Do you ever experience days or even weeks when you feel exhausted, lack focus and productivity, crave foods you wouldn’t normally eat, and struggle with motivation to work, exercise, socialise, or even breathe? If so, it could be related to your hormones.
While we don’t like the stereotype of blaming women’s behaviour on their hormones, it’s true that hormones play a critical role in women’s health and wellbeing, particularly the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Fluctuations in these hormones can affect energy levels, fatigue, and cravings. Understanding how they work and interact, especially with nutrition, can help women optimise their health and performance.
Oestrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate during a woman’s menstrual cycle. These changes are normal, but some women may experience more significant fluctuations than others, which can cause issues. Imbalances in oestrogen can negatively impact the reproductive system, skin, hair, bones, muscles, brain, and breast tissue.
When progesterone levels drop during menstruation, oestrogen levels may dominate, leading to symptoms of oestrogen dominance such as weight gain, low sex drive, low mood, and fatigue. So, it’s not unfounded to attribute certain emotions, cravings, and energy levels to “that time of the month.”
Significant drops, fluctuations, or prolonged low oestrogen levels can cause significant mood changes. Clinical recovery from depression during postpartum, perimenopause, and post-menopause has been shown to be effective after stabilising or restoring oestrogen levels.
While oestrogen dominance can be part of the natural menstrual cycle, many lifestyle factors can also impact oestrogen levels. Obesity, stress, and high alcohol intake can all raise oestrogen levels. Managing these factors through regular exercise, stress reduction, and minimal alcohol consumption can help optimise hormone balance, leading to improved energy, mood, productivity, and weight management.
Nutrition also plays a vital role in hormone balance. Eating according to your hormone cycle can help optimise your health and wellbeing. During menstruation, when oestrogen dominance occurs, it may be worthwhile to consume more foods that support progesterone levels, such as cruciferous vegetables, poultry, nuts, healthy fats like salmon and avocado, and pumpkin seeds.
By optimising your lifestyle habits and nutrition, you can better support hormone balance and naturally reduce cravings, improve energy and productivity, and perform at your best.
At LHR, we are dedicated to educating you on how to leverage personal development and perform at your best.