In our modern society, more and more women are experiencing sex hormone imbalances. In other words, their levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are out of whack, leading to poor health, low energy and even infertility. Some causes of these imbalances include high amounts of stress, lack of sleep, environmental toxicity, poor gut health, inflammation, and genetic susceptibility.
Regular symptoms of hormone imbalances include irregular menstrual cycles, horrible PMS symptoms, migraines, anxiety, insomnia, increased facial hair and more. If any of these symptoms sound familiar, you can take the quiz at the end of this blog developed by Dr. Mark Hyman as a starting point to see if your sex hormone imbalance is mild, moderate or severe.
Sex hormone imbalances are not only uncomfortable and decrease quality of life, but they also increase risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and breast cancer. In other words, it’s very important for your current and long term health to get these hormones balanced! A question we get a lot in the clinic is “How can I balance my hormones without taking medication?” So, I’ve answered your question with 4 steps to naturally create balanced hormones using nutrition:
1. Eat high quality fats
Healthy fats are vital for balanced hormones because they contain the building blocks your body uses to create hormones. In other words, without healthy fats in your diet, your body can’t produce and balance sex hormones to keep you fertile and glowing! Include at least 2 servings of the following high quality fats daily: avocados, egg yolks, flax or chia seeds, walnuts, coconut oil, and cold water fish harvested from the wild.
2. Eat protein at each meal
Eating a clean source of protein at each meal allows your body to stabilize blood sugar levels. This is vital for hormone balancing since blood sugar imbalances lead to the hormone cortisol spiking and dropping. These spikes and dips put a lot of stress on your body, creating inflammation that further imbalances sex hormones. Some examples of clean protein include eggs, fish, lean poultry, chickpeas and lentils.
3. Cut down on refined and high-glycemic index carbohydrates.
Eliminating refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, white rice, bread and foods made with white flour, such as muffins, bagels, pasta, pretzels and other snack foods, helps the body burn stored fat and keeps insulin and blood sugar levels normal. As discussed previously, is necessary to keep inflammation at bay at hormones balanced.
4. Watch Alcohol intake
Alcohol is not often considered when looking at nutrition that affects hormones. However, alcohol consumption has been found to contribute to elevated estrogen levels, lower testosterone, contribute to anxiety and increase risk of liver disease. Avoiding alcohol completely is a simple way to help your body balance its hormones naturally.
Sex hormones don’t become imbalanced overnight, and balancing them again can take time and patience. However, your diet is the foundation that is vital to rebalancing your hormones, and is something you have control to modify. So, do your best to stick with these recommendations and reach out for help if you need it!
If you have any questions about this article or would like help navigating your journey to optimal health, feel free to contact Colleen Rempel, Certified Holistic Nutritionist at Winnipeg Nutrition. (Phone: 204-952-7982 or Email: email@example.com)
Questionnaire: Do You Struggle with Out-of-Balance Sex Hormones?
Answer yes or no to the following questions:
I have premenstrual syndrome.
I have monthly weight fluctuation.
I have edema, swelling, puffiness, or water retention.
I feel bloated.
I have headaches.
I have mood swings.
I have tender, enlarged breasts.
I am depressed.
I feel unable to cope with ordinary demands.
I have backaches, joint, or muscle pain.
I have premenstrual food cravings (especially sugar or salt).
I have irregular cycles, heavy bleeding, or light bleeding.
I am infertile.
I use birth-control pills or other hormones.
I have premenstrual migraines.
I have breast cysts or lumps or fibrocystic breasts.
I have a family history of breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer.
I have uterine fibroids.
I have peri-menopausal symptoms (hot flashes, mood swings, headaches, irregular cycles, heavy bleeding, fluid retention, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness, brain fog, muscle and joint pain, low sex drive, weight gain).
I have hot flashes.
I feel anxious.
I have night sweats.
I have insomnia.
I have lost my sex drive.
I have dry skin, hair, and/ or vagina.
I have heart palpitations.
I have trouble with memory or concentration.
I have bloating or weight gain around the middle.
I have facial hair.
I have been exposed to pesticides or heavy metals (in the food, water, and/ or air).
Score one point for every time you answered “yes,” and then check out how you scored using the scale below:
0 to 9 – You may have a mild sex hormone imbalance.
10 to 14 – You may have a moderate sex hormone imbalance.
15 or more – You may have a severe sex hormone imbalance.