Sex hormones are delicate and easily disrupted. It takes a careful balance of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone to help keep us ladies feeling (and looking) our best. If even one of these hormones becomes unbalanced we can start to suffer from mood swings, acne, painful or heavy periods, headaches and a lack of motivation or sex drive. These are my top tips to help you keep your sex hormones fighting fit:
- Include plenty of vegetables, especially brassica vegetables in your diet to help with liver and gut detoxification of oestrogen. These include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and bok choy. Try and aim for 7 handfuls per day! We all have days when our fruit and vegetable intake isn’t as ideal as we would like, and hey, that’s life! But a high-quality supplement offers some insurance against these times. me| today’s Women’s Daily contains a broad range of nutrients to help you support your health, even when life gets hectic.
- Take the load off your liver by reducing your intake of coffee, alcohol and fried foods. The liver needs to detoxify waste products, it can’t do this if it is busy with unhelpful food substances.
- Avoid eating processed foods. These can increase gut discomfort and impact the health of your gut microbiome, which plays a massive role in the detoxification of waste and the absorption of precious nutrients.
- If hormonal acne is an issues for you trial removing dairy from your diet for a period of 3 months and see if this makes a difference to your period or acne. Be sure to replace dairy with other calcium-rich foods such as leafy greens, nuts and seeds, tahini and tinned fish (with the bones in).
- Increase your B6 intake with pork, fish, poultry, whole grains, eggs and vegetables. This nutrient plays a vital role in liver function, which helps to metabolise hormones and keep their levels balanced.
- Include at least one source of zinc each day as well as a good quality supplement. me | today Beauty contains zinc, vitamin E and selenium - essential nutrients for supporting hormone production and glowy skin. Zinc nourishes the eggs within the ovary, helping to support ovulation and therefore progesterone production, which plays a role in the healing of the skin balancing the acne-causing androgen hormones. Good sources of zinc include meat, oysters and other shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, eggs and whole grains.
- Reduce your stress! When we’re stressed, we produce cortisol. Cortisol is made up of LDL cholesterol, which is also used to produce our sex hormones, including progesterone. If we’re stressed, our body will prioritise cortisol production, leaving little LDL cholesterol for sex hormone production. From an evolutionary sense, this prioritisation makes sense — it’s more important we run away from the lion than reproduce. However, these days there are no lions. Instead, there are impending deadlines and never-ending traffic jams. However, our body doesn’t sense the difference, so ensure you manage your stress levels to help promote optimal progesterone production.
Sometimes we need a little extra help when it comes to calming down, including stress-reducing techniques like breathing exercises or meditation, and some herbs like those contained in me | today’s Becalm can be incredibly useful in helping you manage the day to day stress that can impact your health and hormones.