Hormonal health is a complex function of the body, but opposed to feeling overwhelmed, I like to take a simplified approach and begin with food. Focusing on what we are putting in our body to support a happy, healthy, pain free cycle by decreasing estrogen dominance, increasing healthy digestion and cleansing the liver. Below I have put together a few of my favorite steps, plus an herbal tea recipe to support hormonal balance and vitality, not to mention great skin.
1) BALANCED BLOOD SUGAR
First and foremost, is Blood Sugar Management, the swings in blood sugar throughout a day put a huge amount of stress on our endocrine system, so balancing this leads to balanced hormone production. A couple keys to success:
· Eat smaller meals and more often throughout the day, lots of snacks and a hearty breakfast.
· Minimize sugar intake as well as processed foods, which means anything white and refined.
· Add good quality protein to every meal: fish, eggs, fermented soy, organic meat, fermented dairy, legumes, nuts and seeds.
· My go to craving cure is a tart organic apple with lots of cinnamon and my favorite nut butter (sunflower).
2) CLEAN PRODUCE + PRODUCTS
Pesticides, plastics, cleaners and cosmetics are potent with endocrine disruptors that reek havoc on the female reproductive system. Switching to glass instead of plastic, cast iron cookware, green cleaning products and cosmetics, are just a few small steps that make a world of difference for your liver and hormonal health. Healthy can mean pricy at times, so look to the clean 15, dirty dozen to make informed and cost effective choices around organic produce.
3) GOOD FATS
Make sure to incorporate healthy fats into your daily routine, which are the backbone to healthy hormones. This means coconut oil, avocado, EVOO (not to be heated), pastured eggs and quality butter.
4) GUT HEALTH
Super important to our hormone and overall health, we have to take care of our Intestinal health. This means lots of healthy beneficial bacteria, strong structural lining and regular bowel movements, which allow us to digest nutrients and eliminate toxins. My favorite ways to do so include:
· Eating fermented foods daily, yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and so on.
· Drink 2-3 L of water a day; you would be surprised how many of us are just under hydrated.
· Add flax and or chia to breakfast, in a bowl or smoothie for regular bowel movements and healthy phytoestrogens.
· Incorporate bone broth into your diet in the cooler months, rich in nutrients like collagen, great for skin, joints and intestinal lining.
5) REST + RELAX
Reducing stress levels is a big part of hormonal health. As daunting as this sounds, start by decreasing caffeine, and increasing quality sleep. Try antioxidant rich green tea instead of coffee and minimize to 1 cup in the morning. Better sleep means getting in bed before 11:30pm, and maintaining balanced blood sugar, so no late night wine or sweets. Wind down with a book or meditation, reduce technology in the bedroom, and enjoy a calming herbal tea for a nightcap.
Below I have included a recipe for a hormonal health tea blend, rich in minerals and uterine tonics, soothing for the mind and body and great for decongesting the liver.
**Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding**
1 tsp Nettle
1 tsp Raspberry Leaf
1 tsp Dandelion
1 tsp Lady’s Mantle
1 tsp Chamomile
Slice of fresh Ginger
Put the herbs in a teapot and bring some filtered water to just below boiling point. Pour a generous 2 cups over the herbs and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain and enjoy with a bit of raw honey.
· Nettle: Rich in blood building minerals like iron, as well as a detoxifier
· Raspberry leaf: Uterine tonic, increase circulation and decrease cramping
· Dandelion: Aids liver function, blood sugar management, and reduces water retention
· Lady’s Mantle: Works with the uterus to decrease inflammation, excessive bleeding and pain
· Chamomile: Reduces stress, supports digestion, helps maintain regular periods and relieves cramping.
· Ginger: Stimulates healthy circulation and digestion, also very warming
+++ Drink 1-2 cups per day when noticing premenstrual symptoms or enjoy a cup casually throughout the month for its relaxation and nutritive benefits.