I was working with a new client recently and her budget is very tight. She wanted to do as much of her healing without supplements as possible to save money. Although I love supplements and value what they can do for healing, I’m never one to turn down a challenge! After all, we should be using food as our pharmacy. So I integrated specific foods in specific amounts for her individual condition.
And part of that is superfoods. While I believe that all foods coming from the earth have some super power for our bodies, superfoods have been a pretty hype term in the media the past couple of years. So I thought I’d share some of the top superfoods for balancing PMS with you. Eating these foods on a regular basis can go a long way to balancing our hormones.
Maca aka Peruvian Gineseng is a pretty popular superfood that has a wide variety of uses. Specifically for women like yourself, this tuber is helpful for balancing hormones. Maca is very nutrient dense, containing enzymes, minerals like magnesium and iodine, and all the essential amino acids. Maca is so complete and nourishing that it can also be helpful for adrenal fatigue or burnout.
Maca can help restore fertility, reduce thyroid imbalance and balance hormones by stimulating the hypothalamus and pituitary gland of the brain. These regions regulate and signal our other reproductive hormones. If you have bad PMS, menopausal symptoms or low sex drive- this root is for you. NOTE: Maca has some properties that may increase androgens (i.e.: testosterone) in women, so if you have excess androgens or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) you should avoid this root.
I find that Maca tastes kind of musty, with a hint of caramel to it. Add it to your smoothies, stir it into yogurt or warm up some milk and mix it in.
Flaxseeds are much more widely known than Maca, but that doesn’t make them any less important for hormone balance. Flaxseeds contain high levels of omega-3 fatty-acids, which help our bodies to decrease inflammation, increase immunity and of course balance hormones. Flaxseeds are tiny and so almost indigestible unless they are ground. So buy pre-ground and keep them in the freezer or buy the whole seeds and grind them yourself. You can also use flaxseed oil for this purpose, although you won’t be getting the fibre that’s in the seeds.
Flax also contains tons of other nutrients like Vitamin B6 (excellent for PMS + depression!), Magnesium (goodbye cramps!), folate (hello fertility!) and others.
You can also use flaxseeds strategically in combination with other seeds like sesame and sunflower to balance irregular or bothersome cycles. Using the Seed Cycling Protocol you can balance your cycles and decrease your PMS or menopausal symptoms dramatically. See my post about this here.
Chia seeds aren’t just for Chia Pets anymore! These tiny powerhouse seeds like flax, are very high in omega-3s. They are great for reducing inflammation (and pain!) associated with your menstrual cycle. Plus they’re loaded with iron, which is great for us menstruating women who are losing blood each month. There’s also a whole host of minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium. And don’t forget about the protein!
These babies will keep your blood sugar stable, inflammation down and hormones flowing along with regular use. These seeds can also be used during seed cycling (in replacement of flaxseeds) or you can use them anytime. They have a gelatinous texture when put in liquid and you can make some yummy tapioca-esque puddings with them. Or throw them on your salad, yogurt, oatmeal or in your smoothie.
This one is a personal favourite. I friggin LOVE green tea. Japanese, Chinese, matcha, hot, cold, on its own or as an ingredient. Green tea has anti-cancer properties, is FULL of antioxidants, and is helpful for weight loss and appetite suppression. And for those PCOS ladies like myself, green tea can actually reduce androgen levels in the body. So don’t worry about not being able to use Maca, just include some green tea in your diet! I particularly like this website for my teas. They are all very high quality, and the varieties are super tasty!
Drink a few cups of this tea a day, or make your Bulletproof Tea with it, as I often do. You can also use it as a base for smoothies, chia pudding and oatmeal or poach some superfood salmon in it. The possibilities are endless! Go on, get some!
Coconut oil is a wonder for hormones. Besides providing building blocks for reproductive and other hormones, it is FANTASTIC for those with a thyroid issue. Coconut oil also helps with weight loss + metabolism, blood sugar regulation and it reduces inflammation. It’s also great for your teeth if you use it for Oil Pulling. If you do Basal Body Temperature for fertility awareness, contraception or thyroid issues, you’ll notice a rise in your temps the longer your use this oil on a consistent basis. Coconut oil is also anti-bacterial and anti-microbial so if you have candida overgrowth, this is great added to the diet.
For hormone balance, try working up to 1 tbsp a day of this superfood. Use only Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.
Do not believe the myth that eating eggs will increase your cholesterol! The cholesterol debate gets me riled up so I won’t get into it here- but perhaps I’ll do a post about it in the future.
Okay- back to business. Eggs provide complete protein and healthy fats, both of which are important for hormone production and balance. These two macronutrients help to slow our digestion so we are fuller longer, and therefore helps to decrease our monthly (daily?) cravings. Eggs also contain lecithin, a nutrient that improves liver function. Our liver filters excess hormones, so we need to have that running smoothly!
Besides all this, free-run eggs provide fat soluble vitamins such as A, D and K. These are ESSENTIAL for balancing hormones, increasing energy, improving immunity and much more. Try to work some eggs into your diet every week- keeping the yolks liquid by poach or frying in butter will keep these nutrients available.