Illustration by Bridget Daulby
Ben Warren is a nutrition and holistic health expert and founder of BePure.
There’s no doubt about it – the female hormonal system is incredibly complex.
However, the good news is, supporting its balance – both for fertility, and just wellness in general – can actually be quite simple (simple as opposed to easy… but definitely doable!)
Hormones are essentially powerful chemical messengers that operate within our body. There are just over 50 different hormones, which control us physiologically and psychologically, directing us towards fulfilling our biological objectives and processes – reproducing, eating, sleeping and so on.
The two we’ll be shining a spotlight on – oestrogen and progesterone – are most prevalent in regulating the menstrual cycle.
Progesterone maintains the lining of the uterus during the latter phase of the menstrual cycle, and during pregnancy. As well as its role in regulating the physical aspect of the menstrual cycle, adequate progesterone levels also support our mental wellbeing.
Our sensual hormone, which has a vital role in fertility, libido, energy levels and mood. Oestrogen repairs, thickens, and maintains the uterus lining.
Low progesterone levels are a common plight in the modern world, mainly because when we experience elevated stress – things ramping up at work, juggling all the various roles we play or the demands of pregnancy – our stress hormones directly affect the production of our sex hormones – everything from our energy, our resilience, and life outlook.
Taking a moment to ground yourself and bring your hormones back into balance might be the missing piece of the puzzle – especially as a mum with kids, getting your cycle back on track is an essential component of feeling back at home in your own body.
When a woman’s hormones are balanced, she feels balanced, too. And what’s good for mum, is good for the family. Win-win!
A balanced equation
When we talk about ‘hormone balance,’ it’s not about having equal amounts of each hormone, rather the optimal ratio of hormones at the right stages throughout the menstrual cycle.
Three simple tips for nurturing hormonal balance
Our hormones respond to the way we live and eat. Through our diet, lifestyle and exercise, we can either support our delicate hormone balance, or rock the boat.
1. Reducing stimulants
That includes processed carbs, sugar, coffee, and alcohol. Here and there is fine – it’s what we do most of the time that counts.
2. Exercising right for you
Yes, that might mean skipping the 5am boot camp for a gentle yoga flow (or some days, even a sleep in).
3. Eating a diet rich in essential nutrients
On top of a wholefoods-based diet, high-quality nutritionals also support the production of precursors necessary for our bodies to build hormones in adequate amounts.
In practising tuning into our bodies, and interpreting the message they’re sending us, we’re learning how to work with our hormones, not against them. When we work with our hormones, we naturally support their balance, and in turn, our health and happiness, too!
Illustration by Bridget Daulby