Do you experience days where you feel you are running on empty and completely zapped off your beautiful energy? Are you the victim of huge mood swings driven by your menstrual cycle? Have you got phases where you crave all the wrong foods loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats? Do you find it hard to know when to stop eating because your body somehow has lost its ability to signal you when it had enough? Have you lately been feeling more irritated, stressed and overwhelmed by everything life throws at you?
It looks like your hormones are having a tight grip on you. I hear and feel you. It is not a particular wonderful place to find yourself in. Our hormonal health is so crucial for us to feel and look our total best. If this balance is disrupted, so is our well-being. The good news is however, you can reverse the chaos and one bite at a time ease your beautiful body and mind back into feel-good equilibrium.
Foods that will nurture your hormones
- Good quality protein
Make sure you include good quality protein with every meal as this will help to balance your insulin levels, upregulate your satiety hormones and down-regulating your hunger hormones. Great examples of good-quality protein are: egg, legumes, beans, fish, chicken, nuts.
- Healthful fats
Incorporate enough healthful fats into your diet (such as omega-3 fatty acids as found in walnuts, chia and flaxseeds, fatty fish, etc.). Other fats that have hormone-balancing effects include medium-chain fatty acids such as found in coconut oil or ghee.
- High-fibre foods
Consume plenty of plant foods which are all high in fibre. This will boost your digestion, keep your gut healthy and balance your insulin levels.
- Green leafy vegetables
Those amazing vegetables are literally like a warm hug to your hormones. Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach or collard greens contain molecules that boost your liver health and promote utilisation of oestrogen.
- Foods that nurture your thyroid
To support the health of your thyroid, indulge in foods that are high in magnesium and iodine. Great examples are almonds, cacao, legumes, avocaodos and see-weed.
- Foods that nurture your gut
If your gut is suffering, so is your hormonal health. To nurture your gut is fun and delicious. Nourish it with probiotics foods such as kefir, kombucha, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.
Foods that will cause more hormonal imbalance and hence you might want to avoid:
- Highly processed foods
Highly processed foods (such as white flours or goods, junk foods, cheap take-aways, sweets, cakes, pastries, and ready-made meals) increase your insulin levels and up your hunger hormones while down-regulating your sense of fullness.
- Foods high in sugar
Foods high in processed sugars up your body’s insulin levels causing insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. In addition, they increase your appetite and reduce your sense for fullness.
- Foods high in unhealthy fats
Foods containing processed fats or damaged fats (like trans fats, canola, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, peanut, or corn oils) are very damaging to your overall wellbeing including the health of your hormones. Those fats are pro-inflammatory and increase cortisol levels.
- Too much alcohol
Alcohol keeps your liver busy with focusing all its efforts on ridding the body of such poisonous threat. Overconsumption is reducing the liver’s ability to deal effectively and properly with all the many jobs it has been assigned to do: such as balancing hormones. In addition, alcohol is known to drastically impact on your sleep quality, increase appetite, lower inhibitions and increases insulin levels.
- Too much coffee
Overindulging in too much caffeine increases your cortisol levels and can impact on your insulin levels.
In addition to nurturing your beautiful self with those hormone-health boosting foods, you might want to take on the following action steps to rebalance your body:
- Be protective of your sleep
Try to get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted, good quality sleep per night. Seek help if you are struggling with sleeping issues.
- Engage in exercise that you love and brings the best out in you regularly
Regular exercise can keep your insulin levels and hunger hormones in check. It also increases insulin sensitivity. In addition, it promotes good quality sleep which is essential for balanced hormones.
- Manage your stress effectively
Learn to say ‘no’ to things that will push you over your healthy limit of ‘I can do this’. Practice your four A’s of stress management: avoid, alter, adapt, and accept.
- Be mindful to neither over-, nor to under-eat
Overeating creates havoc with your insulin levels. Undereating will up your cortisol levels. The key is to eat regularly (every 3 hours) and mindfully (focus on your food, on its taste, smell, texture, what it looks like; eat slowly and without distraction).
- Engage in meditation
Taking as little as ten minutes every day to sit down and practice meditation, can re-balance your hunger and appetite hormones, your stress-, and decrease your insulin levels. All of which have been linked to health issues such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
- Take time for self-nurture every day
Gifting yourself with a little self-nurturing time pocket every day (5 minutes if taken every day, can be enough), is not selfish. Instead, it ensures you are not going to pour from an empty cup. Take a warm shower, treat yourself to the most beautiful essential oils, enjoy a soothing cup of herbal tea, listen to your favourite music or take a stroll in nature. I am not exaggerating when I say doing those little things for yourself (or not), can make all the difference between living a long healthy-licious life or not. The choice is yours.
Yes, our hormones are regulatory substances that hugely impact on our health, well-being and quality of life. As overwhelming as it might feel, however, when those powerful molecules are no longer acting in harmonic unison, re-establishing hormonal balance is easier than you. If you commit to taking little baby steps every day, one at a time, you will be able to heal your hormonal chaos in no time. You deserve to live your best life, to feel amazing in your beautiful skin and own this stunning glow of yours. What are you still waiting for gorgeous, let’s do this together and get your hormones back on track!