Friday, 4 April 2014

Tips To Balance Your Hormones

Do you have symptoms like fatigue, skin issues, weight gain, weight around the middle, trouble sleeping, always sleeping, PMS, endometriosis, infertility, PCOS or other issues?  If so, it probably means that your hormones are out of balance.  This is something I have struggled with a lot throughout my teenage years and after lots of trial and error, I think I’ve managed to find ways in which to help me keep them balanced and I would like to share them with you. 

1. Avoid "white" foods
Try your best to stay clear of eating refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, white rice, bread, alcohol, and foods made with white flour, such as white pasta, white bread, cakes, biscuits etc.
2. Load up on Omega-3 fatty acids
Foods rich in Omega 3:  Oily fish, such as salmon and sardines, chia seeds, flax seeds and walnuts. I also take a daily Omega D3 supplement.
3. Avoid high omega-6 polyunsaturated fats
Many commercial oils contain omega-6 fats which lead to heart disease, and hormonal imbalance. Examples of oils to avoid: vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine, or other chemically altered fats. Choose fats/oils like coconut oil, real butter, olive oil (don’t heat it) and animal fats.
4. Avoid Caffeine
I LOVE coffee but I’ve sadly learnt that it is no good for my hormones!  Too much caffeine can cause havoc on the endocrine system so I would advise steering clear of it.   Try and swap it for herbal teas or find a good alternative.  A great organic caffeine-free coffee alternative I’ve discovered is Barley coffee, made with Italian barley and ground chicory http://www.organicsupermarket.ie/shop/product/wole-earth-no-caf-barley-coffee-100g.

5. Eat healthy fats
Eating healthy sources of saturated fat is the best way to boost hormones. I eat lots of avocado and use coconut oil in EVERYTHING (Smoothies, stir-frys, granola etc). This is my favourite extra virgin organic coconut oil http://www.lucybee.co/
6. Leptin
Leptin is a hormone that controls hunger and metabolism and if we are deficient in it then we can experience food cravings and slow our metabolism down.  To balance your leptin, make sure you get lots of sleep and avoid unprocessed, refined foods, simple starches and sugars.
7. Supplements   
A few I would recommend:
 - Vitamin D – the easiest way to get your daily dose is to go outside for 20 minutes a day
 -  Maca – it is great for boosting hormone production and libido. It helps lower PMS, increases fertility, improves skin, and it is high in minerals and essential fatty acids, making it great for hormones. My favorite http://www.organicburst.com/maca/
 - Magnesium – I recommend Biocare for good quality supplements.  But you can also get magnesium through your diet by eating flaxseeds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, oats, almonds, dark green leafy veg (spinach, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, chard), pumpkin seeds and tahini. 
 - Evening primrose oil
8. Eat more fibre and phytonutrients
Eat LOTS of fruit and veg, especially leafy greens.  3-5 servings a day. A green juice in the morning is a great way to include greens into your diet quickly. 
9. Exercise and Sleep
Gentle exercise at least 3 times a week is key.  The right kind of exercise, just like the right kind of food, can help to maintain normal female body function and is imperative to do for overall good health. 
And if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your hormones will not be balanced.
10. Stress
Throughout our lives we will experience times of stress and I can’t emphasise the importance of trying to manage your stress as much as you can.   Even if you're following all the above steps in a quest to balance your hormones, stress with promote high levels of cortisol production which will throw all your hormones off balance. Find ways to help you manage your stress whether it is meditation, Pilates, listening to music, reading, or cooking. 

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