Food’s at the Root
Food is the basis of our health; it provides the fuel to run our bodies. Put simply: “poor foods = poor fuel” which leads to reduced energy and imbalances.
“The nights are drawing in…” These are the words on everyone’s lips as we turn from to autumn-winter. Our tastes and needs change at this time of year; now’s the time we think of slow-cooked foods, nourishing soups and comforting meals. Scrumptious! Butternut quashes, leeks, Brussels sprouts, green beans, broccoli, sweet potatoes…
Let’s talk about hormones…
Our endocrine system is made up of a number of glands that secrete various hormones. Each hormone has a distinctive role to perform within our body. These chemical messengers are responsible for a number of functions including:
- our metabolism regulation
- growth and development
- response to stress
- sexual reproduction.
It is a complex and finely tuned business. Quite often, we know when our hormones get out of balance – and perhaps those closest to us do as well!
Hormone levels go up and down all the time to help us adapt to situations. For example, in times of stress, our bodies automatically release extra hormones. It is when our bodies are under long-term stress (which are bodies are not designed for!) that our hormones can get out of balance, having a negative effect on our wellbeing.
Do you know when your hormones are out of balance?
Clues might include:
- PMS symptoms including headaches, abdominal cramps, fluid retention, mood swings, hunger, lethargy, insomnia, nausea, irritability, cravings for sweet foods
- Menopausal or peri-menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, migraine, joint/muscle pain, memory loss, poor sleep, low libido
How can we help re-balance our hormones?
- Through good nutrition
- Blood sugar-balancing diet
- Digestive function
- Liver function (The liver is involved with making and breaking down certain hormones, so an effective liver is key to your hormonal balance)
So my top tips are…
- Increase your intake of fibre-rich foods to aid removal of toxins Eg. ground flaxseeds, brown rice.
- Ensure you eat quality proteins. (These are the raw ingredients necessary for hormone production) Eg. fish, chickpeas, turkey.
- Eat foods rich in zinc. Eg. Pumpkin seeds
- Eat foods from the brassica (mustard) family. Eg. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower
- Keep sugars and refined carbohydrates to a minimum
Enjoy this autumn recipe: Butternut Squash, Chickpea and Spinach Curry