By Sue-Anne Hickey, Certified Naturopath
The word ‘hormone’ comes from the Greek language, with its original meaning being ‘to set in motion’. These days, when we talk about hormones, we’re talking about the chemical substances in the body that control and regulate the activity of certain cells or organs.
Why are hormones so important? Hormones send and receive messages that are critical for many body functions. They are part of a regulatory system that plays a role in immune function. Tiny amounts can cause large changes in our cells. And most importantly…they can make the difference between a good day and a bad day!
Many women suffer from symptoms related to hormonal imbalance, but there is no need to suffer. There is much you can do to alleviate premenstrual and menopausal symptoms naturally!
Pre-menopause, estrogen is produced by the ovaries, liver, adrenal glands and fat cells. Post- menopause, the ovaries quit production and the job is left to the liver, adrenal glands and fat cells. It is essential that these glands be working well in order to produce enough estrogen to alleviate PMS and menopause symptoms. Due to our high exposure to air pollution, chemicals and pesticides, almost everyone’s liver could use some help, either through cleansing or building. High levels of stress and anxiety can cause adrenal fatigue.
First and foremost, it is important to eat a varied diet with plenty of natural, whole, fresh foods; lots of dark leafy greens; fresh fruits and vegetables; adequate protein; and healthy fats. Increase your consumption of foods that nourish the reproductive system, such as raw nuts, whole grains, seeds, (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, almonds) Eat fresh sprouts and foods rich in lecithin, such as egg yolks.
Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet (SAD) features many foods that create toxicity in our systems and stress out our glands.
Foods to avoid include white sugar, white flour, dairy, chemical additives and preservatives, and all foods containing these ingredients. It is also important to avoid fatty or fried foods, and fast foods. Replace table salt with sun-dried natural sea salt. Reduce coffee and alcohol and drink plenty of pure water. Water is the solution to the dilution of the pollution!
It is also important to make lifestyle changes and learn how to better manage stress and get plenty of fresh air and exercise.
Helping my clients eat right for their body type helps tremendously and there are many plants and vitamins that can naturally relieve symptoms as well. Each person has different needs depending on their situation but some high quality supplements and vitamins that can help with female hormone imbalances include the following:
- Ginger for menstrual cramps;
- Vitamin B6 combined with a complex B for PMS irritability;
- Vitamin C, vitamin E and herbs such as time-released black cohash for menopause symptoms.
If you and your family have been struggling around ‘that time of the month,’ contact us to see how our Naturopath can help you find more balance for yourself and your hormones.