Balance Hormones with Diet

The balance of all hormones, not just estrogen and progesterone, is an absolutely huge part of our health, for both women and men. To balance your hormones with diet we must always start that process by focusing on an intentionally balanced diet. All of the nutrients in fruits, vegetables, some nuts (those with high amounts of Omega-3 fats), seeds, especially pumpkin and flax seeds, vegetable proteins, especially soybeans and their healthful isoflavones and other phytonutrients are so important for good nutrition and to keep all of our hormones in balance. So in your search about balancing your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and the other steroidal hormones, never lose sight of the importance of your food and life style choices in your hormonal health.

Every woman experiences different menopause symptoms. Most women have some hot flashes, some feel irritable, a smaller number of women battle headaches, nausea or night sweats. Whatever your menopause symptoms are, the following food strategies just might help make your years around menopause a little more comfortable.

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables - Fruits and vegetables offer many health benefits -- fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and are naturally low fat but there are many reasons to eat these foods. Plants have chemicals that help protect our bodies' health and well-being. Phyto-estrogens are particular plant chemicals that are very similar in structure to estrogen, and may act as weak estrogen in our bodies. The mineral boron is another beneficial element of fruits and vegetables. Boron seems to increase the body's ability to hold onto estrogen. It also helps keep our bones strong by decreasing the amount of calcium we excrete each day.

2. Eat more beans - Beans are a nutritionally efficient food because they offer so many health benefits in one little package. They may slow the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream, thus curbing your appetite longer. They're full of fiber. They contain phyto-estrogens. They're good sources of many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, folic acid and vitamin B-6 and they are a low-fat source of protein.

3. Eat more tofu and soy - Soy may give relief from hot flashes, although that benefit is still being debated by researchers. However, we do know that soy may help protect our heart and arteries by lowering bad cholesterol. Eat or drink two servings of soy a day. Soy foods will take 4 to 6 weeks to show an effect.

4. Eat more of the right fats – It is important to avoid eating a diet that is high in fat, especially saturated fat. High-fat foods are usually high in calories and low in nutrients, exactly the opposite of what a woman in or past menopause needs. But it's even more important to get the right fats in your diet -- fats that may protect against heart disease and cancer. Research indicates the right fats are omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, olive oil and canola oil.

Here are ways to build good fats into your meals, without sacrificing flavor:

  • Switch to olive oil and canola oil.

  • Eat more fish.

  • Eat less animal fat by choosing leaner meats and lower-fat dairy products.

  • Limit foods that contain hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.

  • Avoid stick margarine. Look for tub margarine that lists liquid canola oil or olive oil as the first ingredient.

5. Drink the right beverages - Most people believe we should drink eight glasses of water a day, but few of us do. Water helps keeps our kidneys flushed. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it forces our kidneys to get rid of more water than they should. This can encourage dehydration. Caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages such as soft drinks don’t help your bones at all. Some lower the amount of calcium your body takes in from food, and others increase the amount of calcium your body loses through the kidneys. Try drinking a glass of juice each day instead of soda or coffee.

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