Before lockdown I was busy running workshops for women 40+ keen to support their hormones. I had hit 40, had my third child, and suddenly realised that my body wasn’t responding and ‘bouncing back’ like it used to. Since then I’ve been on a mission to educate myself, and teach others, about the importance of eating right from 40 to reduce menopause symptoms, support brain health and keep my body strong.
In my online workshops I go into a great deal of depth about foods and lifestyle interventions but here is a little taster
Eat more fibre – fibre and hormone balance go hand in hand. Fibre is fuel for our gut bacteria – we need them to be healthy and well fuelled – so that they work hard for us. Our gut bacteria package up old circulating hormones and denature them, rendering them inactive, they are then excreted via our poo. If our gut bacteria aren’t thriving then this process doesn’t happen effectively. Old hormones can be reabsorbed and reused contributing to negative hormone fluctuations. We want our gut bacteria to be thriving, so we need to feed them well. Fibre comes from all plant matter – ensure you’re including a wide range of vegetables, beans, legumes, pulses daily. Choose regular vegan meals, and think about eating 2 or 3 different vegetables daily.
Embrace the fat – for decades fat has been demonised, especially by women who are keen to lose weight, but fat is literally the backbone of our hormones. Without good fats in our diet our body is unable to manufacture cholesterol, the precursor to our female hormones. ‘Good’ fat is also key for synthesising neurotransmitters to help stabilise mood, reduce anxiety, and protect our brain. Fat from oily fish, raw nuts and seeds, avocado, flax and olive oil, olives should be embraced. Consume oily fish twice a week, top porridge with ground flax seed, spread rye bread with almond butter and drizzle olive oil onto vegetables.
Herbs are not just for capsules – when thinking about hormone balance we often wonder what herbs we should be taking. But rather than popping the pills, I always encourage my clients to consume fresh herbs as part of their daily food intake. Herbs such as thyme, rosemary, sage, basil, coriander, parsley, oregano are all nutrient powerhouses. As well as providing fibre for the microbiome, these herbs are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and make all food more tasty and vibrant. They can go raw in salads, chopped into omelettes, in large bunches into soups and curries, blended with some oil and used as a pesto/salsa verde. Visit your garden centre and buy pots to keep by your window sill.
For a lot more detail about foods, supplements and lifestyle factors to support your female hormones please get in touch to book onto my next workshop “Hormonal health at 40+”