It’s time to talk hormones! I love sharing tips about eating habits that can help with various areas of our lives including stress reduction, boosting energy, and now hormones! I brought on a guest contributor, Bec Weeden, to give us the lowdown on hormone imbalances as well as small dietary changes that we can make to help our cycles. Bec is a health, wellness and lifestyle coach and yoga teacher who launched IN2U Health & Wellness Retreats in Bali and Australia. So read on to Bec’s article to learn all about what makes us tick, hormones!
We all know that hormones play a huge role in the way we feel. Once a month many women struggle with the fluctuation of hormones and the effect this has on mood and emotions. I myself suffer from hormonal imbalances and endometriosis runs in my family, so I am well aware of the devastating effects that hormones can play in your life if they are out of balance.
So how do we understand our hormone cycles to better connect with our bodies and try and control our mood fluctuations, cravings and other symptoms that are caused by this cycle? Research shows that there are three key hormones that play a part in women’s monthly cycles; estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These hormones significantly impact your energy levels, mood, food cravings, memory, sexual libido, social interactions and more.
Although we often get mocked by the men around us for how much food we eat around our “moon cycle” or our emotional need for chocolate once a month, it’s actually a thing! A scientific thing, so next time your boyfriend mocks you show him this article.
Hormones follow the same rhythmic cycle in each women’s body although everyone’s body is different. So hormones can fluctuate at different times and have different side effects.
To get a better understanding, here’s a general guide for how women’s hormones rise and fall throughout the month:
- Week 1 (the first day of 1 period) – Estrogen levels rise
- Week 2 – Estrogen and testosterone rise until they peak
- Week 3 – Progesterone rises, estrogen and testosterone drop for half the week then estrogen rises again
- Week 4 – Estrogen and progesterone plunge
It’s important to start monitoring the way you feel throughout your cycle, any side effects you notice and at what points. This can assist you in determining which hormone levels it may be that are causing you negative side effects and ways in which you can naturally treat these. Hormone deficiencies can cause major problems to your health and could potentially lead to serious illnesses.
If you are experiencing extreme hormone symptoms and these are negatively impacting your life, you need to see a professional practitioner and get a full blood test done to monitor your hormone levels. This will determine if you have any abnormal hormone levels or deficiencies and if so determine the best approach to manage these.
How do I know if they are abnormal I hear you ask?
Great question. Everyone’s symptoms are different and often we are told that mood swings, cravings, pains, skin conditions and cramps are all “normal” . What I often ask clients is how is it effecting your life, do you feel out of control with your cravings or do they come and pass and your not too bothered by them? Are your pains so debilitating that you cant get out of bed or go to work or function as you normally would?
I can remember when my hormones were at an all time imbalance I didn’t feel myself, I was emotional, moody, having severe skin break outs and was calling in sick or having to go home sick due to excruciating pains. One day I fainted at work they were so bad. This is not normal, yet I had convinced myself that most women deal with this each month and that there wasn’t much I could do about it. What I didn’t realize at the time was this was caused by extreme stress levels due to my high stress job and lifestyle.
It is recommended that you work with both a western medicine practitioner who either has also studied holistic natural therapies or works alongside one such as a Naturopath. This will enable you to determine accurately your hormone levels but also treat any imbalances with a natural approach. In the mean time, you can always make small steps towards healthier munching. Start by trying a one or two of these eating habits to help balance your hormones today!
7 Small Eating Habits To Help Balance Your Hormones:
Monitoring your food choices and improving this should be the first step in naturally balancing your hormones as well as reducing your stress levels as much as possible. There are several ways in which you can improve your nutrition to aid in the balancing of healthy hormone levels. Here are our top tips:
Introduce fermented foods: Naturally fermented foods aid in healthy gut bacteria and overall hormone health. The population of healthy gut bacteria plays a huge role in regulating hormones, especially estrogen levels. Estrogen dominance and imbalance can lead to PMS, infertility, PCOS, cramps and heavy bleeding. Fermented foods include Kombucha, and fermented veggies such as sauerkraut and Kefir.
Watch out for sugars and refined carbs: According to Dr Mercola un-sprouted grains, sugar or fructose decreases seven of the 12 most important hormones in our system. Aim to eliminate as many of these in your diet as possible.
Eat local and organic: Sourcing organic produce and meat, seafood and poultry is critical to ensure you are not ingesting added hormones that are used in the farming of these animals. Absorption of added hormones can cause huge disrupt to your natural cycles and lead to illness.
Eat your healthy fats: Ensure daily intake of healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, un-heated olive oil and nuts.
Limit your caffeine intake: If you are a coffee drinker, try and drinking herbal teas instead of your mid-day cup of joe to aid with balancing the endocrine system naturally.
Be mindful of alcohol: alcohol decreases the human growth hormone (HGH), which is the most powerful anti-ageing hormone we have. Ever noticed why alcoholics age so quickly?
Add more magnesium to your diet: Increasing your magnesium intake through a supplement or natural foods such as dark leafy greens and cacao will improve your sex hormone levels.
Not only can food affect your hormones, beauty products, plastics and environmental toxins can do a toll on your body as well. Be mindful of the products you use by reading labels and setting a goal to use natural remedies. Here are some natural beauty remedies.
If you suspect you have a hormone in-balance, get checked out by your Doc. Listen to your body and the signals it sends you, and take action so that you can start balancing your hormones today!