Hormones, blamed for so much but are they really the dastardly demons that they are made out to be? When we think of hormones we think of sex hormones - progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone, and we forget that there are thyroid, sleep, hunger and stress hormones to be considered too.
When they are behaving, our hormones are in a constant, well choreographed dance routine with every player knowing exactly when they need to come in, when they may have their moment in the spotlight, and when they are to exit stage left. But when they are out of step, that is when the whole production is disorganised, clumsy and in disarray.
But we are just dealt the hand we get with hormones, right? Many people resign themselves to the prospect of a lifetime of poor choreography and the associated acne, mood swings, hunger, bloating, sleep disturbances, intense cravings, depression and anxiety. If you have been presented with a hormonal diagnosis such as endometriosis, PCOS or prolactinoma then you may feel even less hopeful for the future.
The great news is, it doesn't have to be a life sentence of being at the mercy of your hormones. There are many, many ways in which YOU can take control and they don't involve introducing more hormones into the body as with the contraceptive pill, coil or implant.
So let's dive right in to the detail!
1. Focus on prioritising sleep - I know, I know! It gets trotted out all the time "you need to get to bed on time". When I used to read this or people told me, I used to roll my eyes. "Yeah, yeah, I'll sleep when I'm dead" That was the attitude I had. Litlle did I know that it is possibly the single biggest daily impact on hormonal regulation. Boy, do I wish I knew THAT 20 years ago! Being asleep for 10pm consistently and getting a good night's sleep helps your body to reset ALL of it's hormones.
2. Switch the sugar - notice I didn't say that you needed to ditch all sugars. In today's world it is virtually impossible to escape it - it is in everything, even the most savoury of foods. Whilst the amount of sugar that you are eating definitely has an impact it is the type and frequency which will be the dealbreaker. Switching to nutrient dense forms of sweetness, dates, molasses, bananas and dried fruit, helps
the body to process the sugar more slowly = less blood sugar spikes which we are trying to avoid if we want balanced hormones because insulin is, you guessed it, another hormone, so if insulin is disregulated then this has a knock on effect on the other hormones. In addition, processing sugar in the body impacts on the processing of oestrogen, so if you are having a high sugar diet then you can bet your bottom dollar that your oestrogen will be taking a back seat and, if you have any issues exacerbated by oestrogen, likely these will worsen too. Sweet wholefoods (rather than processed simple sugar) come packaged up with fibre, vitamins and minerals too, so if you ARE going for something sweet then you want to get more bang for your buck.
3. Load up on protein. Yes protein has become the darling of the food industry in recent times with "high protein this" and "high protein that", it does seem pretty faddy but there is definitely merit in paying attention to your overall protein intake. Protein is quite literally the building blocks of EVERYTHING in the human body, we know about muscle and soft tissue but what about immune cells and hormones? Without adequate protein our body struggles to produce the hormones required. The body will preferentially produce what it sees as vital - i.e. immune cells, red blood cells etc OVER hormones. In our current culture of carb focus breakfast, lunch and dinners we can often miss the mark with our protein intake and this can be a quick and easy switch to implement to give your body a fighting chance to regulate its hormones.
These 3 tips will set you well on your way to improving your hormone balance. Of course there are many intricacies, individualities and nuances when it comes our hormones, no two people are the same, so if you are stuck, fed up with feeling at the mercy of your hormones and don't know which way to turn, book a free 15 minute consultation with me here https://bit.ly/3e0uNHe and we can chat through your options.
To your good health!