New Year, New You – Start balancing your hormones in 5 easy steps this year.
A lot of us have New Year’s resolutions. And let me guess, is one of them eating healthier or being healthier for you? This is my New Year’s resolution too! Knowing that hormonal balance is an indicator of a good health, starting your health journey there could be a great strategy for new year. Ok, but how does it feel to have your hormones in balance?
- Feeling refreshed and having a lot of energy throughout the day
- Being in a good mood and not feeling anxious or depressed
- Having deep restorative sleep
- Waking up rested
- Clear and hydrated skin
- Maintaining healthy weight
- Good digestion with no bloating or excess gas
- Daily bowel movements
- Warm hands and feet
- Strong libido
- No PMS and having healthy and regular cycle
Don’t worry if you feel it’s not you when reading the above. Especially after December and the craziness of Christmas, we cannot blame ourselves that our hormones might be out of whack.
So what can we do to feel better fast and make sure that our next cycle is smoother and our energy picks up? With these 5 steps eliminate anxiety, lose weight & boost energy, naturally.
1. Increase Vegetables & Fruits
I know it sounds so obvious but bear with me. Vegetables and fruits are sources of antioxidants which reduce inflammation and stress in your body. They increase energy as they are healthy sources of carbohydrates, especially root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and turnips.
Leafy veg such as spinach, kale, rocket are great sources of nutrients which provide energy too due to good levels of B vitamins and Magnesium. Magnesium also supports the nervous system and reduces anxiety.
Eat at least a few portions of cruciferous vegetables weekly such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and kale. Cruciferous vegetables enhance the liver’s capacity to detoxify. Also, vegetables and fruits are great sources of fibre, which support microbiome diversity.
Hormones have high requirements for certain nutrients, especially vitamin A/C/D/E. Increase yellow, orange and red vegetables and fruits like sweet potatoes, red and yellow pepper, apricots or mangos.
Cover your plate with 50-75% vegetables. Starches can be a starchy vegetable like squash or potatoes, or ½-1 cup of gluten free grain.
Remember that more variety is better for your health as different vegetables and fruits increase the diversity of our microbiome and improve our overall health especially our immune and hormonal systems.
2. Eat Mindfully
Make sure you eat slowly. Being in a hurry literally stops digestion in its tracks. Chewing your food longer breaks it down more which helps your stomach digest it. This way we enable further nutrient absorption.
A lot of us eat in a rush while checking our phones or watching TV forgetting about chewing properly.
Slowing down is also one of the best ways we can get our mind and body to communicate what we really need for nutrition. The body actually sends its satiation signal about 20 minutes after the brain, which is why we often unconsciously overeat. But, if we slow down, you can give your body a chance to catch up to your brain and hear the signals to eat the right amount. Notice how much you chew when you have a next meal and try to increase it to 10 times or moew with each food bite until the food dissolves in your mouth and you can’t help but swallow it.
A healthy water intake helps with elimination of toxins. You will not feel better and have your hormones under control if you are dehydrated. Water helps us flush out used up hormones and also replenishes, cleanses and regenerates all cells and organs. Drinking at least 2 Litres or 8 cups of fluid each day is one of the best ways to maintain healthy digestion and therefore reduce bloating too. The need for water may change depending on how much exercise you do, the weather or how much dehydrating drinks you consume.
Coffee, black tea, sugar, salty food, alcohol and air-conditioned spaces are all dehydrating. Make sure you drink water throughout the day to avoid thirst which is an indication that you are already dehydrated. Herbal teas such as mint or chamomile, fruits and vegetables have high water content and count towards your daily water intake.
4. Meal Planning
How often have you started following a healthy eating plan only to be forced to make unhealthy choices because you didn’t have the right foods in the fridge, you didn’t have time to eat a proper breakfast or make the lunch you wanted to take to work? Without a weekly food plan, it will be pure luck if you end up with the right foods in the fridge or cupboards.
The very first thing you need to do is to find time to sit down and plan your meals. Pick a day and time to do it weekly. I usually do it on Sundays. I have a few handy meal and shopping planners for you to make that job easier.. Just email me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org and I am going to send you one. You can even add the ingredients to your shopping list as you go.
Start meal prepping by batch cooking at weekends and freezing or saving for use later on. Divide up portions into glass containers ahead of time so you can grab and go. Another good way to not feel overwhelmed by cooking is doing a bunch of chopping, peeling, slicing, or roasting beforehand and use those prepared ingredients in your meals later on.
If you need some inspiration to plan your hormone friendly meal plan, I actually created a Free 7 Day Meal Plan For Balancing Your Hormones.
5. Balance Your Blood Sugar
One of the most important approaches to improve your hormones is to eat in a way that keeps your blood sugar balanced. High blood sugar and insulin levels are directly linked to PMS, endometriosis, anxiety, fatigue, weight problems and more.
Cortisol (stress hormone) and insulin hormones are the bosses of the endocrine system. If they become imbalanced, they disrupt all other hormones like thyroid hormones, progesterone, oestrogen etc. Insulin and cortisol are the top of hormonal hierarchy because they are ‘life and death’ hormones. They make sure your body has a fuel (from glucose) for energy to live and fight for your life in stressful situations.
However, if we are not careful with what we are eating or we are too stressed, our insulin levels can stay too high for too long or too often because of high blood sugar. High insulin levels aren’t good for us as they can lead to insulin resistance and inflammation which further affects our sex hormones and can cause our immune system to produce excess inflammatory chemicals which are responsible for painful periods, ovulation pain or migraines.
In order to balance our blood sugar we want the food we consume to provide sustained energy, rather than creating a massive spike in blood sugar and then a subsequent crash. Refined carbohydrates, sugar, soft drinks, caffeine and too little protein and fat can all do this to your blood sugar levels.
To avoid blood sugar crashes:
– Reduce sugary and processed foods
– Stay hydrated
– Eat savory breakfast like eggs and veg
– Always eat protein at every meal/snack.
Hi! I’m Marzena
I’m a Nutritional Therapist and Endo Warrior.
I show women with Endometriosis & other hormone imbalances how to use Nutrition and Lifestyle to move from surviving to thriving.
Gain clarity on what to do to feel in balance with your hormones so you can have smooth menstrual cycles, get pregnant naturally, feel full of energy and live the life you deserve.
focuses on the whole person. This means that I try to find a root cause of your health problems by taking a holistic viewpoint assessing your diet, lifestyle, work/life balance, your purpose in the world, toxicity at home, underlying nutritional deficiencies, sleep and relaxation, ongoing stress and more. This all plays into our general health and wellbeing.