Do you find yourself grappling with bloating, irritability, and fatigue every month when your period arrives? Are hormonal imbalances affecting your mood, energy levels, and triggering intense cravings? You’re not alone. Many women face these challenges due to fluctuations in their reproductive hormones, which can be quite debilitating for some. The good news is, there’s a lot we can do to alleviate this, and it starts with our diet!
Let’s delve into how the food choices you make can influence your hormonal equilibrium and menstrual cycle, empowering you to make healthier decisions that nurture your well-being.
First, it’s important to understand the pivotal hormones in your menstrual cycle. Oestrogen, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH) are the main actors, working in tandem to regulate ovulation, build and shed the uterine lining, and prepare the body for pregnancy. While mild pre- and during-period symptoms are normal, severe ones can significantly impact your day-to-day life when one or more of these hormones are out of balance. From acne and cramps to mood swings, fatigue, bloating, and those notorious sugar cravings, I often encounter these issues with my clients and have personally experienced them too—until I learned how to support my hormones.
So, how does food come into play?
Your diet can significant influence over your hormonal equilibrium. For instance, essential nutrients like magnesium, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for healthy hormone production. If your diet falls short on these, your body may struggle to produce hormones in the right quantities at the right times.
Once hormones have served their purpose, they need to be metabolised, primarily in the liver. However, if the liver is preoccupied with processing substances like alcohol, caffeine, and additives from processed foods, it might not perform this task optimally. There are specific foods that can bolster liver function, particularly the pathways responsible for oestrogen metabolism.
Finally, spent hormones must be efficiently eliminated from the body. This usually happens through the bowels. If you’re dehydrated, not consuming enough fibre, or dealing with constipation for other reasons, these hormones might be reabsorbed, leading to an overload. This is especially common with oestrogen. An excess of this hormone can lead to many of the issues mentioned above.
Your diet is a pivotal player and could arguably be the most critical factor in harmonising your reproductive hormones and menstrual cycle. By making simple adjustments to your dietary habits, you can support your hormonal balance and significantly alleviate the impact of menstrual symptoms on your overall well-being.
Stay tuned for my upcoming newsletter, where I’ll be sharing my top tips on optimising hormonal health. Let me know if you’d like a copy!