An imbalance in hormones is all too common nowadays. There are many pieces to the puzzle with making sure our hormones are working in harmony; our thyroid, insulin levels, our adrenals - I recently wrote an article about insulin and our hormones which can be found here. Today we’re discussing female hormones. An imbalance in female hormones could be due to a whole host of issues and many of these we can work on and fix ourselves.
Women aren’t supposed to suffer from severe mood disturbances, sleep problems, muscle loss and brain fog yet so many do - particularly those in the perimenopausal / menopausal period. Bad habits like smoking, excessive drinking, eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrates, excess stress and being too sedentary are all factors for PMS and menopausal symptoms.
PMS and menopausal symptoms are all signs of sex hormone imbalances.
Understanding the why for these common symptoms is key in addressing the root cause and overcoming them. We want to bring the body back into balance and clear up these symptoms. Many women accept symptoms relating to menopause and PMS as being normal and therefore never get to the root cause of what’s actually going on.
Common symptoms of PMS and menopause include weight fluctuation, bloating, headaches, mood swings, anxiety, hot flashes, insomnia and brain fog. If you do suffer from any of these, it’s time to look at your diet.
Balancing your hormones is a journey and specific, individual modifications may need to be given depending on your symptoms. However, taking a look at your diet and making some simple tweaks can have profound effects so it is worth sticking with! Your diet is the beginning layer to work towards balancing your sex hormones.
Imbalances in hormones are triggered by poor food choices. First, let’s talk about sugar. Sugar in your diet means more insulin, more testosterone and more oestrogen. Sugar and refined carbohydrates can wreak havoc on your hormones, making PMS and menopausal symptoms so much worse than they should be. Alcohol has also been shown to cause an increase in oestrogen so be mindful of your alcohol consumption, too!
Dairy has also been shown to contribute to an imbalance of sex hormones due to the hormones naturally found in milk and because of added antibiotics and hormones to the milk. If you do notice that your sex hormones are completely out of whack, it could be worth switching dairy milk to a fortified plant-based alternative; one with no added vegetable oils, and see if you notice a decrease in your symptoms.
To balance your sex hormones, you want to be focusing on eating whole foods, healthy fats, lean protein and enough fibre. You want to be adding in things like chia seeds, flaxseeds, green leafy vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, oily fish and grass-fed meat.
Other factors which are important to consider when balancing female sex hormones are stress, exercise, sleep and supplements.
Chronic stress can be a trigger for hormonal imbalances. Stress reduction can be added into your routine by practicing things like meditation, yoga, breath work, EFT therapy and journaling. You want to find something that works for you to reduce your stress levels and bring you back into a state of peace- consistency is key here. Exercise can be used as a stress reliever and by moving your body for 20 minutes each day this will also help to bring some movement into your routine.
Improving the quality of your sleep is another key component in helping to balance your sex hormones. You want to be aiming for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Click here to download my free guide on how to improve your sleep with tips on how to fall asleep much easier.
Taking a good quality multivitamin, Vitamin D and B vitamins can help to balance oestrogen levels. Probiotics can also work for some women alongside diet and lifestyle factors to balance sex hormones – always check with your health professional before diving into probiotics as there are many different types with varying quality.
To balance female sex hormones, we want to look at the whole picture. This includes diet, lifestyle, mindset shifts and creating good, consistent habits and practices.