The lovely Lisa from Nourish For Life is back once again, bringing us her top lifestyle and diet tips for promoting female hormonal balance!
Increase your intake of Cruciferous Vegetables – Add plenty of broccoli and cauliflower into your diet to support oestrogen balance and flood the body with high levels of B vitamins, fibre, minerals and chromium to support blood sugar balance. Also, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, brussels sprouts and similar green leafy vegetables.
Increase Fibre – Regular bowel movements are so important for oestrogen balance. Insoluble dietary fibre such as lignin (found in flaxseeds and other seeds) is important for helping to eliminate excess oestrogen out of the system and to bring hormones back into balance. Aim to get plenty of beneficial fibre into your diet in the form of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, oats and rye.
Choose Better Fat Sources – A typical Western diet is high in saturated and trans fats and low in beneficial polyunsaturated fats. For hormone balance it’s important to shift this balance around and increase intake of beneficial fats through nuts, seeds and oily fish, reduce saturated fats and completely avoid harmful trans fats. Supplementation of fish oils has been shown to reduce the symptoms of PMS, including breast tenderness and cramping.
Eat Organic – Wherever possible, buy organic food, including fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, poultry and eggs. Foods you don’t have to worry about splashing out on organic are avocados, asparagus, onions, pineapples and cabbage.
Watch your Alcohol, Caffeine, Sugar intake – These substances have been known to contribute to throwing off oestrogen balance, so it’s important to cut down on alcohol, caffeine and sugar as much as possible. Switch to herbal teas in the afternoon, swap out added sugar for stevia and remove sugary alcohol beverages to lower sugar options.
Reduce Dairy – If you are suffering from hormonal or cystic acne that worsens around the time of your cycle, try limiting your dairy intake. Although research is limited, it seems that acne can be worsened by excessive insulin secretion and the by-products of dairy, whey and casein spike insulin production, thus can provoke an acne flare up. Choose non-dairy versions of milk such as almond milk and reduce intake of cheese. Try it for a few weeks, it might not work for everyone but worth a go.
Improve Body Composition – A healthy weight is associated with better oestrogen balance, so it’s important to take steps to achieve this if you’re looking to improve your symptoms. Tracking your calories in versus calories out on apps like My Fitness Pal can be a good eye-opener into the amount of food you are consuming, your portion sizes and the macronutrient breakdown of your meals. If this is something you struggle doing yourself, hire a professional to help keep you on track.
Exercise – Regular exercise can benefit almost every area of your health and well-being, the same is true for hormone balance. Find something you enjoy and make it a priority. Arrange to meet a friend or join a group – if you’re like me and require external accountability this is the way to go because you’re much more likely to stick to it.
Take Time to Relax – Like exercise, regular relaxation plays a major role in our health and hormone balance. Activating the parasympathetic nervous system, aka your rest and restorative mode, is critical for digestion, stress management decreases blood sugar and stress hormone levels, and most importantly promotes better sleep quality. Yoga and mindfulness are effective ways to relax and switch off. An all-time favourite of mine is a foot bath with Epsom salts and lavender oil.
Head here to read Lisa’s Top 5 Foods for Healthy Glowing Skin