Many women, especially when they get into perimenopause, get symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, disturbed sleep, vaginal dryness… not fun! So one of the questions I got in my Facebook group was: ‘What can I eat for my hormonal symptoms to disappear?
Menopause starts when you haven’t had a period for 1 year. The time leading up to this is a time of transition that we call ‘perimenopause’. Your ovaries begin to produce less hormones and that causes your menstrual cycle to become erratic or irregular. Perimenopause is basically your body is moving toward the end of your reproductive years.
Hormone imbalance quiz
In perimenopause your ovaries begin to produce less estrogen and progesteron. As they prepare to stop releasing eggs, progesteron drops first and estrogen follows. This means that there’s relatively more estrogen. We call that ‘estrogen dominance’ and this can even happen when estrogen is low! Estrogen dominance is what causes many women’s perimenopause symptoms. But there can very well be other hormone imbalances. For instance, your stress or thyroid hormones can play a big role too. I found an online quiz here that can give you an idea of where your imbalances may lie.
Hormonal health is not just about eating specific foods – it is connected to your over-all health! Three things are foundational and you need to address those to start feeling better:
- Your gut health
- Blood sugar balance
- Your liver health
It’s a good idea to start with digestive health – if things go wrong in your gut it will set off everything else! So if you have gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, candida or other digestive issues you need to address those first. When your gut works better your liver will also be relieved…
I focus on digestive health and blood sugar balance a lot in my online course. So if you want to address your perimenopause symptoms that course is a great starting point.
Helpful foods in perimenopause
There are some food that are specifically helpful for hormone balance:
- Omega 3 fats! So don’t go low-fat – you need your healthy fats to make hormones. Use flax or hemp oil, fatty fish and take an Omega 3 supplement.
- Eat more fiber – fiber helps to move those used estrogens out of your body. So eat your whole foods: fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans
- Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables – your cauliflower, pak choi, Brussel sprouts, cabbage etc – have plant nutrients that help to detox your liver and lower the unhealthy estrogens
- Flax seed needs a special mention. It delivers the fiber and Omega3 fatty acids but also plant estrogens that help rebalance your estrogens. Tip: buy the whole seed, grind it in your coffee or spice grinder and add 2 tablespoons to your meals every day.
The bottom line: eat real food…
Eating a whole food diet with lots of plants -vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds – some good quality fats and protein is a great approach to balancing your hormones. This is what I teach in my Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle course. It’s a 6 week online self paced course with weekly live group calls where I answer your questions and where you find support from people on the same journey!