The benefits of using nutrition for hormonal imbalance in women

Women's Nutritional Therapist Anna Estop-Hall

Hormonal imbalances can disrupt a woman’s life in many ways, from irregular periods and mood swings to infertility and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). The good news is that nutrition can play a vital role in addressing the root cause of these imbalances and restoring harmony to the body. 

Here are some of the benefits of using nutrition to address hormonal imbalances in women:

Stabilising Blood Sugar Levels

Sugar and other refined carbohydrates (like white rice and pasta) can have a serious impact on our endocrine system and can send our body on a blood sugar rollercoaster, resulting in PMS symptoms, energy crashes, sleep problems and mood swings.

One of the key benefits of nutrition in hormone management is its ability to stabilise blood sugar levels. A diet rich in complex carbohydrates, fibre, and low-glycemic foods can help regulate insulin production, particularly vital for women dealing with insulin resistance, which is common in conditions like PCOS.

Balancing Oestrogen Levels

Certain foods are able to help us balance oestrogen levels in our bodies like Phytoestrogens, as they have a similar chemical structure and may mimic its hormonal actions. This is useful if your oestrogen levels are fluctuating, as they can help alleviate symptoms associated with imbalances such as hot flashes and mood swings.

Supporting Thyroid Function

Your thyroid is the butterfly shaped gland at the front of your neck that is responsible for regulating your metabolism (the speed at which your body burns food to make energy). 

A diet packed with iodine, selenium, and zinc can support healthy thyroid function. Incorporating seafood, dairy products, nuts, and whole grains can help maintain thyroid health.

Managing Stress

Chronic stress can wreak havoc on hormone levels, especially cortisol and adrenaline. If cortisol in particular, becomes imbalanced then it has a domino effect and can disrupt all your other hormones like oestrogen progesterone, testosterone, and your thyroid to name just a few. 

Nutrient-rich foods like leafy greens, fatty fish, magnesium-rich foods, and vitamin C can help manage stress and its impact on hormone balance.

Maintaining a healthy gut 

Our gut health is closely tied to maintaining hormonal balance, due to the crucial role it plays in the metabolism and breakdown of hormones such as oestrogen. 

A diet high in fibre, probiotics, and prebiotics can foster a healthy gut microbiome, which in turn supports hormone regulation.

Improving Mood and Mental Health

If you are deficient in certain nutrients then it can have a serious impact on your mood. 

Folate and B12 are both needed to help produce your ‘feel good hormone’ serotonin and your ‘pleasure hormone’ dophamine. Deficiency in these nutrients have been linked to depression, so if you are regularly feeling low, make sure you include the following foods in your diet and ask your GP to get your levels checked.  

Folate -Broccoli, brussel sprouts, leafy greens, peas, chickpeas, liver

B12 –  Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products 

Enhancing Fertility

For women trying to conceive, proper nutrition can improve fertility by regulating hormones, maintaining a healthy weight, and ensuring the body has the necessary nutrients for reproductive health. 

In particular make sure you eat plenty of foods rich in vitamins B6, C and E, folic acid, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, iodine, and selenium are all essential for preparing your body for conceiving. 

 

What we eat has a profound effect upon how our body functions and can have a direct impact on our hormones. 

It’s important to remember that individual dietary needs can vary, and what works for one person may not work for another. If you suspect a hormonal imbalance or have specific concerns, please do get in touch today to book your FREE 30 minute wellness review. 

Resources:

  1. Coppen A, Bolander-Gouaille C. Treatment of depression: time to consider folic acid and vitamin B12. J Psychopharmacol. 2005 Jan;19(1):59-65. doi: 10.1177/0269881105048899. PMID: 15671130.
  2. Skoracka K, Ratajczak AE, Rychter AM, Dobrowolska A, Krela-Kaźmierczak I. Female Fertility and the Nutritional Approach: The Most Essential Aspects. Adv Nutr. 2021 Dec 1;12(6):2372-2386. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmab068. PMID: 34139003; PMCID: PMC8634384.

Written by:

I’m a Nutritional Therapist, who helps women get to the root cause of their hormone and period related health problems through diet and lifestyle changes.

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