foods

Food and Hormones

Having balanced hormones is an integral part of enjoying a healthy life.  When our hormones are functioning properly, our bodies can operate at optimum levels and to our greatest benefit.  When we struggle with out-of-whack hormones, it can indeed throw our health and lives for a loop. Luckily, there are simple things we can do on a daily basis to help our hormones stay on track. But before we begin getting into different foods that are helpful for balanced hormones, we'll dive into the importance of hormones to our health.  Let's get started! 


3 Ways Hormones Affect Your Body

What exactly do hormones do in the body? Why are they so important?

So What Do They Do?

Hormones are tiny molecules that function as chemical messengers and trigger all sorts of responses in different parts of the body. There are various types of hormones, but here are three important types of hormones to understand.

  • First, we have cortisol, the stress hormone. When you’re in a stressful situation, this hormone raises your heart rate, provides your brain with extra oxygen and releases energy from fat and glucose. Many of us have constant high levels of cortisol due to stress. 
     
  • Secondly is testosterone, a hormone that we commonly know as a male hormone, but women have it too. Testosterone influences your sex drive, muscle mass, and brain function.
     
  • Lastly, melatonin -- this hormone regulates your sleep cycle.  Melatonin is activated by the pineal gland in the brain later in the day when the sun begins to set. 


Foods that Help Balance Hormones Naturally

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats are the building blocks of many different types of hormones.

Some sources of these important healthy fats include coconut oil, avocado, eggs, and certain kinds of fish such as salmon and tuna. Consuming these healthy fat sources allows you to fuel the healthy hormone production you need. 

Nuts

Then there are walnuts, which are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is a building block of hormones, and it also helps reduce inflammation in the body. Additionally, Omega-3's are excellent at promoting cell-to-cell communication. 

Other nuts and seeds high in Omega-3's include pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and beechnuts.  

Probiotics

Probiotics are good bacteria that encourage a healthy gut. The link between probiotics and a healthy gut is that these two balance important hormone levels in the body. 

Several foods provide probiotics naturally.  Fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut have live probiotics.  Liquids such as kombucha and bone broth are also filled with essential probiotics.  

Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that's extremely beneficial to you.  This spice helps to balance your hormones naturally, and luckily, it is very versatile for how it can be used!   

Turmeric is also an incredible anti-inflammatory that can assist you with having healthy digestion.  You can use this spice in your meals, take it in capsule form, or even create a turmeric latte and enjoy it as a hot beverage. 


Green Veggies

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How many times have you heard it's important to eat your greens?  This isn't new information, for sure -- but it certainly is ever so true.   

Green veggies including things like Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, broccoli and asparagus help metabolize estrogen and balance hormones.  So try to find a place for green veggies on your plate as often as possible.


What to Avoid?

Now that we know some foods will help you balance your hormone levels, it’s also important to know which foods you can avoid so they do not interfere with your hormone levels.

  • If you consume caffeine, be mindful not to overdo it.  When you do consume too much caffeine, to the point that it interferes with your sleep, this can cause your cortisol levels to increase and your hormones to fluctuate as a result.  
     
  • Alcohol can be a deal-breaker too.  Besides the fact that consuming high levels of alcohol can damage your organs, it can also interfere with your testosterone and estrogen levels. 
     
  • Sugar is typically a good thing to avoid anyway -- but indulging in processed sugar is another way to throw your hormones into a tailspin potentially.  Sugar can be tough to kick, but lowering your intake over time is better than nothing at all.  You can do it! 

Overall, add in more hormone balancing foods into your daily routine and begin reducing the "avoid" list.  It's okay to make this change over time to make it last, so start one step at a time.

If you would like some personal support in becoming the best version of yourself, check out my Metabolic Balance program.

It's an all-natural nutrition program that brings balance to hormones, optimizes health, and leads to a new invigorating lifestyle, resulting in successful long term weight management. 

I'd love to chat with you about your health goals! 

 

 

Are You Suffering from Magnesium Deficiency?

Magnesium is a mineral that your body uses in hundreds of different ways. Years ago, most people got plenty of magnesium from eating plant foods, but in recent years, the soil has become depleted of magnesium. This depletion, as well as the tendency to reach for processed foods over fresh natural foods has caused many people to become deficient in magnesium. 

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, “Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish. Strong bones and teeth, balanced hormones, a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system, well functioning detoxification pathways and much more depend upon cellular magnesium sufficiency.”* 

It should also be noted, your Vitamin D doesn’t work without the proper levels of magnesium. Without magnesium supplementation, we may experience symptoms ranging from muscle cramping, to osteoporosis, to depression, to hypertension. 

Do you get enough magnesium?

Fortunately, it is possible to get sense of where your intake of magnesium may lie simply by asking yourself a few questions about your lifestyle, and watching for certain signs and signals of low magnesium levels.

Do you experience migraines or headaches?

