The holidays are here!
And that’s great, but they also can wreak havoc on your hormones as you tend to focus SO much on giving to others this time of year and not so much on giving to yourself as you run around from holiday parties, last-minute gift shopping and visiting family or friends.
By the end of it all, I bet you usually feel wiped out and wondering why you feel so fat, tired and sick all the time – it’s because your hormones took a hit!
And even though in-person holiday happenings and shopping have been put on pause, 2020 has been packed with all kinds of hurdles that have likely hit your hormones pretty hard.
If we’re under stress = our hormones take a hit.
So what I’ve done is put together a list of 4 superfoods to focus on throughout the next couple of weeks to help keep your hormones in check so you can go into 2021 feeling refreshed and energized!
1. Fill Up on Healthy Fats
This likely sounds counterintuitive, but trust me, it’s not when it comes to your hormones, energy levels, and kicking cravings! ⠀ ⠀
In order for the body to make hormones, it needs you to eat healthy dietary fats that are broken down into LDL and cholesterol to make hormones along with other nutrients such as B vitamins.
Yep, you heard me right. LDL and cholesterol are actually necessary to make hormones. They get a bad rap, but they are not bad for you if sourced in a healthy way.⠀ ⠀
Filling up with healthy fats can also help to balance your blood sugar for longer-lasting energy, to reduce inflammation, and to kick cravings.⠀ ⠀
I always fill up on healthy fats before I go to a party where there will be a lot of snacks available to help keep my hormones happy and my hunger under control.
So what kinds of healthy fats should you indulge in?⠀ ⠀
🥑 Avocado on its own, as guacamole or as an oil⠀
🥥. Full fat coconut milk in your coffee, tea and/or smoothies⠀
🥓 Organic, nitrate-free and gluten-free bacon⠀
Cold-Pressed and organic olive or coconut oil in cooked or baked goods⠀
🧈 Grass-fed ghee instead of butter (less inflammatory) ⠀
🥩. Fatty cuts of organic and pasture-raised meats and eggs⠀ ⠀
Focus on filling up with healthy fats at least once a day and notice the way it makes you feel more full, more energized, and craving free.⠀
2. Sip on Some Bone Broth
Bone broth is a superfood for your immune system & gut health, which is where a LOT of hormone interactions take place such as…⠀ ⠀
✓ The conversion of thyroid T4 to T3⠀
✓ Conversion of glucocorticoids into androgens (a group of steroid hormones)⠀
✓ Where neurotransmitters such as serotonin & dopamine are made⠀ ⠀
Approximately 80% of your immune system is housed in the gut (aka the intestinal lining). The immune system cells also synthesize, store & secrete hormones, which are identical to the hormones of the endocrine glands (thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, insulin hormones etc.) ⠀ ⠀
Bone broth helps to keep your gut healthy & therefore your hormones healthy too because it is rich in minerals for immune system function plus it has healing compounds for the intestinal lining.⠀ ⠀
Don’t get it wrong though, bone broth is different than your everyday chicken, beef or vegetable stock.
Bone broth is made by simmering the actual bones of the animal (commonly chicken or beef) which is where all of the beneficial nutrients come from to support your hormones!⠀ ⠀
There are great recipes for it on Pinterest – make a big batch to sip on all week & freeze the rest! ⠀ ⠀
To save time, you can grab grass-fed, organic bone broth at just about any health food or grocery store, or snag the Vital Proteins or Ancient Nutrition bone broth powders on Amazon.⠀ ⠀
Here are some ways you can incorporate bone broth into your day to support your hormones through the holidays:⠀ ⠀
️. Drink it as a hot cup of tea with some added spices; ginger, sea salt & cayenne are great!⠀
🥣 Use it in any recipe that calls for any kind of stock or broth (gravy!)⠀
Make a simple soup of celery, carrots, sea salt & pieces of chicken (boil then serve)⠀ ⠀
In addition to supporting the immune system & hormone functions, bone broth also improves your overall gut health so you can absorb more nutrients from other foods you are eating to promote positive hormone balance.⠀ ⠀
3. Crush Some Cruciferous Veggies
If you drank this past weekend or plan to in the next couple of weeks…you aren’t going to want to miss this one.
Did you know that 1 alcoholic beverage can increase estrogen levels in the body for up to 24 hours? ⠀
Especially this time of year, there’s bound to be more than 1 drink had & with back-to-back holiday festivities, our bodies may not get a full 24-hour break for estrogen levels to fall back to normal. ⠀
Aside from alcohol, there is a whole category of toxins called xenoestrogens, such as certain plastics, that we are likely to come in contact with more frequently this time of year. Alcohol and plastic can increase estrogen. ⠀
Constantly elevated estrogen levels from alcohol consumption or toxin exposures can lead to estrogen dominance which can in turn trigger thyroid imbalances, sleep issues & mood swings. ⠀ But don’t worry, you can still indulge this holiday season and not worry about every plastic you touch if you focus on crushing some cruciferous veggies when you sit down to eat. ⠀
Cruciferous vegetables are a staple in an anti-estrogenic type of diet or lifestyle. They contain a compound called DIM which helps your body to remove estrogen through the liver. ⠀
DIM isn’t the only reason why cruciferous veggies are anti-estrogenic. Most of them also contain chlorophyll (found in the green leaves) which also aids in reducing estrogen through improved liver health. ⠀ ⠀
Check out the following image for a list of cruciferous veggies:
Something I really like to do is roast a pan of veggies every week to snack from. I’ll cut up a bunch of cruciferous veggies and throw in onion, mushrooms, and asparagus, sprinkle with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper and bake at 425 for 30-40 minutes, turning once halfway through. Then I’ll heat them up and throw a little avocado (healthy fat) and salsa on it! ⠀
It’s an easy and tasty way to get these veggies in!
4. Warm Lemon Water
Beyond just warming you up, your hormones can hugely benefit by starting your day off with warm water enhanced with a slice of lemon & pinch of Celtic Sea salt. ⠀ ⠀
Lemons have been shown to help detoxify the liver, and the liver is where we either convert hormones, such as thyroid T4 to T3, or it helps us to excrete excess hormones such as estrogen which can lead to weight gain, sleep and mood issues if it builds up.⠀ ⠀
Celtic sea salt promotes better hydration and electrolyte balance which is important for hormone and bodily functions. Plus the magnesium, sodium & potassium in the salt nourishes the adrenal glands which largely produce cortisol and DHEA hormone and also contribute to the production of adrenaline, estrogen & other hormones as well.⠀ ⠀
Warm or room temp water aids in the absorption of the lemon and salt nutrients into the body in addition to promoting digestive function and bowel movements, which is how we excrete toxins that can impact hormone balance or excess hormones themselves.
Essentially, warm water gives the insides of your body a gentle nudge to get going instead of a cold electric shock to get out of bed – warm water sounds much more pleasing right?⠀ ⠀
During the craziness of the holidays, we are more likely to forget to drink water throughout the day and we indulge in other activities such as drinking alcohol, more coffee and traveling which dehydrates & robs us of nutrients even more.⠀ ⠀
I always aim to drink 20-32 ounces of warm, lemon-salted water before 10am. This wasn’t easy at first because I was so attached to my morning matcha, but little by little I made the switch and now I wake up craving my warm water.⠀ ⠀
So there you go! Those are 4 superfoods that you can integrate into your diet to help keep your hormones in check this holiday season and into 2021.
What I love about them all is that they not only are packed full of nutrients but also super easy to integrate.