Women’s Health: Eat to balance hormones

by | Aug 28, 2023 | Hormones

While everyone should eat a variety of nourishing whole foods – eating right is especially important when it comes to women’s health. In particular, hormonal health.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers and influence our physical, mental, and emotional wellness. When things go awry hormonally, women can suffer.  Everything from infertility to breast cancer to relentless symptoms of menopause.  Symptoms of hormonal imbalance include: breast tenderness, bloating, water retention, heavy or painful or irregular periods, mood swings, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, and menopausal symptoms like vaginal dryness, night sweats, hot flashes, forgetfulness and even depression. While symptoms can range in severity, they should never be ignored.

The building blocks of hormones

A well-nourished brain and body optimizes hormonal health and increase a woman’s resilience during times of hormonal fluctuation.  If your diet is deficient in vitamins, lacks essential fats, or results in poor blood-sugar control there is an increased likelihood of experiencing unpleasant symptoms of hormonal fluctuations. A healthy diet that includes all the necessary building blocks of hormones and neurotransmitters will keep a woman healthy and happy at every stage of life.

The best diet for overall women’s health is one that includes the right kind of carbohydrates, provides adequate protein, healthy fat, and has lots AND LOTS of fibre. Include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure you are getting all the necessary vitamins, minerals and protective phytonutrients. This diet will protect a woman’s heart, keep blood sugar in check, balance hormones, and help to prevent cancer.

Rebalance hormones with a balanced diet

Tips for a diet that supports Women’s health:

  • Eat high quality protein with every meal. On average, aim to get between 20 and 30 grams of protein per meal. More if you exercise. Choose eggs, lean unprocessed meat and poultry, wild fish, and plant-based protein.
  • Include plant-based protein. Because when you do, you are serving up extra vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients that you will not get from animal-based protein. Good examples of plant-based protein are:
    • White, black or kidney beans – 16 grams per cup
    • Lentils – 17 grams per cup
    • Chickpeas – 14 grams per cup
    • Quinoa – 8 grams per cup
    • Peas – 11 grams per cup
    • Tofu – 20 grams per cup
    • Edamame – 12 grams per cup
  • Include fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha to help balance gut bacteria. Gut health is essential to helping your body properly metabolize estrogen.
  • Eat a minimum of 25 -35 grams of fibre per day. Fiber is so important to ensure proper elimination of estrogen and plays an important role in cardiovascular and intestinal health. Great sources include:
    • Beans
    • Nuts
    • Milled flax and other seeds
    • Fruits and Vegetables
    • Whole grains
  • Ensure adequate intake of healthy fat. Especially Omega 3 fatty acids. Some examples of healthy fat include salmon, avocados, olive oil, walnuts, coconut oil, ground flax and chia seeds.
  • Reduce processed and refined foods which are a main source of sodium, refined sugars and unhealthy processed fats.
  • Seek the support a qualified nutritionist. Take it one step at a time and remember – small changes can make a big difference over time!

So much depends on hormonal health.  From your metabolism and energy levels to reproduction and your risk of chronic disease.  So, if you are struggling with hormonal symptoms like those reference above, consider a diet style that supports happy and balanced hormones.

Amanda Janes, Natural Nutrition Clinical Practitioner is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist practising in Conception Bay South, NL. As a cancer survivor and busy Mom of 4 she knows how vital (and challenging!) good nutrition can be. Her passion is helping her clients overcome obstacles to healthy eating in ways that are practical and delicious. Contact her today: amanda@conceptnutrition.ca

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