Magnesium is involved in the production of various neurotransmitters, or messenger chemicals, in the brain. Without enough  magnesium, you may experience headaches and even migraines. Pain relievers may take care of the symptoms on the short-term, but they don't keep the headaches from coming back.

Do you have tooth decay?

Magnesium is essential for tooth enamel. Without enough in your diet, your teeth become weak and prone to decay. If frequent tooth brushing and flossing, and regular professional teeth cleanings don't seem to be helping with cavities or tooth decay, a magnesium deficiency may be the issue.

Do you drink carbonated or caffeinated beverages on a regular basis?

Magnesium levels are controlled in the body in large part by the kidneys, which filter and excrete excess magnesium and other minerals. But caffeine causes the kidneys to release extra magnesium regardless of body status.

If you drink caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and pop regularly, your risk for magnesium deficiency is increased.

In addition, most sodas contain phosphates. These substances actually bind with magnesium inside the digestive tract, rendering it unavailable to the body. So even if you are eating a balanced diet, by drinking pop with your meals you are flushing magnesium out of your system.

Do you regularly eat sweet foods?

Refined sugar from pastries, cakes, desserts, candies and other sweet foods can cause the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys. The more sweet foods and processed baked goods you have in your diet, the more likely you are deficient in magnesium and other vital nutrients.

Do you experience a lot of stress in your life?

Magnesium is a nutrient that gets easily depleted from your body when you are under stress or if you have anxiety. Because stressful conditions require more magnesium use by the body, all such conditions may lead to deficiency, including both psychological and physical forms of stress. A lack of magnesium tends to magnify the stress reaction, worsening the problem. 

Do you experience heart palpitations?

Palpitations, which are irregular heartbeats you can feel in your chest or neck, are often blamed on stress and anxiety. However, they are sometimes due to a deficiency of magnesium since this mineral is involved in muscle contractions -- and your heart is a muscle.

Do you have muscle cramps?

A number of mineral deficiencies, including deficiencies in potassium and sodium, can lead to muscle cramps. Without magnesium, our muscles would be in a constant state of contraction. Magnesium is a required element of muscle relaxation. 

What can you do to address your deficiency?

If you think you may be deficient in magnesium, adding a magnesium supplement to your routine is a good idea. There are several different forms of magnesium. Magnesium citrate is a good choice for most people because it is easily absorbed. Here are a couple of my favorite magnesium supplements.

Natural Calm, made by Natural Vitality comes in powder form and should be dissolved into hot water. It is very easy to take. You can simply drink it like a tea. My personal experience is that it does indeed have a calming effect. I take it in the evening before I go to sleep. I have also experienced less muscle soreness after workouts since I began taking Natural Calm regularly. 

The Genestra brand Mag Cal Vanilla Liquid is tasty and makes taking a supplement very easy. It is a delicious, natural vanilla flavoured bone support formula that contains calcium, magnesium and vitamin D in a highly absorbable citrate form. My daughter loves this one and we all take it as a family before bedtime. The Genestra Mag Cal Vanilla Liquid supplement is available at my Fullscript online dispensary in my shop.

You can also boost your magnesium intake by adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet including green leafy vegetables. Other foods that are also high in magnesium include: spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, yogurt or kefir, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate, banana, salmon, coriander, cashews, goat cheese and artichokes.

Another great way to boost magnesium levels is by simply soaking your feet or entire body in a bath containing epsom salt or magnesium flakes.

The skin is the body's largest organ, and as such, it has an amazing ability to absorb, filter toxins and deliver nutrients to the body. Therefore, internal levels of magnesium can be increased naturally by being absorbed through your skin. Just add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt or magnesium flakes to your bath and add 10-15 drops of essential oil of your choice like lavender and/or mint and enjoy!

If you don't have time to do baths, you could easily make a magnesium spray. All you need is magnesium flakes, or Epsom salt, water and a glass spray bottle. You can add your favorite essential oil blend into the spray too if you like. Keep the spray bottle on your bathroom counter and spray it on your skin anytime throughout the day. Just spray it on your arms, legs, chest and stomach. I find it easiest to spray it on right after I get out of the shower. You can apply it as often as you would like to get optimal absorption.

Magnesium deficiency is dramatically under-diagnosed because it doesn't show up on a blood test. Only 1 percent of the magnesium in your body is stored in your blood, and the majority of it is stored in your bones.

Since it's so easy to become deficient in magnesium, it's wise to monitor your intake, and be sure to eat more of these foods. Even if your are not showing signs of deficiency, eating enough magnesium-rich foods is important for overall health.

Another great tool is The Kickstarter On-Line Nutritional Assessment I offer in my consultation services. It is a very effective and useful assessment to pin-point your unique nutritional weaknesses and body system imbalances. You don't even need to leave the comfort of your own home to do it!  It's an online questionnaire. After completing the assessment, you get summarized valuable recommendations from me personalized just for you including food, lifestyle and supplementation. It's the perfect starting place to improve your health and well-being. Connect with me if you would like more information or click the "Buy Now" button to learn more about this service.