A woman’s health is a reflection of her environment. Currently we have an epidemic of hormone-related diseases in women; with women being the canaries in the coal mine, telling us that our world is out of balance. These diseases include breast cancer, early menarche, infertility, thyroid diseases, eating disorders, endometriosis, mood disorders, fibroids, and difficult menopause. In fact, here are some staggering facts:
- 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime
- 1 in 8 women will develop thyroid disease
- 20% of women suffer from depression
- 1 in 3 women, aged 65 years, have had their uterus removed
- 12 % of women will require complex and invasive treatment(s) in order to become pregnant
Our medical system treats these diseases without educating women about the underlying causes – causes that include endocrinedisrupting environmental toxins, diet-induced biochemical changes, gut flora imbalance, and nutritional deficiencies. But great hope lies in recognizing and understanding this unprecedented women’s health epidemic in as an opportunity to prevent and cure these diseases through adjustments in our daily lives, including our food system, diet, and the environment. Hormonal balance can be achieved by changing our diet, avoiding environmental toxins, using supplements and herbs, and reducing mental stress. Here are a few simple dietary changes that you can take as the first step towards balancing hormones and improving health:
Eliminate the bad stuff.
- Avoid refined flours, sugars, and processed foods. Sugar and refined carbohydrates produce an excess of insulin and estrogen.
- Consume alcohol in small amounts and buy organic wine when possible. Alcohol impairs optimal hormone detoxification in the liver, leading to abnormally high blood estrogen levels.
- Try a week of eliminating gluten and dairy from your diet and see how your body feels. Dairy and gluten are often triggers for inflammation and hormonal imbalances. Dairy is particularly known to trigger hormonal imbalance because of the naturally occurring hormones found in milk.
- Limit or avoid afternoon caffeine. Instead, try to rest with your eyes closed for 20 minutes. You can also treat yourself to this afternoon smoothie.
Add more of the good stuff.
- Reach for healthy fats and proteins, vegetables and fruits.
- Keep a supply of highquality protein powder, frozen organic fruits, coconut milk, coconut oil, avocados, and nuts. These make great ingredients in a shake, like this morning smoothie, when you are craving sugar or junky carbohydrates.
Eat plants, as much as possible.
Plants are carbohydrates, but they don’t spike your blood sugar or insulin like the refined carbohydrates found in donuts, muffins, or breads. They also come loaded with nutrients, fiber, and incredibly healthy phytochemicals. Make certain that you eat at least one helping of cruciferous vegetables daily, which include broccoli, cabbage, collards, and kale.
Support healthy gut function
Increase your fiber intake with more vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains. Two tablespoons of ground flax seeds a day can help to balance hormones and increase fiber.
Eat healthy fats.
Incorporate wild-caught salmon, sardines, high omega-3 eggs, coconut oil, walnuts or avocados into your diet often.
Eat organic food.
Organic food prevents exposure to chemicals, like pesticides, that mimic estrogen and confuse our normal hormonal pathways.
Avoid BPA-lined canned goods.
BPA is also an estrogen mimicker and exposure to BPA has been linked to breast cancer, early puberty in girls, Diabetes and obesity.
Drink pure water.
If you have wellwater, have it tested for purity. If you have city water, consider a filter that removes heavy metals and fluoride.
We have come to assume that hormonal dysfunction is an inevitable part of being a woman. But this assumption is wrong and causes us great harm. We seek medical treatments laden with side effects, and it distracts us from exploring and truly resolving the root cause of our symptoms and our diseases. Medications and medical interventions are not the solutions to our epidemic of women’s health issues.
Instead, we should wield our strength as courageous and powerful women by fighting to regain our health and the health of our children, naturally. Every small choice we make that improves or protects our health is a step towards freedom from illness, less stress, and a better future for ourselves and our children.