It has been a beautiful Fall day here in Portland, reminding me to get outside and take advantage of the natural source of Vitamin D the sun offers. Soon the sun will feel like a distant memory so I feel like I need to soak up as much as possible while I can. Recently other members of the Refinery have been asking me to put together a nutrition tip to help with balancing hormones. This beautiful Fall day gave me the perfect opportunity to stock up on hormone benefiting Vitamin D. See below to discover why Vitamin D is so important and to get other ideas to balance your hormones.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D which is produced by our bodies when exposed to sunlight has been shown to increase testosterone in men and can lower estrogen and progesterone in woman. Vitamin D is actually a precursor hormone working as a key factor in maintaining hormonal balance, bone health and a healthy immune system. It is extremely difficult to get all the Vitamin D we need here in Portland from the sun, especially in the winter. Supplementation with Vitamin D may be necessary.
Healthy Fats: Our body requires fat to make our hormones. Focusing on consuming healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, omega 3 rich oils like flax or eating salmon or other fatty fish regularly will give your body the fat it needs to create hormones. Shoot for balanced ingestion of omega 3 vs omega 6 fats for improved hormone balance.
Adaptogenic Herbs: Include adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha, medicinal mushrooms, rhodiola and holy basil to help your body improve thyroid function, support adrenal gland function and balance blood sugar.
Dark Leafy Greens: Kale, spinach and other dark leafy greens give the body a boost of natural magnesium, as well as iron and zinc which are all necessary for hormone health. They also contain natural compounds which improve your liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen.
Seeds: Pumpkin, flax, sunflower and sesame seeds can be used in a rotating combination to help balance hormones. You consume different seeds at different times of the month to support the natural hormone fluctuations that occur. Please contact me if you would like more information about this process.
Maca: Maca is a tuber root that has been used for thousands of years in Peru. It does not contain any hormones, but rather it contains the nutrients necessary to support normal hormone production. It helps fight adrenal fatigue by nourishing the adrenal glands and reducing stress hormones and can improve fertility and increase libido.
Adding some of these foods while decreasing your exposure to the harmful chemicals found in personal care products, BPA (found in can linings and plastics) and avoiding Teflon pans can lead to better hormone health.