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Improve hormonal health with proper nutrition

Pretty much everyone has, or will, experienced a hormonal imbalance or disruption at some point in their life. Hormonal imbalances can occur at any point in someone’s life… during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause. In fact, it can even occur as a result of increased stress or your environment.

Hormones could be the culprit behind your mental or physical health issues. Many people commonly experience frequent mood swings, depression or anxiety, sleepless nights, weight gain or loss, acne flare-ups, low libido, and/or frequent headaches with hormonal imbalances.

Dr. Vikki Petersen, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Chiropractor and Functional Medicine doctor, emphasizes how hormonal imbalances can wreak havoc on our overall health and wellbeing.

“Hormonal imbalance abounds in our country. Depression, anxiety and libido issues affect people of all genders and ages. Women can suffer from PMS, migraines associated with their monthly cycle, perimenopause and menopause symptoms (which can be quite debilitating). Men can suffer from ED, mood swings and loss of muscle. Many blame the hormone disruptors so prevalent in our environment, including pesticides, chemicals and GMO foods, but the good news is that you can have a strong positive impact on your hormonal balance by choosing the right foods,” says Dr. Petersen.

Here are Dr. Vikki Petersen’s top 5 tips to help improve your hormonal health via proper nutrition:

Tip 1#: Avoid GMO foods
Avoid any GMO foods (think non-organic soy and corn in any form) and packaged, pre-prepared foods. Your hormonal system is delicately balanced and the chemicals, preservatives and genetic modification are known hormone disruptors creating imbalance in a variety of ways depending on the individual.

Tip #2: Avoid refined sugar
Sugar is the devil… sad but true. Sugar raises your stress hormone, cortisol, and increases insulin which in turn leads to a potential excess of estrogen and testosterone. The “mellow feel-good” hormone, progesterone, diminishes in the face of sugar excess, leaving you cranky, irritable and with a tendency to gain weight around your belly.

Tip #3: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Eat 7 servings of fresh, organic (at least organic of the Dirty Dozen variety) vegetables and fruits each day. I like my patients to get 4 to 5 vegetables and 2 to 3 fruits. The cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and kale) are especially good for balancing estrogen levels. Carrots, beets and other root vegetables can assist in removing any excessive levels of estrogen from your body. Avocado, a fruit, is excellent at reducing the stress hormone cortisol and reducing any excessive estrogen present while increasing progesterone levels.

Tip #4: Get your protein
Protein is incredibly important for manufacturing adequate amounts of hormones. Unfortunately, many of our animal-based proteins, such as dairy products and chicken, are laden with hormone disruptors. High-quality fatty fish and plant-based foods rich in non-inflammatory protein is a better choice when trying to maintain hormonal balance.

Tip #5: Help out your digestive system
Water and fiber together keep your colon moving well, which maintains a positive balance of gut bacteria and prevents constipation. It is a fact that an unhealthy gut creates hormonal imbalance.