Many women ask me why is their weight, mood or period going crazy in their late 30s to late 40s? The culprit is usually a rollercoaster of estrogen patterns often predominantly estrogen spiking- a condition often referred to as estrogen dominance or estrogen excess. In your perimenopausal years, a time period leading up to menopause and encompassing all time between the rollercoaster of hormones and exactly 1 year after your period, your body tries to hang on to its reproductive powerhouse, estrogen, because it senses that your viable eggs in your ovaries are declining. Combine this with a surging cortisol, potentially from the stress balancing work, a relationship, kids and/or aging parents, and you are feeling way, way off. Your periods are anywhere from regular and heavy to scant and barely there, your mood swings from down and out to fired up and ready to fight, and your energy levels plummet and don’t get me started on the brain fog!
What was I going to talk about next? Oh yeah….what do we do about this rollercoaster of doom? Well, first we take a look at what we are feeding our bodies and how we are moving our bodies. This is the often overlooked angle- we are a world driven by quick fixes and magic pills. But you can’t supplement your way out of a hormone imbalance! So how do we eat to help lower estrogen?
- Get the xenoestrogens out of your life- think the five p’s- phlalates, plastics, parabens, pvc/pvb, and pesticides. See this video (https://youtu.be/BrSDgs3R1zM) and this blog (https://www.highlandshealthwellness.com/xenoestrogens-reduce-exposure/) for more detailed info.
- Make half your plate organic vegetables
- Eat less processed carbs (pasta, crackers, cookies, cakes, rice, cereal, bread, bagels, donuts, pastries, rolls). Try to avoid these as much as possible and just save them for a couple times per week or less. If you do have them on your plate make them less than ¼ of your plate.
- Eat 35 grams of fiber per day. I am serious about this one- it is essential for proper hormone detoxification and removal. If you don’t properly detox and remove your estrogen it recirculates and increases your estrogen levels. It is really tricky in our processed food world to get 35 grams of fiber- the average is 15 in the standard North American diet. Read labels, track with an app like My FItness Pal, CarbManager or Cronometer are my favorite- they all have both free and paid versions and can help you learn fiber sources and stay on track.
- Eat lots of green and cruciferous veggies- broccoli, kale, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, spinach and collards. These offer fiber and hormone balancing nutrients as well as help lower estrogen levels directly.
- Sleep 7 to 9 hours per night. If your sleep is disrupted by your hormone imbalance stay tuned for more info on this on the YouTube channel and read these blogs (https://www.highlandshealthwellness.com/tips-better-sleep/)
- Exercise 5 to 7 days per week but don’t overdo the intensity- try walking, hiking, interval training (HIIT), piltaes or yoga. Avoid long duration sustained high intensity exercise.