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Hot flashes and night sweats are common during the menopause, with symptoms ranging from a mild feeling of warmth in specific areas, such as the face, chest or back, to an overwhelming heat that passes through the entire body. While some women notice only mild discomfort, others experience distressing symptoms that can disrupt their daily life. If hot flashes and night sweats are affecting your quality of life, there are ways to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms.

Identify Your Triggers

Hot flashes are often triggered by certain foods and environmental factors, although these triggers vary greatly from one woman to the next. The best way to discover your triggers is to keep a diary of symptoms and possible causes. Common triggers include spicy food, alcohol, caffeine, cigarette smoke, hot weather and stuffy rooms. You can also look for other patterns, such as the time of day or specific places where your symptoms are more likely to occur.

Reduce Your Stress Levels

Stress and anxiety are common triggers for hot flashes and night sweats. Many women notice an increase in anxiety levels during the menopause, which can make night sweats more likely. While it’s not always possible to remove the causes of stress, you can reduce its impact on your body by learning to relax. Relaxation exercises, such as progressive muscle relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing and guided visualizations can be useful for relieving stress.

Adjust Your Sleeping Environment

Night sweats can be caused or exacerbated by your sleeping environment. Make sure your bedroom is well ventilated and try to keep it as cool as possible. Use cotton sheets and bed linen, as well as loose cotton clothing, as this allows your skin to breathe and helps to prevent overheating. If face flushing and sweating is a problem during the night, you can buy special pillows filled with cooling materials. Keep a bottle of cold water by your bed, as hydration is particularly important for keeping cool and preventing headaches during the menopause. Gels packs, ice packs and fans can also be useful for some people.

Take Regular Exercise

Regular exercise is important for managing many symptoms associated with the menopause, including hot flashes, insomnia and weight gain. Gentle exercise, such as walking, swimming or yoga, is often best, as you can give your body a workout and reduce your stress levels without working up too much of a sweat. Wear loose clothing made of breathable fabrics, such as cotton, and remember to drink plenty of fluids while exercising.

Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional supplements help to relieve hot flashes and night sweats for many women, but it can take time and experimentation to find the right supplement. Soy, evening primrose oil, B vitamins and black cohosh are popular supplements for improving health during the menopause. Most health food stores also stock supplements designed specifically for the menopause, which often include a variety of vitamins, minerals and other compounds. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking supplements, as they can interact with some medications and should not be used if you have certain medical conditions.

Hot flashes and night sweats are common symptoms of the menopause, but they can often be relieved by taking a few self-help measures. If hot flashes persist or are severe enough to disrupt your life, see your doctor, as they may be able to prescribe medication to help ease your symptoms.

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5 Ways Blueberries Benefit the Body

Are you growing blueberries? If so, walk out to your garden and pick a cup to snack on. Guess what you just did? You gave yourself a boost of antioxidants. In fact, they have the highest concentration of antioxidants of any of the common fruits that people eat around the world. But how do the antioxidants help your body? Here are five ways that snacking on blueberries can benefit your health.

Reduced Cancer Risk

The body needs a variety of antioxidants to combat the damaging effects of free radicals. Blueberries are particularly high in a group of flavonoids known as anthocyanins, which are known to interact with the oxygen radical that causes damage to your DNA. Reducing this has many benefits to the body, including improved skin health and anti-aging qualities. Perhaps most significantly, it considerably decreases the risk of many types of cancer, such as that found in the breast, colon or on the skin.

Help Prevent Heart Disease

Blueberries are an excellent source of nutrition to help ward off the risks of developing many types of cardiovascular disease. The plaque that forms on the inside of the arteries is caused by the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (commonly known as ‘bad’ cholesterol) by free radicals. This narrowing of the arteries can result in life-threatening issues such as heart attack or stroke. The antioxidants in blueberries are particularly useful in not only preventing this buildup, but also removing the deposit once it has developed.

Increased Brain Function

Free radicals affect all parts of the body, and the brain is no exception. The antioxidants that are present in blueberries are understood to congregate around the centers of the brain linked to intelligence. Research suggests that regularly consuming blueberries directly improves cognitive ability, while also reducing the rate of age-related mental difficulties.

Prevent Urinary Infections

Like the closely related cranberry, blueberries are also excellent at preventing urinary tract infections. Both berries contain compounds called anti-adhesives, which act by preventing bacteria collecting on the bladder wall. This stops the buildup of any unwanted bacteria in the urinary tract and prevents infection.

Reduce Diabetic Effects

Like all fruits, blueberries contain a relatively high level of sugar compared to other food types. However, the benefits of blueberries seem to outweigh any negative effects this sugar brings about in people with diabetes. The anthocyanins within blueberries are known to have a beneficial effect on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, which aids both people with diabetes, and those at risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

As well as these benefits, blueberries also contain a variety of vitamins and nutrients that help keep your body in top shape. However, like all healthy options, the key is incorporating them into a balanced diet and not assuming that the handful of blueberries at breakfast means you can get away with a fast food dinner.  Nevertheless, alongside other nutritious foods, and coupled with a regular exercise routine, blueberries can have a positive impact on your health.


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