By: Leanne Ely
You hear about it all of the time, but do you really understand how important hormone health is to your overall well being?
Think of hormones as tiny little chemical messengers in your body. These little guys are responsible for regulating all kinds of important things within the body including metabolism, mood, re-production, growth and development and sexual function.
Your body works well when your hormones are balanced, but if they’re not, get out of the way! Life is treacherous to say the least.
So, what causes hormonal imbalance? The not-so-simple answer is many things, and it can be difficult to figure out what specific thing is wrecking havoc among your hormones.
Hormonal imbalance may be caused by:
• Inadequate nutrition
• Birth control pills or Hormone Replacement Therapy (not bioidentical)
• Constant stress
• Drug use
• Extreme dieting
• Chemicals, environmental toxins and stimulants
How can you tell if your hormones are screwy?
The following are some classic signs of hormonal imbalance:
• Urinary tract infection
• Cravings for sweet foods
• Excess hair growth
• Irregular periods
• Water retention
• Weight gain
• Mood swings
I’m sure you can probably relate to having a few of those symptoms (most people can)! So we’re going to talk about what foods you should be eating to help get things under control.
Foods that can help balance hormones:
In general, you should be eating lots of fiber (preferably in the form of organic plants) and healthy fats. Specifically, the following are good things to eat to help balance hormones:
Healthy fats. Make sure you’re eating a diet rich in good healthy fats because your body needs quality fats to build hormones. Add foods like nuts, coconut oil, avocado, fish and olives to your diet. And yes butter qualifies as a healthy fat.
Berries. Blueberries, blackberries and cherries are all good sources of flavonoids, which can help balance your hormones. In fact, any foods rich in flavonoids will be good for your hormones, like citrus fruits and red grapes.
Leafy greens. Swiss chard, spinach, kale, beet greens and collard greens are all examples of dark leafy greens that are excellent for hormone regulation.
Cruciferous veggies. Cruciferous veggies, such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, are all excellent for hormone regulation.
Organic foods. Because chemicals can disrupt your hormones, avoid them at all costs by eating organic whenever possible.
To be sure you’re covering all your nutritional bases; consider taking a quality nutritional supplement.
Just as food can help restore hormone imbalance, so, too, can they cause imbalance.
The following foods should be avoided if you’re trying to balance your hormones:
• Soda and energy drinks
• Refined carbs (white pasta, white flour, white rice)
All of these items will wreak havoc on your hormones and are unhealthy for many reasons.
Hormone regulating lifestyle tips
In addition to boosting your nutrition with powerful hormone-balancing foods, you also want to be sure to:
• Drink plenty of water
• Get lots of sleep (at least 8 hours per night)
• Reduce the stresses in your life as best you can (schedule massages and other relaxing activities)
• Be active and get plenty of exercise
Water, sleep and exercise help to regulate hormones and reducing stress prevents adrenal exhaustion which is a common cause of hormonal imbalance.
I’ve noticed a huge difference in my own hormone balance since I adopted a Paleo lifestyle. My skin is better, my moods are more even steven, and my thyroid is happy. I’ve honestly never felt better in my life. You’ll be able to read all about my journey in my new book, Part-Time Paleo: How To Go Paleo Without Going Crazy. In the book, I give my friend Terry Wahls MD a LOT of credit for teaching me how powerful food is! I’m delighted to share with you a program Dr. Wahls and I put together for you, check it out HERE