Emotional” is the word that usually comes to mind when we hear the term “hormonal”. Sadly, most people immediately associate either word as it relates it to a woman’s menstrual cycle or perimenopausal years.
But from a physiological perspective, “hormonal” pertains to the many different types of messengers the body produces that signify action somewhere else in the body. These messengers can include estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone; cortisol, one of the main stress hormones; thyroid hormones; and insulin, a hormone essential to regulating blood sugar, and many more. While it’s true that hormonal imbalances can set us up for emotional roller coasters, they can also affect changes in libido, PMS symptoms, fat distribution, and fertility to name a few. So, what can you do?
A healthy balance of these hormones depends on good blood sugar control, supporting your detoxing organs, and promoting a happy digestive tract. Certain habits can help lay the foundation for a healthier balance of hormones and can be beneficial whether you are a woman who is still menstruating regularly, approaching menopause, or postmenopausal. Here are five practical ways to set yourself up for success:
1. Manage Your Blood Sugars.
Balancing your intake of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins is vital to keeping blood sugars steady.
Consuming a healthy source of protein like organic, pastured chicken; pasture-raised eggs; wild-caught fish; legumes and lentils; or even a high-quality protein powder if you’re in a pinch. Include a source of healthy, unprocessed fat, such as avocado, olive oil, or raw nuts or seeds.
Carbohydrates should ideally be based on your activity level. Whole-food sources of carbs are fruits, vegetables, or unrefined grains like steel-cut oats or quinoa, instead of cereal, bread, and pasta. Avoiding added sugars — especially in unexpected foods like fruited yogurt and coffee creamers — is also key to keeping blood sugars in check.
2. Stay Hydrated.
Your body depends on adequate hydration to detoxify well. If you’re a coffee lover, be extra mindful to get enough filtered water daily. Most people feel their best when they aim for half of their body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water daily.
3. Focus on Fiber.
Aim to get the majority of your fiber from non starchy vegetables, beans, and some berries, nuts, and seeds. Fiber is critical for the detoxification of hormones.
4. Include Cruciferous Vegetables.
Most cruciferous vegetables come from the Brassica family and include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts an many more. They can support a healthier balance of estrogen to help limit the negative impacts of excess, potent forms of estrogen. It also has been suggested to have some anti-cancer properties.
5. Get Your Hormones Checked.
If you’re a woman struggling with extreme cramping, significant mood swings, a tanked libido, irregular periods, hot flashes, or night sweats, testing your hormone levels is a critical first step. Hormone balance is like a symphony, and an objective view of the hormonal interaction can help you work better with your medical provider to help you with a personalized solution.
Regular hormone testing, management of blood sugars, hydration, a higher-fiber diet, and more cruciferous vegetables in your nutrition program may seem straightforward, but that does not always mean it’s easy. Some out-of-the-box thinking, coaching, and support can go a long way in implementing these habits without feeling like you’re in a trap of daily steamed broccoli and tracking every bite you eat can feel endless and daunting. Join me as I take a deeper dive into the balancing of women’s hormones on March 31st. For more information, click here!