At our November Restore Retreat we had a lecture by in-house Nutritionist Noonie. It was really good and very informative. I haven't really started to think about Menopause yet, imagining it being years and years away. However even at my young age of 43 it is a good thing to prepare yourself for the perimenopause as well as the menopause so that the transition is smooth and pleasant. Menopause is something that we should celebrate rather than defy. I believe this is the age when a woman becomes the most in tune with herself and her surrounding. An age were a woman has become wise and experienced, is still young and still beautiful.
Here are some great tips for hormonal health:
1. Include phytoestrogens in your diet.
These are natural hormones found in plants that work like adaptogens – they block the effect of stronger oestrogens if oestrogen levels are too high, whilst exerting an oestrogenic effect if oestrogen levels are too low. They are also important antioxidants and they can also stop cell proliferation or abnormal cell growth (implicated in cancer). Phytoestrogens can be found in;
- Soya - Make sure it is organic and not processed. Fermented soya like tempeh, some tofu, tamari etc. is best. Processed soya like all processed foods are not to recommend.
- Legumes (soya, chickpeas, lentils etc.)
- Seeds (linseeds are especially good, sesame, pumpkin, poppy, caraway, sunflower)
- Grains (oats, rice, wheat, barley, rye)
- Fruit (apples, plums, cherries)
- Veggies (broccoli, carrots, rhubarb)
- Sprouts (alfalfa, mungbeans)
- Herbs and spices (cinnamon, sage, red clover, fennel, parsley
2. Include enough essential fatty acids. Especially omega 3 oils.
Omega 3 fats (from oily fish, flaxseeds, chiaseeds) are called essential for a reason. The body doesn’t produce them so we need to take them in through the diet. They are extremely important or the brain, nervous system, heart and actually every cell membrane which is crucial to the way hormones work in the body. Also importantly they have an anti inflammatory effect in the body and what we don’t want as we get older is to have persistent inflammation going on. This is the basis of all disease.
Omega 6 fats (from nuts, seeds, oils and many fabricated and processed foods) are important to us too but the problem is we eat too much in relation to the omega 3s. The ratio of 6 to 3 should be about 2:1 but in the western diet it is more like 16:1. If this is the case pro-inflammatory substances is produced and converted in the body making a base for many diseases.
How to include EFA’s to your diet:
- Have oily fish 3/week
- 2-4 tablespoons of ground flax seeds a day
- 2-4 tablespoons of chia seeds every day
- Handful of nuts/seeds a day. Make sure you soak your nuts to get rid of enzyme inhibitors
- Use a variety of only cold pressed oils and only on your salad and similar. Never to cook with.
- Avoid Trans and hydrogenated fats (in processed foods and take aways)
3. Eat plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
The best and most important anti aging food there is. Full of vitamins and minerals needed for every single chemical reaction that take place in your body. Lots of fiber and antioxidants. Fiber is essential to get rid of the bad hormones in your body. Aim for 10 portions a day and at least 5. Antioxidants keep you young for longer.
Especially good are the cruciferous vegetables. Examples of these are broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, mustard greens, turnips, kohlrabi. They contain something called indole 3 carbinol and is very helpful for detoxifying bad hormones. Very good for the liver.
4. Say no to refined carbs and sugars.
Anything white is a no no. Balanced blood sugar levels are highly important in both hormonal health and longevity.
5. Drink plenty of pure water.
Water is needed to metabolise stored fats, for nutrients to travel around body and for toxins to leave the body. Make sure you drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. Filtered water is best. Avoid tap water at all times. Lots of hormones are found in tap water.
6. Eliminate Chemicals as much as possible.
We are currently exposed to a huge range of substances known as xeno-estrogens – foreign estrogen which act as hormone disruptor in the body. They are largely man made chemicals found in the pesticides sprayed on our food, in plastics, medications, detergents, and other chemicals such as make up, skin products, carpets, etc.
7. Reduce Alcohol
Alcohol plays havoc with your blood sugar levels. It is also not great for your liver.
8. Reduce Animal products
Particularly non organic as these contains hormone residues. Also the saturated fats in animal products contain aracadonic acid which is a highly inflammatory substance. We want to avoid inflammation at all times and more and more the older we get.
9. Reduce Coffee
Coffee is particularly bad for your liver (it takes around 8 hours for the liver to detoxify the caffeine), and your adrenals. You want to keep these 2 organs in tip top shape coming up to menopause. The liver helps detoxify all excess and bad hormones. And your adrenals will take over the production of estrogen when your ovaries stops.
Exercise is very good for your thyroid (you want to keep this in tip top shape going into your menopause), your blood sugar levels and general well being and happiness. Walking, swimming, rebounding, yoga and jogging are all great examples of easy and cheap exercises you can do daily. Try and exercise 3 times a week.