Travelling through the bloodstream in our bodies, our hormones act as powerful chemical messengers. They control various aspects of our bodily functions, including our sex hormones. Therefore, ensuring we optimise our diet with the right foods will internally balance our hormones. During a monthly cycle, we can experience a range of disturbing symptoms, including sugar craving, bloating, weight gain, spots, and general sluggishness. Together with Complete Me, we’ve collated a super helpful guide to inform you of the optimal foods to balance your hormones and increase your sense of wellbeing.
Balancing Blood Sugar
As you’re probably aware, sugar is prevalent in so many foods that we enjoy, from the blackberries we add to our morning smoothies to our lunchtime sandwiches. Sugar is volatile, and although it offers a quick rush, we need to manage our intake. It’s common to experience significant crashes when your blood sugar dips after eating in excess, which means you need even more later on. And although it’s not a sex-related hormone, insulin is one of the most important hormones we need to balance. If our insulin levels are too low or too high, they will harm the others. Be sure to stabilise your blood sugar levels by eating at regular intervals throughout the day instead of gorging on lots of sugar in one go. Get into the habit of looking at the GL guide (glycemic load) of the foods you eat – typically, the lower, the better, so try and stick to these types of food. While carbohydrates are undoubtedly key to our diet, eating the correct ones is equally as important.
As a result of the demonisation of fats, people have turned to refined carbs, sugar, and processed foods as alternatives. But studies have indicated that fat isn’t as bad as it was once considered to be. Instead, we now know that there are myriad healthy foods that contain high levels of fat – such as avocado – and we now even consider them to be superfoods. Incorporating good fats into your diet and eliminating trans fats simultaneously is a smart move for your health and wellbeing. Good fats are plentiful in avocados, legumes, and oily fish (sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies, etc.) and are an excellent way to boost your overall health. What’s more, healthy fats are essential for producing your hormones!
Many of us could do with reducing our intake of added sugars while increasing our consumption of fibre. Eating sufficient fibre reduces your risk of heart disease, strokes, bowel cancer, and Type 2 Diabetes. Incorporating whole grain and fresh vegetables into your diet is a great way to increase your fibre intake. Approximately 50% of the UK population misses out on half of their recommended 30 grams of fibre every day. Fibre also plays an important digestive role, and it is necessary for forming our stools. This is one of the primary ways in which hormones are exerted from our bodies after being broken down.
When it comes to hormonal balance, including cruciferous vegetables in your diet is also key. Consider the likes of cabbage, sprouts, broccoli, and kale to get you started. The reason these vegetables are so important is that they enable our livers to excrete our hormones, which is crucial as it’s dangerous to have reused hormones recirculating around our bodies. Cruciferous vegetables are loaded with excellent hormone-balancing nutrients, so be sure to incorporate them into your diet wherever possible! A side note – if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism (a low thyroid), you will need to cook cruciferous vegetables in order to break down the goitrogens within. If you don’t, it may interfere with your body’s ability to process iodine.
Hopefully, you now have a better insight into how to enhance your wellbeing while balancing your hormones.