Hormones; we all have them and we are all affected by them. Last week we started to dive into the subject of hormones in our skin post but this week we want to talk about the internal support needed for proper balance. This is for all our menstruating friends who were told in middle/high school health classes that you are to grin and bear the symptoms around your periods. We also often get pressure from doctors that prescription medications are the only way to balance and regulate periods and painful symptoms. What if that doesn't resonate with you? Or what if there was another option to choose from? Our food, lifestyle, beauty and household products choice can all have an effect on how our hormones react. Whether you are dealing with infertility, PCOS, or monthly breakouts we believe you can start to heal yourself and restore balance from within. You do not have to suffer through your monthly cycle. By tuning into what our bodies need, making mindful decisions about our food and taking time out for ourselves you can start to manage your monthly flow with ease! Here are 4 key suggestions to jump-start your hormonal balance:
1 - Balance blood sugar - Keeping your blood sugar stabilized throughout the day can help keep hormones in check throughout the month. If all of your meals, we suggest 3 plus, and snacks came from real whole foods, you will immediately notice a more stable balance in your cravings and energy. When insulin spikes or lowers, sex hormones that help balance testosterone production and estrogen production get quickly thrown off. This can lead to heavy cramping, mood swings, or fatigue and in premenopausal/menopausal women - night sweats and hot flashes! To set yourself up for balancing blood sugar find time once a week to meal prep a few lunches and dinners, stock up on healthy snacks such as nuts and seeds, hummus, or fruit. And remember to always have breakfast within an hour of waking up. It doesn't have to be extreme as a simple bowl of fruit can do the trick. Just make sure to then bring a smoothie or toast to the office with you to make sure you aren't skipping it and jumping to coffee to fill up.
2 - Up your omegas - Omega 3 can help reduce symptoms such as PMS and cramps. Up your daily dose by including foods such as walnuts, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, fish such as salmon, and try sauteeing your favorite vegetables with coconut oil. You can also add in a supplement to your daily care when the symptoms are feeling a bit extra. Another Omega of choice for hormone balance is evening primrose. Evening primrose is rich in Omega 6 and can help with so many hormone imbalances such as bloating to hormone-related breakouts. They also can act as a carrier for vitamins A, D, E and K.
3 - Avoid processed foods, sugar, and dairy. Fill your day with meals full of leafy greens, healthy fats, fiber-rich foods, and plant-based protein or organic sustainable fish and meat. Refined sugars cause a spike in insulin while complex carbs, fiber, and healthy fats provide a gradual increase in insulin, helping to keep your blood sugar in check and hormones balanced. Dairy also can cause inflammation internally and disrupts our cycle. A lot of antibiotics fed to cows throws off our microbiome (gut health) which leads to lowered immunity and a disruption in estrogen production. So start by crowding out the bad with the good with at least one handful of leafy greens with each meal.
4 - Up your self-care to manage your stress. Stress management is key to balanced health. Cortisol is the hormone released when we experience stress since it’s our fight or flight response. Spikes in cortisol levels lead to hormonal imbalance, missed periods, trouble conceiving, early spotting, and cramping. We like to suggest everyone keep a daily journal, and whether you sit down to it for 2 mins in the morning or an hour in the evening, use it as a tool to vent, dream, plan, and express yourself. Daily meditation can also help reduce stress internally, or even implementing deep breaths throughout the day can help. Exercise or taking time out of your week to meet with a healer (facialist, acupuncture, reiki or other) all helps manage stress over time.
The best way for us to sum up hormonal imbalances is to always remember hormone balance is a chain reaction. All systems must be working in harmony and you must be in tune with your bodies needs to stay in balance. Start today with a few of our suggestions, keep a journal and reach out if you feel you are needing some extra support! Comment below with any questions you may have and we look forward to bringing more hormone health talk next week.