Being a busy woman balancing work and family commitments can often lead to a fast-paced lifestyle and a fast-paced diet. My clients repeatedly tell me “I don’t have time, to make breakfast or I just can’t cope without my morning coffee”. The interesting thing I notice is that all of my clients have a fairly good idea of what is wrong with their health most times they tell me “I have come to see you because I thought you might be able to help — balance my hormones”. The reality for many women is that nutrition and meal preparation are an afterthought when you have 8 hrs of work, 2–3 hours commute time, and other social and extracurricular activities to juggle. The ability to plan and prepare a healthy well-balanced meal is often the last thing on their mind. So which foods are having the biggest effect on their hormones, and the reality is that the effect of poor nutrition is felt by everyone in the household, not just mum? So which foods are causing the biggest problem?
Ok the first big problem for the modern woman that causes your hormones to out of whack is caffeine. Well, it is probably no big surprise you say but you probably do not realize the impact it is having on your body until one day your try to stop drinking it and find yourself driving to the drive-through coffee store because you simply can not stand the headache you have developed. LOL, this is real its not made up. I was an 8 cup a day woman, yes, it’s not a mistake you did just read “8 CUPS A DAY” I cannot quite believe it myself. Now I have no coffee and have not had it for years. Why did I stop? One day I realized I had an addiction, when I did not get my coffee, I got the most awful headache I had ever experienced. That was the first indication, then I became a naturopath and fully aware of the effect of caffeine on my hormones and my weight and I realized the choice to drink it was not a good one.
So how come caffeine is so bad for your hormone health? Ok firstly caffeine is a stimulant, so it will cause the release of adrenaline to promote the production of energy that is the prime reason many people say, “I need a coffee to keep me awake”. That will be causing the release of insulin to process the sugar needed to make energy, the increased insulin levels in the blood over time contribute to the insulin receptor cells becoming less sensitive to the insulin this leads to Type 2 Diabetes in the longer term, it also leads to increase abdominal fat storage.
Secondly, caffeine interferes with the CYP1A2 enzyme’s ability to metabolize estrogen, this can lead directly to estrogen dominance and other hormone imbalance issues. Lastly, caffeine has a diuretic effect on the body, in other words, it will make you go to the toilet a lot, it does this by irritating the lining of the bladder. In today’s modern world caffeine is hidden in many beverages it is no longer just coffee that is the main source of caffeine, there are, cola soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee and black tea all contain caffeine.
Oh no, not “Sugar” I can hear you all moaning, yes, I am afraid it is true, sugar has an impact on our hormone balance, it is sugar, it increases your blood sugar levels directly and that leads to increased levels of insulin in the blood and if consumed in large amounts over a long period of time the result will lead to type 2 diabetes. This is not a fad; it is fact please check if you are unsure you will find I am fully supported by the research. Insulin resistance leads to increased abdominal fat or adipose tissue and this causes an increase in the amount of estrogen produced causing estrogen dominance, another common problem is Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Sadly, the age of women being diagnosed with hormone imbalance such as PCOS is becoming younger and younger it is not uncommon now to see adolescent women 14 or 15 years of age with PCOS. It is also common in our modern world to also see young men who have an excess of estrogen production also, characterized by excess abdominal fat and the classic “man boobs”. The sad thing is that these issues are a direct result of our modern fast food, fast-paced lifestyles and the increase is directly proportionate to the change in diet and lifestyle that has occurred over the last 30–40 years.
I have left the big one until last, the refined carbohydrates. What are they you ask? They are foods that have been highly refined, and all the goodness has been removed from the grain. Typically, refined carbohydrates are found in bread, cakes, biscuits, rice, pasta, cereals, and other similar goods. So how do you know which ones to avoid, it is simple really read the ingredient list on the packet if there are more than 4–5 ingredients and you cannot recognize the names of the ingredients it is not good for you, it is that easy. So how and why do they cause hormone imbalance, they broken down in the body into sugar, they have little if any nutrient value and are quickly released into your bloodstream as sugar. This then causes the release of insulin to bind to the insulin receptors to let the sugar into the cells to make energy. If eaten in too large a quantity too often insulin resistance estrogen dominance and type 2 diabetes is the result.
If you suspect you have a hormone imbalance and would like to learn how to balance your hormones book a FREE 30-minute consultation to find out more about how I can help you to balance your hormones and get your energy back, you can also join my Fat 2 Fabulous Facebook Group here, or grab a FREE copy of my Love Your Self Silly With Chocolate Recipe Book here.