3 ways to optimize your diet for hormonal health
When your hormones are out of balance, your mental and physical health inevitably suffer. Imbalanced hormones often lead to fatigue, sleep disturbances, weight gain, irregular menstruation, and mood disorders.
The good news is that there are many steps you can take to optimize your hormone health, and this can start with your diet. While there are many factors that can lead to hormone imbalances, such as insulin resistance, stress, an underactive thyroid, and environmental toxins, optimizing your nutrition and gut health is one way your body can regulate its natural production of hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone.
1. Pay attention to your nutrient-intake
Cleaning up your diet can bring the body back into a state of wellness. Here’s what to keep in mind:
Ensure you’re getting enough protein. I recommend lean, organic, grass-fed animal protein, free-range eggs, nuts and seeds and legumes and wild-caught fish. Adequate protein helps to balance blood sugars and provides energy for hormone production and healthy immune function.
Include dietary fats, which help to reduce inflammation in the body. Adequate intake of fats helps improve mood and memory, ease PMS symptoms, and aid fertility. Healthy fats are also the building blocks for your hormones.
Include supplements, such as B-vitamins, magnesium, vitamin D, and iodine in your diet. These supplements help with sleep, supporting the stress response, reducing inflammation and a healthy thyroid gland.
Avoid dairy, especially for those who struggle with endometriosis, and symptoms of estrogen dominance, such as heavy, painful periods, fibrocystic breasts, or uterine fibroids.
2. Balance Blood Sugar
Balancing blood sugar levels is crucial in reversing insulin resistance. When you have insulin resistance, you often carry weight around your central abdomen, have intense sugar and carb cravings, have acne or thinning hair, and have difficulty losing weight. Balancing your blood sugars is especially important for PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Reduce your intake of sugar and simple carbohydrates to ease these symptoms.
3. Support Gut Function
Hormones are detoxified first in the liver, and then the colon. If your digestive system is out of whack, this can enhance your dominance of estrogen, causing mood swings and difficult periods. Support your gut health by including a high-quality probiotic into your diet, eating fermented foods, and minimizing your sugar, dairy and gluten intake. Another tip is to add a digestive enzyme supplement before each meal to help your body better absorb nutrients.