1. Switch Up Your Dairy
Try to swap processed dairy for organic, or better yet, try going dairy free with almond, coconut or macadamia milk. From my clinical experience, people seem to do better on organic versions of dairy, especially when it comes to digestion. Various studies have shown processed dairy has been linked to increasing oestrogen levels, so if you do suffer from oestrogen dominance, try to go organic where possible.
2. Cut Back On Caffeine
Try not to exceed one caffeinated drink a day – I recommend having one coffee with breakfast before 10am. Caffeine can stay in your bloodstream for up to eight hours and can affect everything from sleep to stress levels. Drinking just one a day will help to keep cortisol, your stress hormone, on a more even level. On the other hand, drinking three or four coffees per day can lead to blood sugar imbalance and sugar cravings later in the day.
3. Start Your Day With Exercise
Starting your day with around 30 minutes of exercise, yoga or meditative breathing will help to energise you and get your blood flowing.
4. Always Eat Breakfast
Ideally, eat breakfast within an hour of waking up and aim for something rich in protein and high in fat. A combination of protein and healthy fats will help to balance blood sugar levels (i.e. insulin), which will keep your thyroid, cortisol and leptin levels in check, leaving you feeling full of energy and avoiding the blood sugar rollercoaster.
5. Limit Alcohol Intake
It may sound obvious, but cutting back on your alcohol intake really can have such a profound effect on your hormones. As your hormones are metabolised through your liver, any congestion due to excessive alcohol intake can make it trickier for hormones to remain in balance. My advice would be to avoid alcohol during the week but enjoy a couple of drinks on the weekend – try to stick to red wine, gin and whiskey (a couple of drinks should be your limit) and avoid added cordials, syrups and fruit juices.
6. Eat Your Greens
Try to include at least one cup of greens with your main meals, but make sure they are cooked and not raw. Brassica vegetables – think broccoli, cauliflower, kale and sprouts – contain goitrogens, which are compounds that can compromise thyroid function. However, when well-cooked, these compounds are broken down. Other fibre-rich vegetables, such as pumpkin and sweet potato, are great for hormonal health too as they help to sweep excess toxins out of the body. Aim to have two servings (around two cups) of brassica vegetables each day.
7. Eat Good Fats
Be sure to eat plenty of avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, virgin organic coconut oil and tahini. This will provide the body with omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for hormone production. I always advise my clients to have a portion of healthy fats with each main meal – this is equivalent to a quarter of an avocado or two tablespoons of tahini, olive oil, nuts or seeds. Healthy fat is the macronutrient that helps you stay full and satiated, balances blood sugar levels and helps to improve insulin sensitivity.
8. Go Organic
Where possible, choose organic eggs, poultry and meat. When it comes to meat, try to buy the best you can afford – grass-fed, organic meat is your best option. Studies have suggested these kinds of meat have a higher nutrient profile and a far higher fatty acid content, which is great for helping to balance hormones. Avoid tinned tuna and try to eat sustainably sourced fish – this is especially important for wild salmon.
9. Get More Rest
A rested body is a healthy body. Aim for seven to eight hours of good-quality sleep each night. A lack of sleep can throw your hormones out of balance. Over the years, I’ve found practicing stress reduction can also aid sleep – try to reduce your overall caffeine intake, ensure your dinner is protein rich (you need the amino acids to induce sleep), avoid intense exercise in the late afternoon and switch off from technology from around 6pm. Even making an effort to start with one of these factors will make a real difference. Sleep is the cheapest and easiest way for your body to restore itself and promote hormonal balance.
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