Hormonal health and blood sugar balance go hand in hand. When our blood sugar drops, our body will release adrenaline and cortisol to bring it back up. If this happens multiple times throughout the day (and night), we will be constantly activating the release of cortisol in our system, shifting our nervous system into fight or flight mode. When we are in this state, our body prioritises survival over reproduction and will use its resources to produce more cortisol rather than our other sex hormones (such as progesterone). This is where hormonal imbalances start to appear, and we can start to see symptoms such as irregular or painful periods, mood swings, tender breasts, skin issues, low mood or libido, cyclical headache etc. By balancing our blood sugar, we are removing a large stressor from our body – and our hormones will thank us!
Signs of blood sugar dysregulation are things like:
- sugar/ caffeine cravings
- feeling ‘hangry’ if you have not eaten for a while
- energy crashes (e.g. the 3pm slump)
- sleep issues
- brain fog
- frequent urination
- mood swings.
So, how do you balance blood sugar? You can start by:
- Eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day and avoiding skipping meals or fasting
- Eating breakfast within 30-60 minutes of waking up to help lower stress hormones.
- Always combining a good protein source with carbohydrates and a little bit of fat at each meal. Carbohydrates raise blood sugar, protein lowers blood sugar: when consumed together they keep things stable. And fat is important for satiety (and for making everything taste better!), as well as being the building block of our sex hormones.
- Drinking coffee with or after a substantial meal, never on its own. (Coffee is NOT breakfast)
- Ensuring you are fueling yourself adequately before exercise. Avoid exercising on an empty stomach.
- Having a bedtime snack containing protein and carbohydrates if you are waking up in the night (even to urinate). My favourite is a hot chocolate made with organic milk, collagen and honey, or a homemade custard.
- Avoiding alcohol: not only does it place a burden on the liver (shifting its attention away from oestrogen metabolism), but it also disrupts blood sugar.
Give these a go and let me know how you feel!
If you are struggling with hormonal issues and would benefit from some support, I would love to chat with you! Click here to book a free discovery call and see how some bespoke diet and lifestyle changes can help your hormones flourish!