We hear so much talk about hormones as we get older and how it affects our health, especially for women. Hormones naturally decline as we get older.
There are 7 types of hormones in the body:
- Oxytocin (the love hormone) which responds to touch
- Cortisol (the stress hormone) which tells us when to run when we’re in danger
- Thyroid, (the metabolism regulator)
- Melatonin (the sleep-inducing hormone)
- Progesterone, estrogen and testosterone (the sex hormones) needed for a healthy cycle and fertility
- Serotonin (mood-boosting hormone)
- Leptin (the hunger-quelling hormone)
How do you know you’re out of balance? If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms it’s probably time you take action to bring balance back to your body.
Signs of hormone imbalance include:
- Mood swings
- PMT or PMS
- Low mood or depression
- You are snappy, irritable and angry (sometimes all at once)
- Your libido is non-existent
- Your periods are heavy or irregular
- Headaches and migraines
- You have a muffin top or excess weight around the belly
- Skin breaks out
- Vaginal dryness
- Cold hands and feet,
- Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
- You feel constantly fatigued or have brain fog
- You have tummy cramps, bloating or digestive woes
- You have excess hair on your face and thinning on your head
- You have cravings for carbs, sugars, alcohol or other foods
How to balance your hormones naturally
- Nourishment for your body – Food is the building blocks for hormones by eating healthy fats and protein. Reduce processed foods and refined sugar and refined carbs. Eat an adequate amount of protein for each meal.
- Eat More Greens – Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and chard help to cleanse the body and support the liver, which is very important in hormonal balance.
- Reduce coffee consumption – A good cup of coffee is a joy, however, many people over indulge which increases PMS symptoms. Try drinking green tea which is lower in caffeine and high in antioxidants.
- Reduce your stress – A busy lifestyle and running around makes our body produce too much cortisol (the stress hormone). This puts a strain on your body and can put your hormones out of balance. Try mediation, yoga, deep breathing and massage to manage your stress levels.
- Exercise regularly – It doesn’t matter what form of exercise you choose – gym, running, yoga, kick boxing, walking on the beach or jumping on a trampoline. Just get your body moving for good cardiovascular health and keep it stretched. You’ll look and feel younger and healthier.
- Consume healthy fats – This has been shown to reduce insulin resistance in overweight people and those with diabetes. Dairy fats and monounsaturated fat in olive oil and nuts increase insulin sensitivity. Avoid unhealthy trans-fat which promotes fat belly.
- Avoid over or undereating. – Consuming too many or too few calories can lead to hormonal imbalances. Aim to eat at least 1,200 calories per day for optimal health.
- Eat fatty fish – Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may help lower cortisol and epinephrine, increase insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin levels in obese and insulin-resistant individuals.
- Get high quality sleep consistently – Poor sleep has been linked to imbalances of many hormones, including insulin, cortisol, leptin and growth hormone
- Consume a high fiber diet – High fiber intake has been linked to improvements in insulin sensitivity and the hormones that control hunger, fullness and food intake.
- Eat more eggs – Eggs are extremely nutritious and may help reduce insulin resistance, suppress your appetite and make you feel full.
Magdalena Wszelaki, an integrative hormone and nutrition expert, is the founder of Hormones Balance, a practice that teaches women how to rebalance hormones with her book called Cooking for Hormone Balance. Going on the premise of food being medicine she has developed the concept of using seeds to correct hormonal imbalances with a 30 day lunar cycle to support the menstrual cycle. This works for women who are premenopausal as well as post-menopausal.
The technique is called “seed rotation,” and can be used to boost estrogen levels in the first part of our cycle and progesterone levels in the second part.
This system can be used by anyone who is experiencing irregular periods, heavy flows, substantial PMS, signs of hormone imbalance and even women going through peri-menopause and menopause.
Which seeds should be used in the cycle?
Peri-menopausal and menopausal women can start any day and rotate the seeds every two weeks.
Pre-menopausal women who are still menstruating have different needs: From Day 1 to Day 15 (or the middle of the cycle), we need more estrogen in order to build up our endometrium (uterine lining). This is called the follicular phase. Seeds such as flaxseed and pumpkin seeds, one tablespoon each per day, can naturally increase your estrogen levels.
From Day 15 to Day 30, or the second part of the cycle (also known as the luteal phase), the corpus luteum begins to release progesterone. This sex hormone will help thicken the uterine lining and prepare it for implantation. The high content of zinc in sesame seeds and vitamin E in sunflower seeds have been shown to stimulate progesterone production. By adding one tablespoon of sesame seeds and one tablespoon of sunflower seeds per day in the luteal phase, they can naturally support the body to produce more progesterone.
Who are menopausal and post menopausal?
If you do not have a cycle either because you are not menstruating or because you have entered perimenopause, menopause and you are in post menopause, seed rotation can still help.
Testosterone levels in men dip by about 1 percent every year after age 30.
Eat pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants and other nutrients that can contribute to healthy testosterone levels and improve overall health.
- Full of Valuable Nutrients
- High in Antioxidants
- Linked to a Reduced Risk of Certain Cancers
- Improve Prostate and Bladder Health
- Very High in Magnesium
- May Improve Heart Health
- Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels
- High in Fibre
- Improves sleep. For example, lack of sleep can lower your testosterone level. Men who get less sleep for even just 2 weeks can see their testosterone level decrease by 15 percent.
The Boomer Corner is a column dedicated to people over 60 living in Bali. Its mandate is to cover topics, practicalities, activities, issues, concerns and events related to senior life in Bali. We welcome suggestions from readers.
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