Hormone balance is crucial to our health and wellness. Hormones control body processes such as metabolism, immune system function, menstrual cycle & reproduction, stress levels, mood, and sleep cycles. Even just slight imbalances can result in significant side effects in the body. Although important for men too, proper hormone balance is particularly important for women given the enormous amount of hormonal changes our bodies go through during our lives (puberty, having babies, menopause).
And guess what…there are precious few of us with well balanced hormones.
Hormones are chemicals produced by the endocrine system that are moved through the body in the blood to different tissues and organs. They’re the messengers that tell the organs what to do and when to do it – it’s no wonder they’re so important! Poor eating habits, lack of exercise, stress (and I dare ya to find me one person who doesn’t have stress!), and toxins are things that can cause or contribute to hormonal imbalance – so pretty much anyone just living their life will experience hormone imbalanceat one time or another. As we age, normal life processes add to the imbalance as well. Some symptoms of hormone imbalance include:
- trouble sleeping
- PMS (and nope, it’s not “normal” like we’ve been told all our lives!)
- unexplained weight gain/loss
- changes in blood pressure
- irritability and anxiety
- unexplained fatigue (HELLO!)
- brain fog
- no energy
- decreased sex drive (as if we don’t already have enough to deal with! )
As women age and get into the stages of perimenopause and menopause, it’s especially important to focus on balancing our hormones. It will help limit the effects and feelings that come with this inevitable stage of life. It’s also crucially important for our daughters and women of child bearing age. When hormones are balanced, everything runs more smoothly in the body and we’re in a better state overall to deal with everything life throws at us.
- Bone broth – as I have gone on and on about in several posts, bone broth is a gut super food and anything that helps improve digestion will help improve hormone balance.
- Broccoli (or any cruciferous veggie) – helps support the liver with toxin removal which includes excess hormones that need to be removed from the body.
- Garlic – helps the body use insulin efficiently and therefore, helps control blood sugar.
- Lemon – a digestion stimulator, lemon helps to control appetite and is a great support to the adrenal glands. It also supports detoxification in the liver.
- Fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha) – these are excellent for gut health and digestion, supporting hormone production and balance. Fermented foods provide good bacteria to the gut that help break down hormones to form neurotransmitters.
- Avocado – an excellent source of healthy fats, avocados will leave you feeling full longer and help stabilize blood sugar.
- Coconut oil – full of healthy fats that help support the immune system and the adrenals/endocrine system. Add it to your morning coffee!
- Salmon – an excellent source of Omega 3 fats that help lower inflammation in the body. It’s also a great source of protein.
- Pumpkin seeds – these are an excellent source of zinc which is an essential nutrient for hormone production, It’s also useful in the first half of the menstrual cycle, as it promotes the production of estrogen.
- Walnuts – these are super high in Omega 3 fats (2.6g/ounce). They’re also a good source of magnesium which helps relieve menstrual cramps, headaches, elevated blood pressure and leg cramps.
Do yourself (and your kids) a favor…make these foods a staple in your family’s diet. Buy them, eat them, cook/bake with them…just get them in. If you have picky eaters (as I do), get creative – my kids won’t eat pumpkin seeds or kale, so I toss them in their smoothie every morning and they’re none the wiser. Hormonal balance is a must for a well balanced body and living a happy, healthy life…and how awesome is it that we can get there by eating?!