Hormones play an essential part in our wellbeing and affect fertility, metabolism and menopause. Restore order the natural way with tips and foods that positively influence hormone balance.
Foods can positively influence the balance of female hormones. Phytoestrogens, substances found in plants that have oestrogen-like properties, greatly influence oestrogen levels.
For symptoms associated with menopause, eating a diet high in phytoestrogens may be beneficial as these act in a similar way to the oestrogens in your body. Choose foods such as flaxseeds, chickpeas and fermented whole soy products such as tofu and tempeh.
The vitamin B6 plays an important role in modulating hormones and can greatly improve PMS. Foods containing B6 include fish such as tuna and salmon, as well as vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and asparagus. Wheatgerm is particularly high in this nutrient, as are chickpeas and lentils.
For those who suffer from varying degrees of pain, including cramps, nausea and back spasms, upping your magnesium dose during this stage in your cycle can offer relief.
Studies at the University of Maryland Medical Centre recommend increasing your intake to 360 milligrams daily for the three days leading up to your period, as well as continuing your usual dosage throughout.
Varying levels of magnesium can be found in foods like leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds and cocoa. Bananas, figs and blackberries also contain significant levels of magnesium.
Vitex agnus-castus, commonly known as Chaste tree, has been used since ancient times to support female reproductive system health. It is among one of the most commonly used herbs for supporting hormonal balance and comfort during the premenstrual period.
Vitex has also been known in traditional medicine to support skin health and can be used to provide support to the body for general wellbeing.
For a high quality, high potency Vitex agnus-castus supplement, try the Greenridge Once Daily Vitex 1500 here. (Integria Healthcare, Auckland)
As with any supplement it is advised that you always read the label and use as directed, or consult your healthcare practitioner if you are interested in its potential benefits.
Spice up the flavour
Cinnamon and licorice are a combination often used in the treatment of conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) due to their combined influence on hormones. These are best used in herbal form but the consumption of good quality licorice as well good quality cinnamon can provide some support. It is best to consult your naturopath on the use of these herbs. Licorice should also be avoided in people with high blood pressure and should not be used for long periods in any case.
Maca powder can assist in restoring balance among to glands and their associated hormones. It is ideal if you’re unsure which hormone is out of balance as it will regulate rather than increase or reduce the production of a specific hormone. Only take half the recommended dose to begin with, as it can initially cause an exacerbation of symptoms.
Keep it fresh
As the food chain is responsible for providing a number of xenoestrogens, choosing good quality produce will keep these to a minimum. The exposure to xenoestrogens (foreign oestrogens introduced to the body from outside sources) in the food chain, cleaning or cosmetic products and plastics, interfere with the action of natural hormones in the body.
Look after your liver
The liver has a huge role to play in your body’s overall wellbeing. Essentially acting as a filter, the important organ removes harmful material from the bloodstream, helping to digest food by converting nutrients into essential blood components. The liver also acts to fight infections, filter bacteria and maintain a hormonal balance.
Quality sleep along with regular exercise will also aid healthy hormone production. Experts at John Hopkins University found that women who experienced irregular and inadequate sleep patterns were more likely to experience exacerbated symptoms during and leading up to menstruation.