By: Sapna Fliedner MSN, HHC
I have noticed a trend within the last few years: hormone imbalances in women that were previously seen in their 40’s are now being seen in their 30’s. I have met many women with loss of hair, thyroid imbalances, weight issues and even menopause in the 30-something crowd. Even though this is a pediatric blog, as a health coach I have seen many new mothers who fall into this category. I truly feel food and lifestyle are at the heart of hormone imbalance in these women.
Over the past few years, hormones have received more and more attention as compounds that play an important role in your overall health. This is with good reason. Hormones represent a complex cascade of chemicals that are catalysts for actions in your body.
How Do Hormones Work?
Your glands secrete hormones to cells awaiting commands in your tissues and organs. When your hormones are out of sync and the commands are blocked or otherwise confused, then mixed (or no) messages are sent to tissues and organs. This prevents your body from attaining homeostasis, and disrupts metabolic balancing of your body’s systems.
Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, cortisol, insulin, and melatonin are responsible for this homeostasis.
Here are a few simple things you can do to keep your hormones in balance:
Maintain a healthy weight. Excessive fat tissue (called adipose tissue) can act as an endocrine organ, producing more estrogen in your body. By maintaining a healthy weight, your body is not stimulated to overproduce certain hormones.
Eat thyroid supportive foods. These foods are rich in iodine and include: kelp, Himalayan salt, beans, organic cultured yogurt, brazil nuts, and fresh organic strawberries.
Eat healthy saturated fat (coconut oil and avocado). Cholesterol is needed for formation of healthy cell membranes and is a precursor to steroid hormones (progesterone, estrogen, FSH, etc.). You cannot have proper hormonal balance without adequate amounts of saturated fats.
Avoid refined grains, sugar, and processed foods. These interfere with the hormone leptin, which helps regulate appetite and metabolism. When leptin resistance sets in, you suffer from cravings and your metabolism slows way down.
Avoid Bispheonol-A and phthalates. Commonly found in plastics and can liners, these endocrine disruptors basically mimic actual hormones replacing the beneficial benefits with a toxic phony that provides nothing of value to the body.
Support your adrenal glands. The adrenals regulate the “stress hormone,” cortisol. To keep them in top shape, limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine, and commit to getting to bed by 10 pm. Your body creates growth hormones while you sleep, so prioritizing bedtime is an important step in staying balanced.
Once you address lifestyle, diet and stress levels, you will find the body will have the ability to heal naturally and bring hormone levels back into balance.
The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep and Sex Drive; Lose Weight; Feel Focused, Vital, and Energized Naturally with the Gottfried Protocol, by Sara Gottfried, MD