7 Hormone Balancing Lifestyle & Diet Tips

by | July 23, 2019

7 Hormone Balancing Lifestyle & Diet Tips

Menopause is a normal, natural life event that occurs when a woman’s period stops. It commonly happens between the ages of 40 and 58. Smokers can start menopause up to 2 years earlier than non-smokers. Menopause happens because the ovaries naturally stop producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

A woman “officially” reaches menopause 12 months after her last period. However, changes and symptoms can begin several years earlier. Some of these symptoms include changes in the monthly cycle and hot flashes. The time from when these changes start, to actual menopause is called “peri-menopause.”

Peri-menopause often starts between age 40-50 and can last several years (4, up to 14!). It begins with changes to the regular menstrual cycle. During this time the ovaries production of estrogen and progesterone decreases.

Your hormones – the body’s chemical messengers – are involved in every minute aspect of your physical and even mental & emotional health.  You need them in very specific amounts for your body to function efficiently.

When your hormones aren’t working optimally, then your body starts to show symptoms. Hormonal imbalances may also increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, chronic inflammation, and a multitude of other health problems.

“The healthy, hormonally balanced body continually manufactures all the hormones it needs to keep everything functioning.
It becomes unbalanced when subjected to inadequate supplies of nutrients, inordinate stress and toxic influences. Balance is the most central aspect in a woman’s health.”
~ Women in Balance Institute
{reference: https://womeninbalance.org/seventh-woman/do-you-have-a-hormone-imbalance/ }

Everything is connected in the endocrine system so hormones always impact one another as well. This means if your body is producing high levels of certain hormones like cortisol (the hormone of stress), then levels of other hormones will likely fluctuate in response. For example, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and thyroid hormones (T4 and T3).

 

Signs of common hormonal imbalances

When your body produces too much or too little of one or more hormones, the following signs and symptoms may start to appear.  These symptoms are VERY common during peri-menopause & menopause.

  • Periods become irregular or absenthormones
  • Sleep issues and insomnia
  • Memory or brain fog
  • Fatigued or have consistently low energy
  • Digestive issues
  • Mood swings, irritable, anxious or depressed
  • Gaining weight or weight loss resistant
  • Vagina is dry and/or irritated
  • Lack of sex drive/no libido
  • Night sweats and hot flashes
  • Food cravings and constant hunger
  • Skin & hair changes including:
    • Acne, dry skin, thinning hair and/or hair growing in unexpected places – like your face!

Why your nutrition matters when it comes to hormones, especially when they’re unbalanced!

The building blocks that your body needs to produce hormones, not to mention properly fuel your body, must be obtained from your diet.

For example, many hormones used for reproduction (sex hormones) are derived from cholesterol. YES, cholesterol! Which comes from foods like whole-fat dairy, eggs, butter, and meat. While these may all be animal products – quality does matter.

If you’re experiencing chronic stress or your diet doesn’t supply enough “raw materials” to make all of the necessary hormones. Your body will prioritise stress hormone production (particularly Cortisol) because these hormones are essential for survival, whereas sex hormones aren’t considered necessary to sustain life. Managing stress during peri-menopause, and beyond, is critical for hormone balance during this stage of life. As your sex hormones are naturally diminishing – increased cortisol levels due to high stress, lowers their production further.

I know it may sound simple, however eating nutritious foods, exercising daily, and engaging in an otherwise healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward supporting and improving your hormonal health, especially once you reach 40 and beyond.

Seven (7) diet & lifestyle tips you should adopt for better hormone balance

  1. Eat adequate high quality protein – with every meal; eat 3 meals per day (plus up to 2 snacks)
  2. Reduce inflammatory foods, including sugar & refined carbs, sugary drinks, gluten, hydrogenated oils & trans fats
  3. Consume healthy fats, including fatty fish (e.g. salmon), whole eggs, olive oil, coconut oil & avocados
  4. Eat a high fibre with natural plant fibre but consume whole grains in moderation
  5. Consume probiotic foods such as fermented yogurt, kefir & sauerkraut as well as prebiotic foods like bananas, lentils & cabbage
  6. Drink adequate water and limit alcohol & caffeine
  7. Supplement with Vitamin D, especially in the darker winter months

Everyone is different, and what works for some people does not work for everyone. Just start with the basics of eating for hormonal support and balance to see if you feel any positive changes.

It’s also important to have your hormone levels checked out with a qualified Health Practitioner before you make any radical changes to your diet or lifestyle.

 

REFERENCES

https://womeninbalance.org/seventh-woman/do-you-have-a-hormone-imbalance/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/balance-hormones

https://www.healthline.com/health/definitive-guide-to-food-for-hormones

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/the-best-foods-for-hormone-balance

https://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/signs-hormonal-imbalance

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