How can we use our diets and lifestyles to balance our hormones? That is a question I asked myself a lot in the past, and that women are asking me now.

When I was younger and going through menopause, I remember clearly all the sleepless nights, weight gain, hot flashes and feeling out of control with mood swings, breast tenderness, and just feeling desperate, and miserable as to what to do.

I didn’t know that my extreme cardio, and some of my lifestyle choices were contributing to my sleepless nights, hot flashes, and weight gain. Of course my drop in estrogen and progesterone was also a huge contributing factor too.

But even when I finally got onto bio identical estrogen and progesterone cream, I was still having sleep issues, and some hot flashes off and on. I will tell you the lack of sleep was the one thing I really was miserable about.

I had almost given up on ever getting a good night sleep again, can you relate? When you don’t sleep it effects everything else in your life, your relationships, your energy, and especially your mood.

If I knew what I know now then, I would have changed some of my exercise, and tweaked my diet, and other lifestyle habits.

Hormones are really sensitive, finicky you could say, they need to be kept in synergy, balanced.

A lot of women when they hit peri-menopause start to have signs of low estrogen with hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, plus the weight gain.

We can be low estrogen and low progesterone, but still be estrogen dominant as well. It is the ratio between the those hormones, I always thought I was low estrogen, which I did have low estrogen, but I also had low progesterone and like a lot of women. I was then estrogen dominant, since my progesterone was lower, which it does drop first and the fastest.
Those pre & peri-menopausal years though are like a roller coaster with our hormones, with surges in estrogen, and then dips, that is what causes all the crazy symptoms. Progesterone relaxes us and helps us sleep….Ahhh….

We need our hormones in optimal ranges to feel our best. It also makes it really hard to do blood tests because the hormones at this time are changing so much from day to day.

The doctor needs to go by how you feel, not just your blood labs. If you are not sleeping they can prescribe bio identical progesterone, in a micronized pill form to take at bedtime, that form does help with sleep.

Also you could track your symptoms for your doctor and tell him how you are feeling through out your cycle, that would be really helpful.

Tracking things like, I’m having breast tenderness on this day of my cycle, or bleeding heavily this month, or can’t sleep at all, or on what days that happens.

How to keep our hormones balanced

What can we do to help ourselves?

  • Nutrition Eliminating sugar, alcohol, spicy foods and sometimes coffee. Plus eating a very clean diet, the hot flashes will diminish, or go away.
  • These 4 factor’s, reducing stress, getting your sleep, Aerobic Exercise, and Nutrition are the most important for balancing your hormones.
  • Eating a clean diet of organic real food and for the most part unprocessed foods. Meat, fish, veggies, fruit, good fats, and moderate starch. I say organic as they put hormones in conventional meats, and pesticides are on regular veggies and fruit.
  • Also drinking clean water, about half your body weight. ( We don’t drink enough water,) I aim for at least 2 liters a day, depending on my work outs, or if  it hot, I may drink another half of liter.
  • Using environmental friendly natural, soaps, detergents, personal care items, lotions, creams, less plastics. Can really help because all those things in our environment and our food, especially things we put on our skin effect our hormones. check out www.ewg.org which stands for the environmental working group, to check about all products, skin care and cleaning, plus get the dirty dozen of the veggies and fruits you should especially get organic.

Stress:

  • Is huge with hormones, making that time for ourselves especially during the holidays.
  • Walk in nature is #1 if you can’t walk in nature, just walk where you can.
  • Read a good book
  • Meditate, or deep breathing
  • Laughter, time with our loved ones, friends and pets 🙂
  • Exercise not to much, and not to little as exercise in the right amount is very beneficial for hormonal health, plus your mood.
  • Massage, relaxing yoga, all these things will help with balancing your stress, and thus your hormones.

I wrote a page, on stress, sleep, hormones, diet, insulin and cortisol in my FREE Blast Your Belly Fat Resource Guide, which you can get on my website at www.crystalpecora.com/freebies   or http://bit.ly/2dXOVfG

Sleep:

  • Is very important, we always think oh! I don’t need sleep, I know sleep is not sexy. But we do need a regular bedtime routine and we do need quality sleep, Arianna Huffington the author of The Sleep Revolution. Goes into why sleep is so important with a ton of studies to back it up.
  • She talks about using lavender which has been used for sleep through out history, and for healing, and relaxation.
  • Also having a ritual before bed taking a hot Epsom salts bath, as I always say this to. She likes a candle flickering near by…sometimes a cup of chamomile or lavender tea, I like yogi bedtime tea as well.
  • She is also in the November issue of Life extension, give it a read, or her book, you will never think ahhh I don’t need much sleep.
  • I also like to do my foam rolling, and stretching out, and I write in my journal to get things off my mind, for better sleep.
  • Sleep, really if they could bottle it, and put a label on it, is health promoting, helps weight loss, energy, and, is mood enchancing, plus a craving buster.

Exercise:

  • 20 minutes a day of aerobic exercise has been shown that it turns on the genes that allow us to grow new brain cells, that help lower our risk for Alzheimers by 50%. I heard Dr David Perlmutter speak recently about this, and his new book called “The Grain Brain Whole life Plan.
  • He wrote this book to teach us how to apply all the science that was in his previous books Grain Brain and Brain Maker, making it very user friendly. He has Alzheimers in his family, his father passed away from it, so he is applying all the things in his new book to himself as well.
  • Less body fat will reduce your load of toxins, as toxins are stored in our body fat as our bodies way of protecting us so they are not floating around in our blood streams. Just having a lot of adipose tissue changes hormones in men and women.
  • Weight around the middle, increased insulin & cortisol negative feedback-less starchy carbs, keeping your body fat lower helps your hormones.

Hormones and Testing

  • Some women may want to use bio identical hormones, or start off with a clean unprocessed food diet, eliminating the sugar and alcohol, and maybe using some herbs, and see how they do.
  • Adaptogen herbs are a unique class of healing plants that can promote hormone balance and protect the body from a wide variety diseases, including those caused by stress, in addition to boosting immune function and combating stress.
  • Research shows that various adaptogens such as ashwagandha, medicinal mushrooms, rhodiola, and holy basil can balance hormones.
  • Dr Axe talks about this, others talk about maca like Dr Tami Meraglia.
  • Some say chase berry, its ask your doctor, and see if they work for you.
  • I use MacaPause by femmenessence I love it.
  • I just told this to my daughter yesterday, Doctors can run baseline hormone tests. When you are in your early thirties to see what they are, to have that baseline.
  • You can get blood tests the doctor will know what time of month or day to run them, based on your cycle.
  • There is also a 24 hour urine test looking at free fractions, looks at the downstream metabolites, and testosterone and DHEA. I’m not a doctor, but I did have a urine test done, and had blood work when I was younger. Each doctor believes in different ways, some will test both ways, which is good.
  • Post menopause they already know we are low hormones so they don’t want to test.
  • Most would just start you on a treatment, or bio identical hormones the lowest dose and see how your symptoms are after 6-8 weeks and adjust.
  • They all do it a different way, and I found out you need to go into your doctor after doing your own research, so they know you mean business, and want your issues resolved.

We live in a very toxic environment, compared to our ancestors 🙂

Also a diet, of mostly plants with some good fats, hormone free grass fed protein when possible, fish, some fruit, and starch to your tolerance will truly help. ( when you can’t get grass fed, hormone free meats, then aim to get lean meat as the toxins, hormones are in the fat) . xo

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