What you eat matters
The food we eat impacts our cells, tissues, organs, immune systems, hormones, etc., and ultimately our entire bodies become the result of what we eat. In other words, nutrient-dense foods contain information in the form of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, protein, phytonutrients, and fiber that is transmitted throughout our bodies to keep us functioning optimally.
The types of food we feed our bodies become even more important as we age because of the many biological changes occurring. We start to lose muscle strength, metabolism slows, we become more prone to certain illnesses and our hormones often start to suffer creating hormonal imbalances, particularly for menopausal women.
Hormonal imbalance affects women in different ways in terms of the types of symptoms that they experience. Some women choose to manage their symptoms using natural solutions while others may opt for conventional treatments which include medications. A woman’s decision to take medications as opposed to natural solutions could depend on the severity of their symptom and in consultation with their health care provider.
There are 100s of hormones in our body and they are involved in most bodily processes and are essential to health because they keep your body functioning optimally. Some of the more well-known hormones include thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, adrenaline, insulin, and cortisol. Hormones are chemicals that are produced by glands (pituitary gland, the thyroid gland, the parathyroid glands, the pancreas, and the gonads) in your endocrine system, which is a chemical messenger system made up of feedback loops between hormone-secreting glands and your organs and circulatory system.
While you may not be able to control the multitude of hormonal changes that are happening in your body, research shows that diet and lifestyle can influence how these hormonal changes impact your body. This brings us to some of the top foods that have been shown to improve both hormonal balance and overall health.
Fats are necessary to create and balance hormones, reduce inflammation, boost metabolism, promote weight loss, and reduce weight gain. Some great sources of healthy fats include:
Coconut oil/milk/cream contains natural anti-bacterial and fat-burning effects. Coconut oil is actually the healthiest oil for cooking especially for frying or sauteing because it is resistant to heat.
Avocados have tremendous benefits such as reducing inflammation, suppressing appetite, improving heart health, and containing fiber and potassium.
Wild-caught salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which helps to reduce inflammation. It also improves cognitive functions since the brain-cell membranes include omega-3 fatty acids that are vital for cell-to-cell communication in the brain.
Walnuts contain selenium and iodine and support hormone functions. Selenium helps to prevent goiter and swelling of the thyroids.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain lots of nutrients that protect our cells and promote overall good health including hormonal balance. I recommend eating organic where possible because conventional produce is often grown using different chemicals that can disrupt your hormonal balance. While it may not always be possible to eat organic see the Environmental Working Group’s recommendations for foods that can be eaten even if they are not organic and those that should be organic Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. Some options include:
Berries (e.g., goji berries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries) are high in fiber, antioxidant polyphenols, and vitamin C. They have a low glycemic index and therefore do not spike your blood sugar quickly improving your blood sugar and insulin response.
Leafy greens are rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory components and other minerals like magnesium which helps the body to synthesize of hormones. Greens include collard greens, spinach, swiss chards, kale, etc.
Broccoli Sprouts are rich in a substance called Indole-3-Carbinol which helps tp break down estrogen in the body. Indole-3-Carbinol is also found in cabbage, collard, and cauliflower.
Fiber helps to improve digestive issues and lower the risk for different diseases. Foods rich in plan fiber include such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Nuts such as Brazilian nuts are rich in selenium which helps to decrease the thyroid antibodies and boost your hormone production (2 -3 daily is enough). Almonds also are effective in reducing the production of testosterone to create balance, which is beneficial to women who have excess amounts. Excess testosterone can lead to acne, infertility, facial hair, or balding.
Plant-based protein is anti-inflammatory, beneficial to the endocrine system and reduces the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, and stimulates hormones that make you feel full. This includes beans, peas, lentils, tofu, tempeh, nuts, and seeds.
Seed cycling is a natural way to regulate your estrogen levels by getting rid of excess estrogen and stimulating estrogen production when you do not have enough. It involves adding specific seeds into your diet at two different phases during your menstrual cycle. In the first phase of your cycle, the seed promotes estrogen detoxification and in the second phase, it increases the production of progesterone in the second half of your cycle. Seeds such as pumpkin, flax, sunflower, and sesame encourage your body to produce or metabolize hormones that promote hormonal balance.
You can create hormonal balance and optimal health by eating these nutrient-dense foods.
In Good Health,
Menopause & Perimenopause Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/541676579718984
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide medical advice. The purpose is to provide education and a broader understanding to my readers. Always seek the advice of your qualified healthcare provider before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. I do not recommend or prescribe, or recommend changing the dosage or discontinuing, any prescription medications or pharmaceutical drugs.
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