My top tips for how to reset your hormones shifts with time, the latest scientific discoveries and the problems my clients face most commonly. Here’s the latest game plan!
1. Wear organic lipstick.
I love lipstick but it was making me sick. I recently checked my heavy metals and was stunned to learn that my lead level was high, most likely from my lipstick. Did you know that the average woman eats 10 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime? Make sure you don’t wear lipstick with lead.
Common signs of lead toxicity in adults include high blood pressure, constipation, joint and muscle pain, decline in memory and headache. High lead levels can make you form a more potent stress hormone out of weaker stress hormones, which isn’t a good thing. Now I’m chelating the lead out of my body by taking N-acetyl cysteine and only wear organic brands such as Afterglow, Josie Moran, Zao and Aneley. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Guide for their ratings products, and download their app on your smartphone.
2. Eat broccoli sprouts.
Broccoli sprouts contain high levels of sulforaphane, which is one of the most potent antioxidants and detoxifiers known. Adding ½ cup of broccoli sprouts each day to your salad will help reset estrogen and lower your risk of cancer, plus a study from Johns Hopkins showed sulforaphane may improve your removal of air pollution.
3. Create headspace.
You know the bad boy you dated in high school or college? You knew he was bad news, but you dated him anyway. That’s cortisol. Your mind plays a major role in managing cortisol levels, so choose not to see everything as a stressor—because the risk from stress arises from your perception, not the stress itself. It may not feel like you have the time, but spend 10 minutes doing deep breathing, meditation, yoga or even going for a short walk. The brief respite will clear your mind and remind you that you can handle this (and choose not to date cortisol).
4. Make a maca smoothie.
A few of you let me know you were struggling with symptoms of low estrogen—hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. Most people don’t know that estrogen can start to drop around age 28, and there are natural ways to get it back into balance. One is maca, an herb shown to improve estrogen levels, raise libido and reduce insomnia, anxiety and depression in women. The dose is 2000 mg per day as a capsule, or you can add ½ to 1 tablespoon of maca powder to your smoothie. Be careful—a little can go a long way.
5. Order wild salmon instead of a burger.
Red meat has been shown to increase your estrogen level and affect the estrobolome, the part of your microbiome (the microbes that inhabit your gut and their DNA) that controls estrogen levels. Paleo recently has been shown to stall in weight loss efforts for women: many women cannot get to a body mass index of 23 or lower. Salmon offers instead a bonanza of blood sugar-stabilizing high-quality protein, nutrients and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re not eating wild-caught fish 3 or 4 times a week, human intervention trials show supplementing with omega-3s can also help reduce visceral fat. Read more in my new book, The Hormone Reset Diet.
There’s probably nothing that will help your hormones more than making fabulous and reparative sleep a top priority. Bedtime should be a sacred ritual that calms and soothes you: make sure your thermostat is set to about 64 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler, which was shown in one study to be the best temperature for preventing hot flashes and night sweats in women.
7. Go grain-free.
Gluten intolerance is a very real problem that doesn’t just affect people with celiac disease. It’s been linked to estrogen imbalances, menstrual disorders and diminished ovarian reserve. I tell all of my patients to cut out or minimize gluten and opt for whole grains like brown rice or quinoa instead.
8. Become a DNA whisperer.
Scientific breakthroughs in the past decade have shown us that about 80 percent of your risk of disease comes from how you eat, move, think and supplement; only about 20 percent is genetics. One of the best ways to love up your DNA is to get adequate methylation—a biochemical process in the body that occurs when a compound called a methyl group binds to a gene and changes the way it expresses itself—methylation is involved in DNA silencing.
Frequently, I get asked what supplements I take daily, and an important one that whispers loving commands to your DNA and improves your thyroid function is a multivitamin with 5-methyltetrahydrofolate. If you’re female, make sure your multivitamin contains 5-methyltetrahydrofolate.
9. Impose a screen curfew after 7 p.m.
I understand that House of Cards Season 3 recently got released, but reading on your iPad or catching up on Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright will lower your melatonin so that you don’t sleep as soundly.
10. Call a girlfriend.
Stress is like pouring gasoline on an already roaring hormonal fire. It raises cortisol levels, taxes the adrenals and zaps you of energy, joy and a healthy libido. High cortisol also blocks progesterone, contributing to estrogen dominance. One of the best ways to wrangle cortisol is indirect: raise your oxytocin by calling a girlfriend, which will reset cortisol. Data shows that a woman’s proclivity to tend and befriend makes them a better bet than a man for a quick phone chat. Lower cortisol allows progesterone to function normally.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, I put together a free guide for you to download called, “10 Ways to Reset Your Hormones With Your Fork.” You’ll learn what to eat and what not to eat in order to help you get started resetting your hormones.
To resetting your hormones for optimal health,
Written by Dr. Sara Gottfried
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This article originally appeared on saragottfriedmd.com.