Fluctuations in our hormones affect mood, sleep, motivation, memory and cognition, and women are up to 3 times more likely to suffer from depression than men. The process of hormone creation in our bodies is a complicated process requiring nutrients obtained from diet, what you eat can go a long way to addressing symptoms of hormonal imbalance1,2.
As we age there is a natural decline in our hormones especailly progesterone, and in the years prior to menopause women are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, brain fog and insomnia1,2. Testosterone is made primarily in the adrenal glands – the tiny endocrine glands situated on the top of your kidneys and the orchestrators of the sympathetic (flight or fight) response – low levels are also shown to increase depression and contribute to low libido. Being highly stressed from any source, depletes progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone as the adrenal glands produce more cortisol to help your body deal with the stress. Cortisol also plays havoc with your blood sugar levels, making your blood more sluggish and effecting your mood. Your mood can also be affected by low mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and gaba, and oestrogen and progesterone also play a role in the level of these.
Nutrition strategies for balancing your hormones1,2, 3, 4
- Feed your adrenals – Avoid bread and too much sugar
- Include foods that are high in B vitamins especially B6 and B5 such as sunflower seeds and eggs
- Avoid having too much caffeine and alcohol they play havoc with your hormones
- Nutrients that support progesterone include magnesium (super important mineral and many of us are deficient), zinc, iodine, selenium, vitamin C and vitamin E
- Increase foods high in Zinc, such as oysters, pumpkin seeds and ginger, definicency signs include white spots on nails, delayed wound healing, eye and skin complaints, smell and taste disturbances, behavioural and emotional disturbances, lowered immunity, reproductive problems, diarrhoea
- Vitamin D is often deficient which affects dopamine and oestrogen
- Turmeric, again this wonderful food is shown to increase brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and improve mood, also great for supporting the liver detoxification of oestrogen and helps reduce oestrogen excess and has been shown to supress breast cancer tumor growth.
- 70-80% dark chocolate, increases serotonin & endorphin levels and is a source of magnesium and iron
Other strategies for balancing your hormones
- Get lots of hugs, this increases your oxytocin (your bonding hormone) and makes you feel good
- Get a good night sleep, helps keep hormones balanced
- Exercise; as this increases endorphins, helping to manage stress
- Manage stress through mindfull practices, deep breathing and hobbies
Here’s to happy hormones! If you are struggling with any symptoms of hormonal imbalance please contact us and let’s get you back to feeling great!
- Li, R., Ma, M., Xiao, X., Xu, Y., Chen, X., & Li, B. (2016). Perimenopausal syndrome and mood disorders in perimenopause: prevalence, severity, relationships, and risk factors. Medicine, 95(32), e4466. http://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000004466
- Gordon, J. L., Girdler, S. S., Meltzer-Brody, S. E., Stika, C. S., Thurston, R. C., Clark, C. T., … Wisner, K. L. (2015). Ovarian Hormone Fluctuation, Neurosteroids and HPA Axis Dysregulation in Perimenopausal Depression: A Novel Heuristic Model. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(3), 227–236. http://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.14070918
- Colonese, F., Laganà, A. S., Colonese, E., Sofo, V., Salmeri, F. M., Granese, R., & Triolo, O. (2015). The Pleiotropic Effects of Vitamin D in Gynaecological and Obstetric Diseases: An Overview on a Hot Topic. BioMed Research International, 2015, 986281. http://doi.org/10.1155/2015/986281
- Bimonte, S., Barbieri, A., Palma, G., Rea, D., Luciano, A., D’Aiuto, M., … Izzo, F. (2015). Dissecting the Role of Curcumin in Tumour Growth and Angiogenesis in Mouse Model of Human Breast Cancer. BioMed Research International, 2015, 878134. http://doi.org/10.1155/2015/878134
- Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005).The encyclopedia of healing foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.