One of my most over-used phrases is
“Problem periods are very common but they’re not ‘normal’”
I say it because when we have healthy, balanced hormones we don’t suffer from debilitating problems with our menstrual cycles.
And we’re more fertile – a healthy cycle is the #1 indicator of good reproductive health.
So if you do get any symptoms, at worst they should only be mild and infrequent.
I’m talking about migraines and headaches, cramps, clots, flooding, random spotting, bloating, mood swings, water retention, brain fog, insomnia, fatigue, yo-yoing weight and cravings for junk food.
But guess what?
If you’re up for making some tweaks to your diet and lifestyle you can really reduce or get rid of these symptoms completely!
Try these 7 tips:
1. Eliminate all dairy products from your diet:
This is the number one bit of advice for women with fibroids, PCOS and endometriosis.
In Chinese Medicine, dairy is considered ‘damp’ forming. It has a sluggish, stagnant, stuck quality. You’ll know you suffer from an excess damp condition if you have water retention, bloating, excess weight, fatigue, lack of appetite, a heavy feeling in the body or limbs, heavy head, yeasts, cysts and excess mucus.
Also things like Candida, allergies, thrush, eczema, asthma, arthritis, cellulite, watery/loose stools, weakness and feeling cold.
I know that’s a bit of a depressing (& long) list but cutting out dairy can honestly make a big difference. There are loads of tasty plant and nut based milks on the market these days so plenty of alternatives to choose from.
2. Cut down as much as possible on animal fat, processed foods and refined sugar.
They all cause inflammation in the body and when your poor system is trying to deal with that, it doesn’t have the resources to go towards making a baby.
Your fertility is the first aspect of health to suffer if your nutrition is poor. Think of the analogy of growing a plant – it just won’t thrive in poor soil that lacks nutrients, water, sunshine, space and love. Your body is exactly the same.
3. Cut out caffeine. Caffeine is very potent and can easily throw your hormones out of whack.
First off, it’s got a half-life of 8 hours which means that half the caffeine from the Cappucino you drank at 2pm is still in your system at 10pm. Does that explain your trouble sleeping?
And sad to say that too much caffeine has been linked to early miscarriage, so definitely limit your intake of any caffeinated drinks to maximum one cup/day if you’re trying to conceive.
4, Increase the amount of fibre in your diet.
Fibre binds to oestrogen helping to carry it out of the body but if you’re not having a regular bowel movement (minimum once a day, better twice a day, best three times a day), oestrogen gets reabsorbed into your body and can wreak havoc.
Although it’s a really important sex hormone, too much of it can lead to PMS, weight gain, mood swings, fatigue, low libido, painful periods, fuzzy thinking, poor memory and peri-menopausal symptoms to name just a few.
You can supplement with extra fibre in powder form and also get it from wholegrains, cereals, fruit and vegetables.
I can’t stress how important it is to have a daily bowel movement. It’s another one of those ‘common but not normal’ things to go every other day or every few days.
If that’s you, then you 100% need to work on changing this.
5. Avoid alcohol altogether if you can or just have the occasional drink.
This is especially important if you are trying to conceive or breast feeding. You know the drill.
6. Take supplements to fill your nutritional gaps.
Opinion is often divided on whether to supplement or not. I’m personally a fan since learning that a massive study of thousands of people found not one of them met all their nutritional needs from food alone.
That’s not even slightly surprising given that only 2% of the population eat the recommended daily amounts of fruit and vegetables a day.
In fact, apparently a jaw-dropping HALF of the population don’t eat a single portion of fruit or veg in any given day!
There are various blood tests you can get done to find out any vitamin and mineral deficiencies you might have. You might also want to consider an inexpensive food and environmental sensitivity test which is done through hair analysis.
I also offer (included in my “Balance Your Cycle, Boost Your Fertility’ programme) the DUTCH test which is the Gold Standard in hormone tests. It’s a much larger investment but totally worth it if you’re having hormonal and/or fertility issues that aren’t getting resolved.
7. Ensure your diet contains enough Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Sources include oily fish, nuts and seeds, evening primrose oil, linseed/sesame/walnut/sunflower oils.
EFAs have a clever trick of coating your cells in a protective layer that bacteria and viruses can’t easily penetrate. So this is how they boost your immune system. They also promote good brain health, strong hair and nails, soft skin and flexible joints. Sardines for President!!