hypothalamus and causes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, and an increase in blood circulation; all signs of a hot flash or night sweat.
Increases heart rate
As well as the stress response raising the heart beat, sugar has a vasoconstriction effect which causes the heart beat to increase.
Increase body temperature
The increase in sugar increases a woman's blood sugar level which in turn elevates the overall body temperature.
You might ask how these three factors trigger a hot flash or night sweat episodes. When sugar is consumed in high quantities, and the body reacts in the ways listed above, the hypothalamus is confused even more, and therefore sends out more messages to the rest of the body which work to cool you down. And if your heart rate and temperature are already increased, it is no surprise that your body goes in to overdrive and you experience an overwhelming amount of heat at one time. Remember, you are what you eat, so change bad habits.
If you are suffering with hot flashes treatments or night sweats, there are several ways to minimize their effects or even avoid them altogether. Altering your diet and doing more exercise are the least invasive ways and should be tried before opting for hormonal treatments. For more information about hot flashes and its nocturnal cousin, follow this link.
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