Tag: women’s health

I Tried It: Seed Cycling For Hormone Balance

Do you feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster throughout your menstrual cycle?   Do you suffer from mood swings, acne, fatigue and nausea in the week before you get your period?   Maybe it’s time to try seed cycling to address this hormone imbalance. […]

Exercise and your menstrual cycle.

Have you ever thought about how your cycle affects the way you exercise?   The highs and lows of hormones means that at certain times in your cycle it’s better to slow things down and do very light, gentle exercise. And at other times in […]

Eating for your menstrual cycle

eating for your menstrual cycle

 

Since I started tracking my period a few years ago, I’ve become much more aware of the different phases of my period, the dips in my energy and mood and what I can eat to support my hormones in each phase.

 

Menstrual Phase

The menstrual phase is when many of us feel super low with less energy and cramps and pain, to boot. During this time, I love eating lots of iron rich foods like grass-fed organic beef and lamb, dark leafy greens, chickpeas and lentils to rebuild my iron levels and lots of vitamin C foods like citrus, berries, peppers and broccoli to help absorb the iron from the iron-rich vegetables. 

 

I continue to eat lots of good fats to fight any sugar (chocolate!!!) cravings.

 

Do you notice a difference in what you eat in the week of your period?

 

Follicular Phase 

This usually happens for a week after your period ends.  This is the time in your cycle when you feel amazing, with great, glowing skin and loads of energy. Can anyone relate to this?

 

I love eating lots of leafy greens, flax, pumpkin, beetroot, chilli, watermelon and oily fish during this time of my cycle to support hormone clearance, blood circulation and give my immune system a boost.

 

Do you notice a difference in what you eat (and crave!) in the week after you finish your period?

 

Ovulatory Phase 

Yes, this phase is still important even when we’re not trying to get pregnant! The menstrual cycle has been called the fifth vital sign and ovulation is a sign that things are working as they should.

 

So what do you eat to support your body when you ovulate? Well, eating a diet rich in fruit and veg, free-range meat and dairy, wild fish and some whole grains will support ovulation – this is something that’s helpful through your cycle.

 

Vitamin D foods like mushrooms, wild salmon, sardines, organic milk and eggs  and a variety of fruit and veg in a range of colours have loads of antioxidants and phytonutrients that help support the immune system during this phase.

 

Luteal Phase 

My luteal phase, which is at the end of my cycle, right before my period, is when I need lots of healthy fats to support skin health and prevent the breakouts that are so common during this time. I also eat lots of magnesium and tryptophan foods to help support my mood – avocado, wild salmon, sesame and sunflower seeds are great during this time.

 

Would you eat for your cycle? For some, this is too much detail, so here’s a few basic food principles that will support your cycle no matter what phase you’re in.

 

  1. Eat lots of vegetables every day, especially green leafy and cruciferous vegetables. 
  2. Eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables.
  3. Drink lots of water.
  4. Eat and drink fermented foods.
  5. Eat wild caught fish a few times a week.
  6. Be mindful about the way you eat sugar and drink caffeine and alcohol.

 

Do you eat to support your cycle? Would you try it?
Are you feeling perplexed by your cycle? Do you want to finally get to grips with period pain, mood swings and sugar cravings? Book in for a free 30 minute Hormone Health Review!

 

Do you track your menstrual cycle?

Do you track your menstrual cycle?   As you would expect, I’m a huge advocate of this. Our menstrual cycles have been called the fifth vital sign and when you keep track of it, you can get so much amazing information about: the length of […]

What are the best foods to support good thyroid health?

To round out the thyroid health series, let’s look at how we can eat to support our thyroids!   Making sure you have enough zinc, iodine and selenium in your diet are key ways of supporting your thyroid health.   Including lots of fruit and […]

Let’s talk about how our thyroids are affected by stress!

 

Let’s talk about your thyroid and stress!

