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Key Hormones That Affect Women’s Aging and What to Eat to Help Balance Them

By on August 22, 2018

by Tami Mungenast CPT CNWC

For women aging can be a slippery slope especially with the changing state of our hormones. Hormone fluctuations can alter  mood, energy, and weight. It can be a challenge to understand the best way to eat, implement proper rest and even exercise, let alone deal with the roller coaster of aging and hormones. Below you will read about five key hormones that can be affected by aging and directly impact energy, weight, and mood and some foods that can help.

Estrogen: Aka the beauty hormone.  Estrogen makes women women. Estrogen helps provide smooth shiny hair and soft skin. Estrogen helps women feel feminine and vibrant. Too much estrogen however, can make a woman estrogen dominant and can cause migraines, tender breasts, and sometimes, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and fibroids. Too little estrogen causes hair to fall out, bones become weak, and reduced skin elasticity. Maintaining estrogen levels in balance is an important anti-aging strategy. Eating foods high in healthy fats, including nut butters, avocados, or ghee, can help keep estrogen levels balanced but not too high. Eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussel sprouts can help remove excess estrogen that may be present.

Progesterone: Aka the brain hormone. Progesterone, when in balance, keeps our cognitive function sharp and helps with sound sleep. Often as women age, they suffer from disrupted sleep or trouble focusing without realizing that it can be caused from unbalanced progesterone. If you feel this way try tracking your energy levels and moods in the last week of your cycle. If you feel extra tired and moody as you approach that week you might be low in progesterone. To naturally try to balance your progesterone eat pumpkin seeds, black beans, and other foods that are rich in magnesium. These types of foods can help boost progesterone levels.

Insulin: Aka the fat hormone. Maintaining balanced insulin levels prevents unwanted weight gain and belly fat that is commonly associated with aging. Metabolism slows as we age and insulin gets more stubborn. It is important to eat less processed carbohydrates especially sugar to help balance insulin. Avoid high sugar foods, refined carbs, and excessive salt all play to help manage your insulin levels and prevent weight gain.

Cortisol: Aka the stress hormone.  Cortisol accelerates aging faster than any other hormone. A healthy small cortisol spike can help get us in gear but large cortisol swings are typically the result of chronic stress.  The stress causes the cortisol to increase and in turn can create inflammation in the body.  Inflammation then becomes the trigger for so many different diseases to include diabetes, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Food can help manage cortisol levels by remembering to eat every three to four hours and include healthy protein and fats in all of your meals. Avoid excess caffeine and sugar consumption to avoid taxing the adrenals too much. Also, add in two to three daily servings of leafy greens, rich in B vitamins and iron, to keep your energy balanced.

Thyroid: Aka the metabolism hormone.  Thyroid controls your metabolic rate, hair, skin, and mood. Shifts in this hormone can cause fatigue. Women in post child bearing years should monitor their thyroid levels by having them checked at their annual physical. To boost your thyroid consume a few Brazil nuts (high in selenium) and add some iron-rich red meat one to two times per week to help perk up a sluggish thyroid.

A well balanced diet with whole low sugar foods and regular exercise can be beneficial to hormone health. If you feel you are experiencing health issues related to hormonal imbalance it is recommended to see your primary care physician or a holistic doctor who is experienced in bio-identical hormones.