Hormones. They often get a bad rap and are usually associated with women and “that time of the month.” But, hormones are so much more! They actually help regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual functions, reproduction, sleep, and mood. I think it’s pretty safe to say they’re way more than just players that affect whether you're having PMS or not.
Making sure your hormones are functioning properly is multifactorial and can take some time to get back in balance. If you struggle with menstrual issues, infertility, high/low blood sugar, stubborn weight, and/or afternoon fatigue, these could all be signs of hormonal imbalance. So, today I’m going to give you a few strategies that you can do each day to help balance your hormones!
Stabilize your blood sugar
Increase fiber intake
Aim for 30-35gm of fiber per day. Gradually increase to this number if you’re on the low end, and make sure to drink plenty of water.
Opt for plant-based proteins like beans and lentils, which are also full of fiber.
Pick whole grains like brown rice, millet, barley, quinoa, and wild rice.
Choose one to two servings of whole fruit per day and avoid fruit juice. Fruits like berries, green apples, and kiwi are lower sugar options but still pack a high nutrient punch.
Increase your non-starchy vegetable intake (think pretty much all vegetables except potatoes, corn, peas, and winter squash). Fill up half your plate with these guys at lunch and dinner and you're on your way to stable blood sugar heaven.
Avoid Refined Carbohydrates
Generally, the more processed the food, the less healthy it is. Your best bet is to buy your whole grains from the bulk section at the grocery. Additionally, look out for the new nutrition facts labels with the 'added sugar' section. Avoiding added sugars and foods with some form of sugar in the first five ingredients is an easy way to limited refined carbohydrates.
2. Focus on Healthy Fats & protein
Including a healthy fat and protein source at each meal will help balance blood sugar, keep your energy up through the day, and help nourish your hormones. Healthy fats include extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, seeds, nuts, and olives. Good protein sources are chicken, turkey, lean beef and pork, seafood (especially fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines which are high in omega-3 fats), eggs, seeds, nuts, beans and lentils. Buy the highest quality animal products when available!
3. Limit or avoid Caffeine
Do you find yourself reaching for a caffeinated beverage to wake you up in the morning or to get you through the afternoon? Or do you find that you feel jittery with your cup of Joe? If so, you may want to reconsider your caffeine intake. Why? Caffeine has shown to increase cortisol levels, one of your stress hormones. Chronic elevated cortisol puts stress on your adrenals, which further causes issues with weight, sleep, and fatigue. If quitting is not an option for you, try to keep it to one cup a day and take it with a meal.
4. Avoid Xenoestrogens & other harmful/questionable chemicals
Xenoestrogens are chemical compounds that can mimic estrogen in our bodies. Avoiding BPA and phthalates in products will help lighten the toxic load your body has to deal with on a daily basis. Check your personal products such as deodorant, lotions, and makeup for ingredients like DBP, DEHP, SLS, SLES, DEA, TEA, MEA, and anything including methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl.
5. Decrease Stress
Chronic stress leads to chronically elevated adrenaline and cortisol, which as we know, can disrupt many of our body’s hormonal processes. Finding some time, even if it’s just 15 minutes each day, to take a breather is key to bringing our body’s stress response back down. Closing your eyes and taking deep breaths, writing down a gratitude list, sipping a nightly hot tea, taking an epsom salt bath, or practicing yoga are a few options to get in your ‘you’ time.
Getting your hormones back on track definitely takes time and work, but once you've integrated these changes into your lifestyle, you will start to feel like a new person.
You will likely notice increased energy, better sleep, weight loss around the midsection, and you may be kissing PMS good-bye!
Disclaimer: The information shared on this website is for general purposes only and has not been reviewed by the FDA. The information is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease or medical conditions and is not intended to take the place of advice from your medical professional. You should seek the care of your doctor before changing dietary or lifestyle habits. You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices.