Healthy Happy Hormones in 5 Simple Steps
It can be surprising to find out that your hormones are affected by what you eat and your lifestyle habits. So often it can feel that you are predestined to either cruise through hormonal changes, or that you are destined to suffer – NOT SO!
You are what you eat, this is no less true with regards to hormones. Your lifestyle dramatically affects your hormones which are created from building blocks originating from the food that you eat. Unfortunately, we have become detached from this thought process meaning that we often turn to external help in order to “manage” our hormones. This can include the contraceptive pill, Mirena coil, hormonal implant etc.
Whilst these methods, in and of themselves, are great tools, one thing that they won’t do for you is “regulate your hormones”. In fact, they will be adding in external hormones and may mask the underlying problem. The day that you have to deal with your hormonal imbalance is therefore pushed further into the future.
So what can you do to support hormonal balance naturally? Let’s dive into 5 super simple ways that you can take charge of unruly hormones.
Fibre – hormone balance secret weapon
We hear a TON of information on why fibre is good for keeping you regular. This is just one of the superpowers of fibre! Fibre is crucial for keeping everything moving, that much is true. That is the first step to eliminating toxins, and therefore used hormones in the process. Your liver processes toxins and eliminates them through bile, which exits your body via your stools. You definitely want that process to run like clockwork. If you aren’t passing a bowel movement once a day at least, then…we need to talk!
Our lovely gut bugs are fed by fibre. We need these little fellas to support the detox process, as well as for hundreds of other beneficial functions. Fibre also supports the 2nd top tip – blood sugar management.
Blood sugar management for happy hormones
You might not associate fibre with blood sugar management. Fibre slows sugar’s speed of absorption from our digestive system into the blood. You can then appreciate how the sugar fruit, in its whole form, causes less of a spike to your blood sugar than fruit juice, for example.
Blood sugar management is crucial for hormonal balance. It is a vicious circle – once your hormones are imbalanced your sugar cravings will rear their ugly head. Once blood sugar is unsettled, you can be sure that your hormones will be taking a hammering.
So how can you get out of this seemingly endless cycle?
Ensure that you are focusing on fibre and protein at every meal. Protein is “slow digesting” and therefore moderates the absorption of sugar into the blood.
Manage your stress
Stress is a hidden trigger for blood sugar spikes. Keys to managing day-to-day stress include breathwork, yoga and managing your perspective.
Manage your caffeine – Coffee, in particular, spikes blood sugar. That’s, in part, how it provides you with increased energy. Therefore more caffeine -> more blood sugar spikes -> more hormonal imbalance.
The average Brit gets just 6 hours 19 minutes of sleep per night. This is way under the recommended 8 to 9 hours of “sleep opportunity”. Sleep is a crucial “resetting mechanism” for your hormones. Without adequate sleep ALL the hormones; sex, sleep, hunger, stress and thyroid all suffer. Prioritising your sleep, above all else, and especially if you struggle with your hormones, will be a crucial step forward in supporting your body to regulate the production of hormones.
Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, and Brussel Sprouts contain I3C, otherwise known as Indole-3-Carbinol, which is potent support for hormonal balance and detox. For people with hormone issues these are the secret weapons. They also contain a compound called Sulforaphane, which supports the elimination of toxins through the liver by supporting both phases of liver detox and lowers inflammation. A bonus is that they are fibre rich too!
The impact of alcohol on hormones
This is a bit contentious if you love your booze. Alcohol WILL affect your hormones, all of them, and the dose makes the poison. When your liver is being asked to focus on processing alcohol through regular drinking, the detox of your hormones take a back seat. The body sees this as an immediate priority, rather than detoxifying your used hormones.
Alcohol is a key culprit with blood sugar spikes and dips. We have already learned that this a heavy bearing on balanced hormones. Keep your liver, and your hormones happier by managing your alcohol intake, eating high-protein high-healthy fat snacks or meals before and during drinking, and interspersing alcoholic drinks with water.
For a free, no-obligation chat about how nutrition and lifestyle can help you balance your hormones – book straight into my diary here – https://p.bttr.to/2SZ0f0k. To learn a little more about what happens in a nutrition consult read my blog on the process here – https://www.yumnutrition.org/5-things-you-never-knew-happened-at-a-nutrition-consultation/