Many women will choose to use supplements or medications to aid in the journey through menopause, but there are also several lifestyle changes that you can make to aid in improving your hormone health. The next series of blogs will focus on the top 5 ways that you can take control of your hormone health.
- Hormone Promoting Diet
- Reduce Coffee and Stimulants and Drink more Water
- Getting enough Sleep
- Exercise Regularly
- Decrease Stress Levels and Support your Adrenal Glands
Hormone Promoting Diet Part I:
The saying goes “You are what you eat”. This statement is true in general and even more so when it comes to hormone health. There are many foods that can be beneficial for promoting healthy hormone levels and certain foods that can be detrimental. Studies have shown that following a diet that is low in glycemic index will promote healthy insulin levels and ultimately glucose regulation. This is imperative for aiding in management of healthy body composition. Stabilizing blood sugar levels will also help to stabilize emotions and hormone levels. Besides eating a diet that is low in glycemic index, eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day will also help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Eating approximately every 3 hrs is often what I will recommend to patients, which equates to eating approximately 5 smaller meals a day. This will assist in providing the body with a more sustained release of sugar and will prevent the highs and lows that can occur with erratic eating.
Foods made from refined white flour and sugar such as white bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, candy and white rice are high in glycemic index and should be avoided. Low glycemic index foods, including most fruits, vegetables and certain whole grains (quinoa, wild rice), are those that are not processed or refined and will take longer for the body to break down. This will promote a sustained release of sugar and will help to improve energy levels and mood. I will often tell patients if they don’t know what all the ingredients are on the package then they shouldn’t eat it. Packaged and processed foods contain chemicals or additives that are used to preserve the food, improve the taste or reduce the calories in the food. These chemicals can interfere with your hormones and can contribute to the imbalance. Examples of processed foods are: lunch meats, frozen dinners, processed meats (hot dogs, sausages etc.). Foods that contain fructose or “high fructose corn syrup” are destructive to your glycemic index and insulin sensitivity and should be totally avoided. Additionally, low fat foods will often replace fat with sugar or with artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. Aspartame will cause you to overeat and increases cravings so if you need to have some sugar go for the real thing rather than the artificial stuff. Be aware of what you are putting into your body by reading the labels on the packages and try to limit packaged foods in your diet. Stay tuned for more tips on how to promote hormonal balance through food.