We all know that hormones play a huge role in the way we feel and once a month many women struggle with the fluctuation of hormones and the affect this has on mood and emotions.
So how do we understand our hormone cycles to better connect with our bodies and try and control our mood fluctuations, cravings and other symptoms that are caused by this cycle?
Research has proven that there are three key hormones that play a part in women’s monthly cycles; estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These hormones significantly impact your energy levels, mood, food cravings, memory, sexual libido, social interactions and more.
Hormones follow the same rhythmic cycle in each women’s body although can fluctuate at different times and have different side effects. A general guide for how women’s hormones rise and fall throughout the month is below:
Week 1 - Estrogen levels rise
Week 2 - Estrogen and testosterone rise until they peak
Week 3 - Progesterone rises, estrogen and testosterone drop for half the week then estrogen rises again
Week 4 - Estrogen and progesterone plunge
It’s important to start monitoring the way you feel throughout your cycle, any side affects you notice and at what points. This can assist you in determining which hormone levels it may be that are causing you negative side affects and ways in which you can naturally treat these. Hormone deficiencies can cause major problems to your health and lead to serious illnesses.
If you are experiencing extreme hormone symptoms and these are negatively impacting your life, you need to see a professional practitioner and get a full blood test done to monitor your hormone levels. This will determine if you have any abnormal hormone levels or deficiencies and if so determine the best approach to manage these.
It is recommended that you work with both a western medicine practitioner who either has also studied holistic natural therapies or works alongside one such as a naturopath. This will enable you to determine accurately your hormone levels but also treat any imbalances with a natural approach.
Monitoring your food choices and improving this should be the first step in naturally balancing your hormones. There are several ways in which you can improve your nutrition to aid in the balancing of healthy hormone levels. Here are our top tips:
- Introduce fermented foods. Naturally fermented foods aid in healthy gut bacteria and overall hormone health. The population of healthy gut bacteria plays a huge role in regulating hormones, especially estrogen levels. Estrogen dominance and imbalance can lead to PMS, infertility, PCOS, cramps and heavy bleeding. Kombucha, fermented veggies such as sauerkraut and Kefir.
- According to Dr Mercola, un-sprouted grains, sugar or fructose decreases seven of the 12 most important hormones in our system. Aim to eliminate as many of these in your diet as possible.
- Sourcing organic produce and meat, seafood and poultry is critical to ensure you are not ingesting added hormones that are used in the farming of these animals. Absorption of added hormones can cause huge disrupt to your natural cycles and lead to illness.
- Ensure daily intake of healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, un-heated olive oil and nuts.
- Limit your caffeine intake, if you are a coffee drinker try and replace with herbals teas to aid with balancing the endocrine system naturally.
- Reduce alcohol intake, alcohol decreases the human growth hormone (HGH), which is the most powerful anti-ageing hormone we have. Ever noticed why alcoholics age so quickly?
- Increasing your magnesium intake through a supplement or natural foods such as dark leafy greens and cacao will improve your sex hormone levels.
It is not just food that affects hormones – toxicity from skincare products; plastics and environmental toxins will all have long-term affects on your hormones. Remember to reduce toxicity swap skincare, makeup and body products with natural alternatives.
It is critical women reconnect with their bodies and self-monitor how their hormonal cycle affects their mood and overall energy and health levels. Drastic changes in moods, food cravings and emotions are not something that women should have to live with. If you suspect you have a hormone in-balance see a leading healthcare practitioner for testing and a holistic approach to regulating these and re-balancing your overall health and wellness.
Health, Wellness and Lifestyle Coach
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