I have always believed good nutrition helps to bring our bodily systems back into balance.
Nutrients from food allow the body to thrive, which includes our hormonal systems. For example, brassica vegetables, such as broccoli and kale, contain substances and nutrients that help detoxify the liver. This is an important part of regulating hormones.
Another example is caffeine. When consumed in excess, caffeine can affect cortisol (the stress hormone), which can adversely impact the rest of our hormones. So, you can see that diet and hormones absolutely have a link.
Prioritising foods rich in healthy fats and fibre, as well as dark leafy vegetables, are fantastic for nourishing your hormones. Foods like salmon, sardines, eggs, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats to support hormonal balance. Dark green leafy vegetables, as well as high-fibre foods such as oats, beans, lentils, and fruit and vegetables, are also so important for regulating hormones such as oestrogen. Enjoying a diet rich in these foods is key for helping maintain balance in your body.
Below is my go-to guide for happy hormones.
Love Jess x
The JSHealth Happy Hormone Guide
A number of factors can cause a hormone imbalance, including stress levels, lack of sleep, under or over-eating, blood sugar levels, over-exercising, nutrient deficiencies or being on a form of hormonal contraception.
Here is your one-stop-shop to support healthy, happy and balanced hormones through diet and lifestyle practices.
Limit Processed/packaged foods
What we don’t realise, is that there is often hidden salt, excess refined sugar, flavourings and thickeners/emulsifiers hidden in packaged foods that you find in the supermarket.
Enjoy one coffee per day
Excess caffeine can wreak havoc on our hormones, by increasing cortisol levels. Aim to enjoy 1 coffee per day, prior to midday. Enjoy alternatives such as herbal tea and dandelion chai tea.
Reduce alcohol intake
Did you know that the liver is the same site that metabolises both alcohol and our hormones? So it’s important to take good care of our liver. Enjoy alcohol in moderation, and alternatives such as lime and soda, kombucha or a delicious mocktail.
Greens, greens, greens
Dark leafy greens specifically contain potent antioxidants that assist the liver with the metabolism of estrogen. Think spinach, kale, broccoli, bok choy, silverbeet, rocket and zucchini.
Omega-3 fatty acids
These help to nourish our hormones and protect our cells. They are also anti-inflammatory, so can help to manage painful menstrual symptoms. Enjoy oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), eggs, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds and extra virgin olive oil.
Aim for 2-2.25L of water per day, an extra if exercising. Maintaining hydration levels are important for nourishing our cells and for the detoxification processes.
Enjoy magnesium-rich foods
Inadequate intakes for Magnesium may be contributing to PMS symptoms. Increase intake through banana, avocado, black beans, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, nuts, oats, wild rice, fish and dark green leafy vegetables.
Consider herbal supplement support
Herbs such as Chaste Tree and Dong Quai have been used traditionally to support women, which work to nourish the reproductive system, support healthy periods and regular cycles, whilst relieving the unwanted symptoms of PMS, such as mood swings and cramps.
Get moving, yet also know when to rest!
Exercising increases the feel good hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain. It helps to release endorphins. However, it’s equally as important to know when to rest. Over-exercising can cause our cortisol levels to go into overdrive.
Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Inadequate sleep can affect the ability to regulate stress hormones and impacts the hormones that control appetite and blood glucose levels. I find having a ‘Sleepy Routine’ really supports me.
Reduce use of BPA plastics
BPA plastic is a synthetic compound used to make certain plastics that can disrupt hormonal pathways. Everyone is exposed to BPA through skin, inhalation and the digestive system. Serve your food onto a plate or aim to store your food in glass containers or BPA-free plastic.
Set boundaries for screens
Too much screen time can suppress melatonin production, impact sleep and essentially increase cortisol levels. Enjoy alternatives such as colouring in, reading, going for a walk or listening to music.
Switch to all natural household cleaning and beauty products
Many household cleaning and beauty products contain chemicals to make them last longer or function a certain way. However, these can interrupt the function of our hormones as they enter through inhalation or through the skin.
Know that it’s okay to say ‘No’
It’s time to prioritise your downtime and put yourself first. If it doesn’t serve you or lift you up, or you’re simply too tired, just say ‘no’.