If you experience PMT, depression/anxiety, bloating, weight gain, PCOS, endometriosis or menopause there’s a good chance your hormones may be out of whack. Oestrogen dominance is one of the most common hormone imbalances & fertility issues I see in clinic. This is when oestrogen, a sex hormone is in excess to progesterone.
Oestrogen overload contributes to young girls hitting puberty early, weight-gain, bloating, thyroid dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, fertility issues, low sperm count, immune dysfunction, auto-immune conditions and chronic diseases. For more information on why so many suffer from oestrogen dominance click here.
The good news is there’s a lot you can do from a diet & life style point of view to balance your hormones & optimise your fertility.
Here are my 7 tips to re-balance your hormones:
1. Eat wholefoods - eat foods as nature intended. I.e., without processing, manipulation and the addition of hormones, preservatives & chemicals. Load up on vegetables, fruits, oily fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.
2. Choose organic where possible, as there are less chemicals and hormones in organic foods. Always opt for organic poultry to avoid additional hormones that the animals have eaten or been exposed to.
The Environmental Working Group have two lists that divide common foods into those that are heavily sprayed with chemicals (The Dirty Dozen) and those that receive minimal toxic sprays (The Clean 15).
If you want to make the switch to buying organic foods but don’t know where to start, or you’re a bit strapped for cash then this list is for you, as you can get away with eating some conventional veggies and fruits from the supermarket.
Here’s a list of the ‘Dirty Dozen’, aka the foods most highly sprayed and therefore the ones to try to buy organic - apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries & capsicum/ bell peppers.
3. Eat a diet high in magnesium; it balances hormones by supporting healthy progesterone production. Magnesium is also called “Nature’s Tranquilliser” for its anti-stress & anti-anxiety properties. Try to eat cacao everyday. ‘Really?’ you’re thinking. Yep, because cacao is raw, unprocessed chocolate, which is the highest wholefood source of magnesium on the planet. Try adding a tablespoon of cacao powder or cacao nibs to your diet each day. Cacao nibs can be added to muesli, smoothies, yoghurt, salads, or enjoyed as a snack.
Other foods high in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, kelp, nuts (especially almonds, brazil nuts & pecans), fish, crab, lentils, garlic and nettle.
4. Reduce chemicals, preservatives & xeno-oestrogens, which are synthetic oestrogens found in our environment, including pesticides, plastic (incl. plastic drinking bottles), petroleum, tap water and the oral contraceptive pill.
5. Increase your fats - Since hormones are produced using fats & cholesterol you need to include good-quality essential fatty acids in your diet. Include eggs, avocado, flaxseed, walnuts, coconuts and oily fish - salmon, trout, herring, tuna & sardines.
6. Increase your intake of water - Without sculling numerous bottles of water make a conscious effort to increase your hydration by upping your intake of soups, broths, herbal teas and fresh juices, as well as fresh water. This will support liver health & promote detoxification pathways.
7. R & R - If you’re exposed to chronic or prolonged stress it often causes an increase in cortisol, a stress hormone, which can cause blood sugar irregularities & can eventually contribute to insulin resistance, diabetes, weight gain & hormone imbalances such as PCOS. Hence, some rest & relaxation may be just what the Naturopath ordered. Now there’s every excuse for a beach holiday, a good book and some raw chocolate!
If you need any professional support or advice on your symptoms or hormone health you can get in touch with me here.
Olivia McFadyen, based in Mosman on Sydney's Lower North Shore, is a qualified Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Herbalist and Homoeopath. Whilst Olivia is a qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist, she is also a realist and understands the demands of modern day life, offering nutrition, herbal medicine and homoeopathic consultations and support without compromising on the enjoyment food can bring. She is passionate about supporting patients to reach their lifestyle goals, optimise their health & develop a healthy yet balanced way of life through naturopathy and homoeopathy. She services her clients by offering 4 and 12 week natural health programs from her clinic in Mosman on Sydney's Lower North Shore.