Eat a wide variety of colourful, seasonal vegetables as part of a hormone-balancing dietIn my previous blog post I mentioned that 75% of us suffer symptoms of PMS, perimenopause and menopause, and that many women experience worse PMS symptoms as they get older (and to make matters worse, those who’ve had bad PMS often experience a worse perimenopause!).

The good news is there ARE things that you can do to balance your hormones and alleviate, and even eliminate, your symptoms, starting with simple lifestyle changes. We’ll cover some of these, including diet, sleep, exercise and stress management/relaxation in the coming weeks. And if lifestyle changes don’t bring relief you might want to consider bioidentical hormones (more about these in a later blog post.

This week we look at dietary changes. The key foods to eliminate or cut back on are refined flour, sugar and processed foods, caffeine and alcohol, dairy (even organic milk has natural hormones from lactating cows) and foods containing gluten. If you’re suffering from hot flushes, you can also try cutting down on spicy foods.

After getting rid of the bad stuff you’ll want to replace it with healthier choices. There’s a lot of conflicting dietary information around these days but for me the key is understanding that what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. You might need to try several different approaches to discover what your body needs.

Top dietary tips for hormone health

  1. Eat whole, real, unprocessed foods – as close to the source as possible, and organic where you can – with good fats, high quality protein, plenty of fresh vegetables and some complex carbohydrates (e.g. beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains)
  2. Increase omega-3 fats by eating more wild fish like sardines, herring, and salmon, as well as organic eggs and walnuts
  3. Do things to help balance your blood sugar and stabilise mood, from eating good quality protein at breakfast to eating evenly throughout the day and not skipping meals.
  4. Increase your fibre intake (including vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains)
  5. Good gut health also helps normalise estrogen and hormone metabolism so probiotic and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, miso etc are all good
  6. Stay hydrated – see this previous blog post
  7. Magnesium and calcium rich foods can help muscle relaxation, and ease insomnia, painful periods, cravings, bloating and many other symptoms: good sources include oats, dark leafy greens, nuts/seeds, chocolate,  avocado, and banana
  8. Studies have shown that calcium and Vitamin D can also ease PMS symptoms (sardines with bones, wild-caught fish, mushrooms, greens, figs, tofu, eggs)

If you’d like help integrating healthier eating habits into your life wellness coaching can help. And if as part of your coaching program you feel you could benefit from the expertise of a naturopath, nutritionist or other health professional I have a wide network of referral partners.