How to use nutrition to balance your hormones

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We've all heard the term 'feeling hormonal' but what does it really mean and can you control it?

Hormonal woman - upset and crying woman - running mascara - hair rollers - day bag - handbag.com

© Getty - Handbag

If you are feeling particularly hormonal of late, and can't explain quite why, it may be down to an imbalance caused by your lifestyle. Isn't being a woman just wonderful?

Common symptoms associated with hormonal issues are; mood swings, weight gain, low energy, water retention, hot flashes and the list goes on. These myriad health issues which affect your quality of life are often the direct result of improper dietary and lifestyle choices.

Elizabeth Montgomery, a London-based Holistic Nutritional Therapist explains, "The key hormones vital for women's health are: estrogen and progesterone which are made in the ovaries, and adrenals post menopause.

In health, estrogen is predominant during the first half of the menstrual cycle, and progesterone is predominant in the second half. Unfortunately, in modern western women maintaining adequate progesterone levels is increasingly rare. There are multiple reasons for these hormones going out of balance which leads to an excess of estrogen in the body. This results in an increasingly common condition called: Estrogen Dominance."

Some of the leading causes are thought to be...

  1. Food sprayed with pesticides

  2. Soy products

  3. Birth control pills

  4. Environmental toxins

  5. Eating animals injected with steroid hormones

  6. Beauty products containing toxic chemicals

  7. Tap water containing toxic compounds

  8. Inadequate sleep

"In order to address hormonal issues, basic detoxification, nutrient and lifestyle requirements must be met on a regular basis," explains Elizabeth. "This in turn will also provide the foundational building blocks for hormonal health."

Top tips for healthy hormones


1. Love your liver
The liver is the body's main organ of detoxification and is responsible for converting hormones and eliminating old estrogen from the body. It's very important to cut down on food and drinks that challenge the liver such as; bad rancid fats and oils, excess animal protein, glutenous grains, dairy and alcohol.

Instead add liver-enhancing foods into your diet such as: green vegetables, beetroot, artichokes, onions, garlic and add lemon and olive oil dressing to your salads.

2. Detoxify
"In this day and age, everyone requires periodic detoxification due to chemicals found in our food and environment," says Elizabeth. "Take time out to detox at least twice a year and be sure to include; alkalising green vegetable juices, dry skin brushing to stimulate lymph flow, and dry or infra red saunas to remove deeply embedded toxins.

Add in key detoxifying super-foods like; chlorella, wheatgrass juice and sea weed which help remove heavy metals from the body."

3. Get adequate sleep
"Hormones are regulated by the circadian rhythm which is the sleep/wake cycle. Make sure to go to bed before midnight and aim for at least 7-8 hours per night.

Avoid caffeine which can disrupt sleep patterns, or reduce it down to one cup of green tea before noon each day. Avoid bright lights, and working on your computer in the evening which can disrupt melatonin production - the hormone needed for quality sleep."

4. Eat healthy fats
Be sure to Include wholesome saturated fats like avocados and coconut oil into your diet which are very important for hormone production. Also, include omega 3 supplements from krill or vegan algae oil - for healthy cell membranes and hormone regulation.

5. Go organic
Eat organic foods as much as possible to avoid pesticides - known hormonal disruptors. Aim to include some life enhancing organic raw foods and sprouts into your diet for optimum nutrient intake necessary for hormonal health.

6. Eat cruciferous vegetables
Include plenty of vegetables from the cabbage family such as; kale, radishes, broccoli and cauliflower. They contain indole-3-carbinol compounds which help to clear excess estrogen from the body.

For more from Elizabeth Montgomery, visit holisticnutrition.co.uk

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