HORMONES AND YOUR WEIGHT: ESTROGEN

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Most woman know that time of the month: you can’t fit in your pants, you want to eat everything in sight, you have trouble dealing with certain people (or everyone), and you want to cry because….well, you just want to. All of this is a result of our best friend—Estrogen.

She is our nightmare of a “friend” that we can’t get rid of. She brings out the worst in us and we complain about her non-stop. Estrogen is responsible for the roller coaster of emotions and depending on if your body has high or low Estrogen, this is often where weight gain and other issues come into play.

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Typically, Estrogen is low before your period starts and this is when you get super hungry and then right before your period starts Estrogen spikes, causing your appetite to suppress. When someone has too much or too little Estrogen it is referred to as Estrogen dominance in both cases.

When Estrogen gets too high it can over power progesterone. This can cause issues with weight loss, regulating monthly periods, and can also affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant or carrying a baby full term.

Women who have Estrogen dominance can have extreme PMS, too much fat around the hips, trouble losing weight, uterine fibroids, varicose veins, ovarian cysts, cervical dysplasia and endometriosis. Even though it is more common for older women to have Estrogen dominance due to Estrogen increasing and Progesterone decreasing as they age, it is not uncommon for women who are younger to also have issues with Estrogen levels.

I think a lot of women can relate to having some kind of Estrogen dominance, or know someone who does. The first thing to look at is if you are on birth control or some kind of hormone replacement therapy. These two things can really throw off the balance of Progesterone and Estrogen, or in some cases help balance it out.

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Here are 7 ways to change your diet and daily life to help balance out your Estrogen.

  • Eat more fiber. Are you seeing a trend here with the fiber, a healthy diet, and the way your body regulates your hormones? Fiber binds to Estrogen and takes it out of your body.
  • Take care of your liver. Your liver breaks down Estrogen, so if your liver is over worked it is not going to be dealing with the Estrogen like it should be.
  • Eat healthy bacteria such as probiotics and yogurt.
    Healthy bacteria help with absorption and excretion in the body, which helps to eliminate excess Estrogen.
  • Try to eat organic if possible. Even if you cannot eat everything organic (I know I can’t) at least try to make your dairy and meat organic. This helps make sure you are avoiding hormones added to the food.
  • Eat foods that have high amounts of Lignans. Flax seeds have the highest, and any other kind of seeds and nuts, fruits, vegetables and whole grains will also work. Lignans have an anti-estrogen effect in the body by interfering with the production of the hormone.
  • Avoid foods that high have amounts of phytoestrogens. These would include anything soy like soymilk, tofu, soybeans and imitation dairy products. If you really want to cut out soy, then you need to start reading labels. Soy is found in A LOT of processed food.
  • Be aware of sleep and stress. Stress can inhibit the production of Progesterone allowing more dominance of Estrogen and lack of sleep affects the way your body regulates everything, including your hormones.

Obviously the balance of estrogen and progesterone can wreak havoc on a woman’s body around her period, but if you are imbalanced then it is wreaking havoc all the time. Getting tested is a great way to know if you have an imbalance or not. Don’t let Estrogen ruin your life, just let her have that one week out of the month.

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