Adieu mood swings – step off the hormonal rollercoaster

You know the drill… sudden mega emotional outburst… followed by the thought “oh no, not again”… followed by the ‘strap yourself in and get ready for the ride’ mentality of just-getting-on-with-it. Whether it’s that sudden urge to burst into tears because they don’t have your usual brand of cereal on the shelf – or feeling like the world has come to an abrupt end the moment you wake up (when it all seemed so fine yesterday) – the hormonal rollercoaster can be a slippery slidey (yet surprisingly unspoken about) female nightmare.

 

But that doesn’t mean we just have to put up with it. Read on to learn how your lifestyle might be affecting your hormones and how to cruise every day of your cycle with more peace, love and vitality.

 

  1. Hormone-friendly eating

 

General healthy eating advice applies to keeping our hormones balanced too. So avoid crash dieting and limit sugar, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods. And ensure you include plenty of fruit, colourful veg, good fats and other nutrient-rich whole foods in your diet.

 

A few foodie resolutions apply specifically to hormonal balance though. Soy is one food that can become problematic if we consume a lot of it (easy to do if you’re a new vegetarian and eat a lot of soy-based ‘replacement’ foods, for example). Soy contains a high level of phytoestrogens which mimic the natural oestrogen in our bodies, and while not a problem in limited quantities, eating too much can cause our hormones to get out of whack.

 

While it’s not necessary to shun all soy, go for moderation and pick organic and fermented soy products (enjoy miso and tempeh) when possible, and add a variety of other healthy sources of protein to your diet, such as nuts and seeds.

  1. Halt the xenoestrogen build-up

 

Eating soy is not the only way oestrogen-like compounds enter our bodies. So what should we watch out for? Xenoestrogens (synthetic compounds that imitate oestrogens in a similar way to phytoestrogens) are found all around us, including many pesticides and herbicides as well as plenty of plastics and some cosmetic preservatives including parabens.

 

It’s impossible to avoid all xenoestrogens, but we can take steps to minimise our exposure. Choose organically grown food, natural cosmetics and cleaning products when possible, and avoid drinking from plastic bottles and storing food in plastic containers when you can.

 

  1. Do a life-style health check

 

How’s your daily routine? If you’re eating all the right stuff but still struggle with hormone-induced mood swings, there could be room for improvement in other areas of self-care, especially sleep and exercise.

 

Our body does a lot of its hormone production and tweaking at night while we slumber, and skimping on sleep (especially on a regular basis) may well be one of the main culprits pushing your hormones off balance. Recognise yourself? Take your time to create a pleasant bedtime routine that works for you, and keep it as consistent as far as possible, making sure you get those 7–8 hours of shuteye every night.

 

Regular exercise is another thing we often don’t feel like we even have the time for anymore… But a daily (or so) dose of physical activity could be your ticket to a gentler monthly cycle (not to mention countless other benefits). Through exercise, your body can rid itself of excess oestrogen via perspiration and boosted metabolism. Absolutely no room in your schedule? Find creative ways to incorporate some into your day anyway. Give the 7 Minute Workout Challenge app a try – citing the same benefits in seven minutes as you would achieve in an hour’s workout, what’s not to love?

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