The reality of good nutrition
HORMONES AND DIGESTION
Please note that the tips and advice I give are general only. I cannot deal with specific conditions, as everyone is an individual. Please consult your GP or a local Nutritional Therapist for detailed advice.
Like so many women, I used to suffer with severe PMS. I had it for years and it was affecting every aspect of my life, so I decided I would do something about it. I wanted to try and treat mine naturally and it is this that started me on my journey of nutrition. By making changes to my diet and using supplements, I cured myself. Whether you have PMS, are going through the menopause or have one of the many female conditions that we can develop, such as fibroids, polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis to name just a few. There are four key things that you can do that are essential to getting your hormones into balance.
This may all sound complicated and a bit scientific. Scientific it is, complicated it is not, however, at times it may take willpower and it won’t happen overnight, but if you start making considered changes to what you eat, you will feel better. I am also not a complete bore and do understand that we all like a glass of wine or two, the odd takeaway or even the odd chocolate bar. Don’t deprive yourself of anything, but try sticking to the 80/20 rule; be good 80% of the time and you can’t go too wrong.
It really is as simple as watching what you eat and making changes to eating foods that are natural and nutritious. Make sure you don’t over indulge on refined sugar (or avoid it all together), not putting your liver under undue stress with too much alcohol or eating very rich fatty or fried foods, but eating foods that will support it, such as green leafy veg (broccoli, cabbage, pak choi, kale, chard etc.) Finally think about what happens to you when you eat, if there are changes, you may have some digestive issues. Answer the following questions:
If you have answered yes to at least 2 of the above, you more than likely have some form of digestive issue. This could be caused by the foods that you eat or even how you eat your food; digestion starts in the mouth. Be mindful when you eat and think about what you are eating rather than eating on the run. Sit down to eat and eat food that requires a knife & fork rather than food that can be eaten with your hands and don’t forget to chew your food. You should be chewing your food a minimum of ten times (20-30 for meat) until the food almost becomes liquid. This will help the stomach to start breaking down the food more easily and it will not sit for long periods because it is too big to digest. Identify foods that you react to and try to avoid them for a couple of weeks to see if this makes any difference, then slowly introduce them back. Do not self-diagnose and do not eliminate large food groups, this may lead to nutrient deficiencies.
You may be wondering why I am talking so much about digestion and what it has to do with hormones, the answer is, a lot. You are not what you eat, but ‘what you absorb’. Foods that support your liver, like green leafy veg, will help to support the detoxification process and clear the hormones that are making you feel awful each month. High blood sugar and high insulin caused by too much sugar can keep your cortisol levels high, making you feel even more stressed. Poor digestive issues may mean that you are not absorbing the right nutrients and this too could be affecting your hormones, causing low moods as well low energy. Certain foods release their nutrient value when chewed, so if you are not going through the chewing process you could be missing out on valuable nutrients. More importantly, over 70% of your immune system starts in the gut, so these digestive issues may be reducing your immune response. This too will have an effect on your hormones as they body will not be functioning adequately. Do you regularly feel unwell?
One way you can support your digestion along with nutritious food, is to take a probiotic. These are good bacteria that help to feed the gut and restore equilibrium. If you take lots of antibiotics, they will kill off both the good and bad bacteria causing the gut flora to become imbalanced. A probiotic will help to maintain this balance. Probiotics can be taken with other medicines. My favourite is Bio-Kult Advanced strain. Always take with food.
Hopefully this will start you thinking about your eating habits to get your hormones back on track.
N.B: I am not paid to endorse any products. My recommendations are from experience only