Did you know that your hormones are made from the nutrients that you eat?
That these nutrients are the building blocks of making hormones? That your diet and lifestyle has everything to do with your hormonal balance and quality of life? Hormonal balance is not something we tend to think about when everything is going well in our lives. But when we start having symptoms like moodiness, fatigue, skin issues, weight gain, weight around the middle, trouble sleeping, migraines, PMS, endometriosis, infertility, low sex drive, hot flashes, PCOS or other issues, hormones could be to blame.
Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers, and are made in the endocrine glands and in testes or ovaries. Steroid hormones, such as cortisol and the sex hormones, are all synthesised from cholesterol, and cholesterol is made from fats. When you give your body a high concentration of polyunsaturated fats like vegetable oils or margarine, it has no choice but to incorporate these fats into the cells during cell repair and creation.
The problem is that polyunsaturated fats are highly unstable and oxidise easily in the body. These oxidised fats cause inflammation and mutation in cells.
“If your diet is low in fat, your body is deprived of the building blocks for cholesterol”.
Instead, fats like coconut oil, grass fed butter, olive oil, avocados, animal fats (tallow, lard) and wild caught fish high in omega-3, will give your body the right fats to achieve optimal health. Excessive levels of oestrogens in women and men are epidemic in our society. Many synthetic chemicals (especially plastics) mimic oestrogen. These synthetic xeno-oestrogens are much more powerful than the oestrogen made in the body. The best way to eliminate xeno-oestrogens is to avoid them, by reducing exposure to toxins, and never heating food in plastic. Plastics are full of these compounds, which when heated, will leak into food. Healthy bowel flora is also important for preventing re-absorption of oestrogens – adding probiotic foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and probiotic yoghurt to your diet will help your body to get rid of excess oestrogens.
“Balancing hormones starts with your food choices”.
Try these tips for optimal hormonal balance:
- Eat more often to keep blood sugar levels steady, but keep portions on the small and healthy side.
- Increase dietary fibre- this can be through fruit and vegetables.
- Protein such as poultry, fish and beans, and complex carbohydrates like oats and brown rice are good sugar regulators. Protein also is needed for metabolism of oestrogens in the liver.
- Increase foods rich in B6 like nuts and seeds and meat.
- Cut down on processed and sugary foods – the closer the food is to its natural state, the better.
- Avoid dairy products, as dairy has oestrogens and insulin like growth factors that could affect your hormones.
- Load up on steamed broccoli, collard greens and kale, which help balance hormones.
- Supplement with vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc and fish oil.
- Get regular exercise and get enough sleep.
Marika Walker – Nutritional Therapist
Marika is a member of the professional organisation BANT (British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy), and the CNHC (Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council)