Written by: Dr. Vishaala Singh, ND
Ladies, May is ‘Women’s Health Month’ and in honour of all you amazing women out there, I’d like to share some tips on how you can improve your hormonal health naturally.
Hormone imbalances can cause a host of unpleasant symptoms. Irregular/absent menstrual cycles, severe cramping or excessive bleeding can make your period anxiety-inducing. Other symptoms include mood swings that take you on an emotional roller-coaster every month, sneaky weight gain, brain fog, headaches, low libido, and fertility struggles. But despite what you’ve been told, these problems are not normal. Your menstrual cycle acts as an important indicator of your overall health and when your hormones are balanced, your periods should be symptom-free.
So what can you do to improve your hormonal health?
Support your detox pathways. Eat vegetables from the Brassicae family (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, bok choy etc.) or take supplements such as milk thistle to aid your liver in getting rid of excess hormones.
Improve your digestion. Low stomach acid, gut bacteria imbalances, and low fibre intake can all contribute to constipation. Constipation can cause increased reabsorption of hormones into your blood stream leading to issues such as estrogen dominance. Taking digestive enzymes or apple cider vinegar before meals can increase stomach acid and improve digestion. Taking probiotics and increasing fibre (as well as water) intake can increase the frequency of healthy bowel movements.
Decrease your exposure to xenoestrogens by choosing organic, ton-toxic products. Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that act like estrogen in the body. They are found in many personal hygiene products, cleaning products, scented candles, perfumes, plastics, meat and dairy products, and pesticides on fruit and vegetables. Check out these two links for specific cosmetic ingredients to avoid and foods to buy organic:
Build better hormonal health with herbs. Adding medicinal herbs to your health routine is one of the best ways to balance your hormones. Vitex is an example of a herb that has natural hormone-balancing properties, while adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha or rhodiola can provide stress relief and PMS support.
Use your diet to support your hormones. Seed cycling is an effective way to improve your hormones and regulate your menstrual cycle. Seed cycling involves eating 1 tablespoon each of ground flax and pumpkin seeds on days 1-14 of your cycle, and 1 tablespoon of ground sunflower and sesame seeds on days 15-28 of your cycle. Check out the “No Bake Energy Bites” recipe for an easy way to incorporate these seeds into your diet!