 

Good thyroid health is closely connected the health of your glands that produce your stress hormones – your adrenals. These tiny glands are located on top of your kidneys.

 

Chronic stress is the enemy of a happy and balanced hormonal system.

 

Sustained levels of stress increase the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) that your adrenals produce. And when you’re constantly stressed and not doing anything to reduce your stress levels, this causes a disruption to balanced thyroid hormone production.

 

Here’s the science: Chronic cortisol production means you produce less free T3 and too much reverse T3, which blocks thyroid hormone receptors.

 

What do I mean by chronic stress?

 

These are things that place stress on your body: not getting enough sleep, not eating enough fruit and vegetables, dehydration, excessive levels of cardio, shallow breathing, physically and emotionally abusive relationships, constant worry, amongst many others.

 

Doing things to act as a counterbalance to stress is essential for balanced hormones!

 

We all live busy lifestyles so some amount of stress is normal – it’s when you’re not doing anything to offset that stress, that issues can arise.

 

How do you manage your stress?

 

Do you want to you know more about your thyroid? Schedule in a 30 minute Hormone Health Review with me! 

 

Photo by Antonika Chanel on Unsplash

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Do you need to care more about your thyroid in your 40s and 50s?

Do you need to think about your thyroid health more as you move into your 40s and 50s?   In short, yes!   Research shows that hypothyroidism tends to be more common in women over 40, as thyroid hormone production gradually decreases as we get […]

Why you need to care about your thyroid!

  Over the last week, we’ve been talking about our thyroids. We’ve talked about what happens when you produce too much thyroid hormone and when you produce too little.   We’ve learned that the thyroid is a bit like Goldilocks – you want to make […]

What happens when you produce too much thyroid hormone?

In my last post, I talked about producing too little thyroid hormone. Now let’s talk about what happens when you produce too much.

 

Do you often feel out of breath or short of breath?

 

You might have trouble keeping weight on.

 

Do you feel like your eyes look like they might pop out of your head?

 

You might feel like you get tremors or shakes or heart palpitations.

 

You might sweat excessively or feel very hyperactive all the time.

 

You might be losing your hair.

 

You might have a swelling in your neck caused by an overactive thyroid gland.

 

In combination, these can be symptoms of an overactive thyroid. If left unchecked, an overactive thyroid / hyperthyroidism can be life threatening.

 

If this is you, I would encourage you to get your thyroid hormones checked as soon as possible!

 

Would you to find out more about your thyroid or ask specific questions related to your thyroid or hormone health? Book in for a free 30 minute Hormone Health Review!

 

Photo by Kunj Parekh on Unsplash

My new e-book is here!

  I am so excited to share my first e-book, Six Ways To Improve Your Period Pain! In it, you’ll find six ways to get started on improving your period pain, including ways to integrate these changes into your life.   Period pain is so […]

How well do you know your menstrual cycle?

This isn’t a trick question!   There are a few signs that tell you it’s worth becoming more familiar with your menstrual cycle.   Are you surprised every month when your period arrives? Do you get hit like a brick with PMS every month, feeling […]

Stories I loved this week.

 

hampstead heath

Have you ever considered moving towards a minimalist lifestyle? I have. We seem to accumulate so much stuff, especially with a child and despite my regular clear outs, they never seem to make a dent in the stuff. (The Cut)

 

How getting rid of stuff saved this woman’s motherhood. (Motherly)

 

The speculum finally gets a redesign. (Wired)

 

“Light remains one of the most powerful influences on our wellbeing and behaviour.” (The Guardian)

 

How to care for your mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell!). (The Chalkboard Mag)

 

Why are more American teenagers than ever suffering from severe anxiety? (New York Times)

 

More than half of girls in the UK are too embarrassed to talk about their periods. This blows my mind!. (The Telegraph)

Stories I loved this week.

