Feminine Health

7 Ways To Balance Your Hormones

Menopause entrepreneur Meg Mathews and nutrition guru Jackie Lynch help us to keep our – often fluctuating – hormones in check

1. Go organic

Nutritional therapist Jackie Lynch recalls a recent study that showed organic meat and milk contain up to 50 percent higher levels of hormone-balancing omega 3 essential fatty acids, due to grass-fed cattle. “Organic fruit and veg is likely to be richer in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E and other antioxidants, possibly due to the lack of chemical pesticides and fungicides, which reduces the toxic load on the liver. It can then get on with other jobs, which includes the deactivating and eliminating of old hormones after your period so they don’t re-enter the bloodstream.”

2. Keep calm and carry on

Our mental health has a major effect on our physical health, too. “Although the menopause can be responsible for causing stress, managing to keep stress levels under control, or even trying cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), will allow your remaining hormones to work better,” says former music PR, turned menopause entrepreneur Meg Mathews. “A healthy mental, physical and spiritual routine can do wonders for us during the menopause.”

3. Prioritise those zzz’s

“A good night’s sleep is a miracle during perimenopause,” mentions Meg. “If you manage to have a steady routine, such as going to bed early, waking up at the same time, avoiding any blue light sources, or alcohol and sugars before sleeping, your chances of having a good rest will increase dramatically. It’s during sleep that our bodies regenerate and repair, so it should always be a priority. This will help manage many of the other symptoms a hormone imbalance, such as menopause, hits us with.”

4. Eat right

“There are lots of ways the right diet can affect your hormones, but if you do only one thing, I’d suggest avoiding refined sugar found in cakes, cookies, chocolate and other sugary foods and drinks,” says Jackie. “Too much sugar causes a blood-sugar spike, which is inevitably followed by a crash. When your blood-sugar drops, this releases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which disrupt the production of oestrogen and may prevent ovulation. Adrenaline also interferes with progesterone during the second half of your cycle, which upsets your hormone balance and can cause PMS symptoms of anxiety and irritability.”

5. Get your steps in

Exercise works for us on so many levels, but according to Jackie, one of the best things it can do is increase oxygen levels in the blood, so that the nutrients we need are effectively transported to every cell in the body – including our reproductive cells and the glands which regulate our hormones. “Exercise also helps with weight management, which is a key factor in hormone balance because fat cells can produce oestrogen. While oestrogen is vital for our reproductive system, too much of it disrupts our hormone balance, affecting periods, increasing PMS and exacerbating symptoms of fibroids or endometriosis,” advises Jackie.

6. Time to meditate

“Meditation, yoga and controlled breathing are very welcomed during the menopause when hormones are fluctuating,” says Meg. “In fact, just a short 15 minutes of mindful meditation can leave our minds in a calmer and more rational state. This gives us the potential to change how severely or frequently we experience our symptoms.” Meg explains that detaching ourselves from screens, stresses and anxieties and just living in the moment has proven results for our wellbeing. “It won’t bring our oestrogen levels up, but it will certainly help to keep our cortisol levels within the normal parameters,” she adds.

7. Supplement with supplements

The world of supplements can be a minefield. Luckily, nutrition expert Jackie, is here to help us navigate it. “Start with a goodquality multivitamin and mineral. Hormone balance relies on a range of chain reactions, so this way you’ll get a bit of everything and won’t overload on one to the detriment of another, because the right balance of micronutrients is essential. Fatty acids help to balance hormones, so a good-quality fish or linseed oil is an option, and herbs such as black cohosh or agnus castus have hormone-balancing properties, but may interfere with medication, so check with your doctor first.”

Meg

Meg Mathews is on a mission to break the stigma around the menopause and to get us talking openly and honestly about what all women go through. Find out more at megsmenopause.com

Jackie

As an author of many nutritional books and owner of WellWellWell, a london-based nutrition clinic, Jackie Lynch is passionate about supporting women in midlife. Listen to her podcast, The Happy Menopause, for practical diet and lifestyle advice for women in their 40s and 50s at well-well-well.co.uk/podcasts

Health & Wellbeing