As women, how we feel emotionally and physically are closely linked to our hormones. There are many internal and external factors that can affect how our hormones work. Stress, lack of sleep, BPAs (found in plastic) and alcohol are some of the main culprits. But one of the most fundamental factors is the food we eat and the supplements we take. Here are some quick and easy wins you can try to keep you hormones in working order...
Our bodies use fat to make the sex hormones oestrogen, progesterone and
testosterone. They also help balance our blood sugar and stabilise our stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. Healthy fats are found in foods such as oily fish, nuts and seeds (be wary of the Omega 6 content), eggs, avocado and olive oil. Oily fish is the best source of Omega 3 but make sure it's wild or opt for a high quality fish oil supplement.
B vitamins support healthy liver function, this is super important for you to be able to breakdown hormones efficiently. They also support energy production, soothe the stress response and help eliminate excess hormones, reducing breast pain, period pain and PMS. They're also good to try if you suffer from menopausal mood fluctuations and insomnia.
You can find B vitamins in liver, oily fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds, brewers yeast, eggs and whole grains.
Magnesium has a crucial role to play in the production and balance of healthy
hormones. As a natural ‘tranquillizer’ it can support sleep, regulate stress hormones and balance blood sugar. It has been shown to be beneficial in several conditions such as PMS, endometriosis and PCOS. It can also be used to ease menstrual cramps, water retention and hormonal headaches.
Look out for green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains and seaweed. Epsom salt baths, containing magnesium chloride, are also a relaxing and easy way to ease the stress caused by hormonal fluctuations during your cycle.
Zinc is an essential nutrient, critical for hormone synthesis and balance and blood sugar regulation. Low zinc status may lead to hair loss, low libido, brain fog, fatigue and low progesterone. If you need to give your fertility a boost, zinc may be the nutrient to help. The ovaries love it or producing progesterone and oestrogen, but it can also help with male sterility. Look for these zinc rich foods: oysters, beef, chicken, nuts and seeds, eggs, beans and turkey.
Iron can be tricky! It is so important for women to be mindful of iron levels, especially when menstruating. It is fundamental for our energy and if we're low it can cause all kinds of issues such as fatigue, low immunity, anaemia, mood changes and hormone imbalance. If you are feeling tired and have heavy periods, I'd always recommend getting your iron levels tested as having too much iron can have a negative effect on your health too. Foods with an abundance of iron are liver, beans, legumes, oily fish and blackstrap molasses.
We need fibre to help us excrete broken down, old hormones. This is crucial for hormonal health. Fibre is our friend for balancing blood sugar too. Fibre rich foods include flaxseeds, fruit and vegetables, oats, psyllium and legumes.
Following a nutrient dense diet will help provide your body with these
happy, healthy hormone balancers. Be mindful of the lifestyle factors that may also be playing havoc with those hormones such as stress, lack of exercise and sleep.
Struggling with sleep? Find out which foods help you catch more ZZZ's here.