Nutrition Tips for Hormone Health

We all use the word hormone/hormones/hormonal regularly. How often to you hear someone saying "it's the hormones" or "she's very hormonal"? But do we actually realise exactly what our hormones do and how critical they are to our overall health, wellbeing and functioning. Our Endocrine system is made up of Endocrine glands (for example thyroid and pituitary gland) and these glands produce hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that travel throughout our bloodstream to our tissues and organs. Hormones are involved in a number of different processes throughout our body including growth, metabolism, digestion, blood circulation, body temperature, sexual function, reproduction and mood. Hormones are extremely specific in what they do and can easily be put out of whack due to factors such as poor diet, poor circulation, medications, toxins, inflammation and so on and so forth. Balancing our hormones can seem tricky but here are some tips which can make a big, positive, change to our hormone health

 

1. Anti-inflammatory foods:

Salmon Omega 3

Inflammation is crucial as a response to injury or illness, it lets us know that there is a problem and helps us heal. However chronic, prolonged inflammation can wreak havoc in our bodies and is the cause of a number of problems and conditions including hormonal imbalances. Foods rich in omega-3 boast high anti-inflammatory properties, these include oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. If fish doesn't float your boat, vegetarian and vegan omega-3 options are chia seeds, walnuts and flaxseed (also known as linseed). Rosemary, aloe vera, pineapple, and turmeric are all potent anti-inflammatories. You can also supplement with fish oils to boost omega 3 and there are also vegetarian options

 

2. Fat

 

Avocado Healthy Fats

We need fat for healthy hormone production. This doesn't mean any type of fat, we're talking healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, is a medium-chain fatty acid which supports a healthy metabolism (as well as being anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial). Egg yolks, once deemed the baddies, are full of essential vitamins and minerals for hormone health, cholesterol is also essential for hormone production 

 

3. Organic

Organic Food

Pesticides are regularly used on non-organic fruit and vegetables. Anti-biotics are also found in non-organic meat. These are hormone disruptors and can contribute to hormone imbalance. By choosing organic produce, you are reducing your toxic load. Also by choosing organic you are supporting animal welfare 

 

4. Gut Health

Probiotic Foods

You might think we're always banging on about the importance of gut health (and you're right!), but there is a reason for this. Hormones are produced by nutrients including selenium, vitamin E, iron, iodine, B vitamins, to name but a few, if our gut isn't in rude health then it's quite likely that you aren't  absorbing these important nutrients that keep our hormonal system balanced and healthy. Gut boosting foods are live yogurt and other fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi, these contain probiotics (friendly bacteria). Prebiotcs are also important as they are needed to feed probiotics. Artichoke, onions, leeks and beets are all sources of probiotics. If fermented foods aren't an option for you, you can supplement with probiotics 

 

5. Liver Support

Milk Thistle

Liver, our bodies powerhouse, plays a vital role in the utilization of hormones. Because our liver has an endless number of jobs to do, it needs to be supported as best as possible, through good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Organ meats are liver loving foods, yes liver is good for your liver! Liver is a storage unit for essential nutrients that give your body the tools to eliminate toxins. But remember to choose organic liver and other organ meats where antibiotics and added hormones have not been used.  Other ways to support the liver is by starting the day with a cup of warm water with fresh lemon juice, adequate water intake throughout the day is also essential to give our liver a helping hand. Milk Thistle is a herb which promotes detoxification and a healthy liver

 

6. Circulation

Dark Chocolate

 

Because hormones travel through our bloodstream, if you don't have adequate circulation then this can stop your hormones from getting where they need to go. Exercise is an excellent way to increase circulation. Dry brushing is also a fantastic, easy, quick and cost effective way to get your circulation going and stimulate lymphatic flow. A cold shower is also another circulatory booster. Foods which are beneficial for good circulation and cardiovascular health include, oats, celery, garlic, onions, dark chocolate

 

7. Maca

Maca

 

We commonly see this in powder form, but Maca is actually a root vegetable which is native to Peru and is part of the radish family, it is commonly available in powder form.  Maca has been shown to be extremely effective for fertility health, lessening symptoms of PMS and menopausal disorders and promoting overall hormonal health by balancing oestrogen and progesterone levels. And if this isn't enough, Maca also has adaptogenic properties which means it helps provide support to our adrenal system, which in turn helps our body deal with stress more effectively. What's not to love? Maca is available in a convenient powder form.

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