Hormones make the world go round! We can’t live without them but oh boy, can they play up and wreak havoc when it suits them.
Simply put, they are chemical substances that act as messengers for our body. They travel in the bloodstream and are delivered to organs and tissue.
Why are Hormones so important?
They play a vital role in –
- Growth and development
- Sexual function
They are pretty important, methinks. In fact, the balance of hormones in our body is vital for optimum health, a good mood and hot sex.
Women really do get the short end of the stick when it comes to the fine art of juggling these chemicals.
It can be bit of a minefield –
- Estrogen and insulin play a part in stimulating the thyroid
- Estrogen is linked to the risk of breast and uterine cancer
- Insulin is also linked to breast cancer as well as in the pancreas and liver.
Those sound like pesky little critters. It is good to remember though, that we do need both of them. Maintaining a balance of the right mix is the trick.
Tips to Achieve a Balance
- You need to get a balance between macro (fat, protein, carbohydrate) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) so that your body can get the right amounts of key nutrients to produce optimal hormone levels.
- Prebiotics, probiotics and fiber create a healthy environment in our gut. They help to lower the amount of estrogen that is absorbed back into your bloodstream. In so doing they help to regulate estrogen levels.
- Prebiotics – asparagus, artichokes, bananas, oatmeal, dried beans and peas.
- Probiotics – Cultured and fermented foods such as yoghurt and kefir.
- Synbiotic – A combination of Pre and Probiotics. They contain live bacteria and the fuel for the good bacteria to thrive. Fermented and Cultured foods are synbiotic, hence the incredible health benefits.
- Excess weight can lead to elevated levels of estrogen, insulin and leptin which are linked to chronic disease. The importance of exercise together with a sustainable eating plan cannot be emphasised enough.
- Sleep is vital for regulating ghrelin and leptin. Both of these hormones aid in balancing your hunger and appetite. Sleep also plays a part in metabolising insulin and the role that it plays.
Additional Nutritional Advice.
- Eat lean meats.
- Increase your fiber intake. Wholegrains, vegetables, beans and fruit.
- Decrease intake of omega 6 polyunsaturated fats. Vegetable oils and meat products.
- Limit caffeine.
- Up your vitamin D intake. Yoghurt, salmon, tuna and mushrooms. I find it beneficial to take a supplement.
- Eat cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale.
- Avoid or limit alcohol to one unit a day.
These are just a few of the many factors that play a role in balancing our hormones. A huge contributing factor is stress, which can throw everything out of whack. There is no one quick fix. You will have to make many lifestyle changes to maintain a balance.
I am a huge advocator of the importance of gut health and the role that Cultured and Fermented Foods play. If you are a seasoned fermenter, well done. If you have not yet started, then please get going. It is fun, healthy and rewarding. Have a look at some of the other doings that I get up to in my kitchen and who knows you may choose to become a fellow Cultured Fermenter.
See you in the kitchen!