It’s nearly the beginning of October and hopefully we’re all getting to grips with packing school lunchboxes during the week. Here are some nice lunchbox tips. (Cup of Jo) The bacteria in your gut may be shaping your waistline. (The Economist) Have you tried mediating […]

How To Manage PMS

  Do you dread the week before your period? How much do you dread it?   I used to count down the days, waiting for the familiar aches in my back, bloated belly and throughly grumpy mood.   I used to think all women suffered […]

Have you tried seed cycling?

sunflower

I first heard about seed cycling a couple years ago on a natural health podcast and found it very intriguing.

 

The basic principle of seed cycling is that it is possible to use the primary micronutrients in a few seeds to help balance female sex hormones.

 

Infertility, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, PMS, acne, fatigue and other problems that have links with the menstrual cycle and female sex hormones are becoming more common.  Some of this is due to lifestyle and diet choices, which for some women can cause sub-clinical deficiencies in zinc, selenium and B vitamins –  some of the key micronutrients that help build female sex hormones.  Adding these micronutrients back in systematically can help restore balance.

 

What are the female sex hormones and why are they important?

If you think back to your biology classes in high school, there are four phases to a woman’s monthly reproductive cycle. At each phase in her cycle, a woman’s body produces different hormones to support the different activities that are happening in her uterus and ovaries.

 

  1. Menstrual phase: Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  2. Pre-ovulatory phase: Estrogen and Luteinising Hormone
  3. Ovulation: Luteining Hormone
  4. Post-ovulatory phase: Progesterone

 

Good, balanced hormone production is important not only for regular menstrual cycles, but only for stress management. Too much estrogen (known as estrogen dominance) and too little estrogen can both be problematic in their own way.

 

Some doctors will prescribe the oral contraceptive hormone as a means of hormone balancing. Before going down that route, there are some natural methods, like seed cycling, to consider.

 

The nitty gritty of seed cycling

You’ll be using flax, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, all of which have different micronutrients that support hormone production at different phases of the menstrual cycle.

 

Flaxseeds and sesame seeds: Both seeds contain lignans, a polyphenol phytonutrient which can block excess estrogen production in the body.

 

Pumpkin seeds: The zinc in this seed supports progesterone release, which is important for having normal, low pain periods. Zinc also ensures that excess estrogen doesn’t convert to testosterone, which can be very problematic, particularly in PCOS sufferers.

 

Sunflower seeds: The selenium in this seed supports phase 1 liver detoxification (where your liver begins to clear excess estrogen from the body).  Selenium also helps produce glutathione peroxidase, a very powerful antioxidant.

 

How to do it

This can take between 1 and 4 cycles to see an effect, so bear with it. If your cycle is longer or shorter than 28 days, just start the second phase the day you ovulate. Day 1 starts the first day of your period. If you aren’t tracking your cycles already with an app or notebook, I strongly urge you to do so. It’s interesting to look back and see how different events can affect the length and strength of your cycle.

 

Day 1 – 14 (follicular phase): 1 tbsp flax seeds, 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds – these seeds help your liver clear the extra estrogen that can occur during this time of your cycle and the zinc in pumpkin seeds prevent excess testosterone production.

 

Day 15 – 28 (luteal phase): 1 tbsp sunflower seeds, 1 tbsp sesame seeds – these seeds are rich in zinc and selenium which help progesterone production during this phase of your cycle. They are also high in essential fatty acids, which help balance progesterone and estrogen and support the cell membrane (outer layer) of your eggs.

 

Take the seeds in the morning if possible, try to get organic seeds and with the flax, try to grind them fresh because the oils in the seeds can go rancid if they’re ground and kept out for too long.

 

There are so many different ways to have the seeds in the morning.

  • Add them to a morning smoothie
  • Mix them up with some organic full fat Greek yoghurt
  • Make an omelette and then sprinkle them over the top
  • Mix them into a morning salad
  • Date balls! Try this recipe and add in the relevant seeds for the respective time in your cycle
  • Or simply take them with some water

Have you tried seed cycling? Did it work for you?

Photo by Unsplash