PMS Does Not Need to Lead to an Unbalanced Life
Do you suffer from painful or heavy periods? Is your menstrual cycle long or totally unpredictable? Are your PMS mood swings and food cravings making your friends run for the hills? Let’s face it, women’s bodies are complicated! From the intense mood swings that accompany adolescence to symptoms of PMS and menopause, our hormones are constantly changing. Then there is the roller coaster of fertility – finding effective birth control that we can live with, waiting to achieve pregnancy, or infertility issues. Today, I’m going to share with you some simple things you can do to help balance your hormones no matter what flavor of hormone imbalance you might have.
Help Your Liver Break Down Estrogen with Cabbage Family Vegetables
Cabbage family vegetables (also known as Brassicas or cruciferous vegetables) have the ability to help your liver break down estrogen. This can be helpful as many symptoms of hormone imbalance are due to excessive estrogen. As a bonus, these vegetables also support both phases of liver detox and have been shown to be anti-cancer.
The Brassica family includes: broccoli, kale, collards, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, turnips, cabbage (of course!), and many others. These delicious veggies are packed with other important nutrients that help with hormonal issues such as selenium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C. In order to get the most out of these vegetables it’s best to steam or sauté them and include the liquid in your dishes as many nutrients end up in the water. Enjoy at least two, 1/2 cup cooked servings daily.
Help Regulate Your Menstrual Cycle with Seed Cycling
Seed cycling is a great way to help regulate your menstrual cycle, resulting in more regular and less symptomatic periods. As a reminder, the first day of your period is day one. For days 1 through 14 of your cycle (the follicular phase), include 2 tablespoons of omega 3 rich ground flax and/or chia seeds in your diet. Flax and chia seeds contain phytoestrogens to support the follicular phase. Then, on days 15 until the first day of your next cycle, eat 2 tablespoons ground sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, and/or hemp seeds. These seeds are rich in omega 6s, and support anti-inflammatory prostaglandin and progesterone production.
These ground seeds can be added to smoothies, sprinkled on salads, cereals, veggies, rice, quinoa – you name it. They are good sources of fiber (and minerals), so include or drink at least 8 extra ounces of water when you eat the seeds to prevent constipation.
It’s best to grind the seeds fresh in a coffee grinder, however you may grind up to one week’s worth at a time and store in the freezer. Storing seeds for longer periods may result in the oils going bad. For best results continue seed cycling with every cycle.
Help Regulate Your Mood with Exercise
We all know hormones are intricately tied to our mood. One of the best ways to regulate mood is by exercising regularly. This is because exercise causes a release of endorphins helping to elevate mood, decrease stress, decrease PMS symptoms, and improve hot flashes. Regular exercise keeps the blood flowing in the pelvis, supporting your body’s natural capacity for preventing menstrual cramps and fibroids. A general recommendation for healthy women is to include 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 days a week.
The great thing about all three of these recommendations is that they can help with more than hormone imbalances. They can improve your mood, digestion, and your overall health. If you find that these tips aren’t enough, you may be in need of professional advice. Talk to one of the natural medicine doctors at Portland’s Heart Spring Health for a custom recommendation. We offer a collaborative approach to your health. A patient’s team may include naturopathic doctors, personal trainers, acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and more. All of these providers work together to provide unparalleled healing to the whole patient. Learn more about our approach, and about harnessing the body’s natural healing power on our website.
Dr. Emerald Mansfield is a naturopathic physician with a specialty in women’s health. She focuses on hormone imbalances especially during the childbearing years. Her approach is to support your body’s own ability to heal using natural therapies, including bodywork. She would be happy to help you with your hormone issues. Call our office (503-956-9396) to schedule an appointment or a free 30-minute consultation to discover if Dr. Emerald is the right doctor to help you.