It’s International Women’s Day, so we wanted to celebrate with an educational post on women’s health. Specifically, achieving hormonal balance.
Achieving hormonal balance is a large part of women’s health. Some examples of hormone-related conditions are polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility, irregular menstrual cycles, PMS, decreased libido or sexual function, acne, depression, weight problems, night sweats, and thinning hair/hair loss, among others.
Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to achieve a happy hormonal balance.
Nutrition NOT Dieting
Constant dieting can actually be harmful to overall health. Instead of worrying about guidelines and restrictions, focus on intuitive eating! Try incorporating these foods into your meal plan:
- Leafy greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard) are full of fibre, vitamin A, calcium, and iron which are essential for women’s health. They also have high levels of folate which supports red blood cell production and healthy neural tube formation during pregnancy.
- Extra virgin olive oil contains oleic acid, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in vitamins E and K and may also have protective effects against breast cancer.
- Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which may protect against cancer and pesky UTI’s while supporting memory and healthy blood sugar.
- Cruciferous vegetables (bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower) contain dietary indoles which play a role in estrogen metabolism. When it comes to managing menopausal symptoms and bone health, cruciferous vegetables may become your new best friend!
- Beans, legumes, and lentils are great sources of B vitamins and iron. It is important for females to consume iron to replace the iron lost during menstruation.
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel) are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids that are important in brain and eye development during pregnancy and breastfeeding. They may also support memory, heart health and stroke prevention, depression, and autoimmunity!
Include Regular Exercise in Your Routine
Exercise has significant effects on multiple hormones including estrogen, cortisol, insulin, testosterone, and human growth hormone.
Due to post-menopausal hormonal changes, women are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Research has shown that resistance training, impact exercise, and plyometric exercise can help to reduce this risk and have positive effects on bone mass.
Include both cardio and resistance/strength-based training in your routine as each stimulates the body and muscles in different ways. Incorporating different forms of exercise will also keep your workouts interesting and sustainable for the long haul!
Gut Health for Great Health!
Show your gut some much-needed appreciation by eating prebiotic foods, like whole oats, apples, leeks, onion, and asparagus. Consume probiotic foods that contain live microorganisms, such as yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, kombucha and other fermented food items. You may wish to add a prebiotic supplement or probiotic supplement to your daily routine to further help balance the intestinal system. And finally, keep a food dairy to pinpoint foods that you may be sensitive to and that you should avoid.
Always Work Towards Unconditional Self-Acceptance
Women are strong and incredible beings regardless of what societal pressures exist to look, act, speak, or dress a certain way. When women take an active role in self-acceptance, troublesome societal ideals can be made insignificant resulting in happier, healthier women. On top of that, accepting imperfections and practicing kindness/compassion towards oneself can help to buffer anxiety and increase psychological wellbeing.
Practicing self-love and acceptance comes in many forms, so participate in a few that make you feel fantastic! Go ahead and take some ‘me time’, write a list of things that you love about yourself, find an inspiring self-love mantra, and most importantly, do the things that make you happy! Self-love isn’t selfish, it’s part of being a healthy, confident woman!
Happy and Healthy International Women’s Day from all of us here at Dr Tobias!