One of the most important things when it comes to optimal health and hormone balance is nutrient status. We achieve optimal nutrient status through feeding our body with the right level of micronutrients and macronutrients for you.
"Micronutrients relate to the essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and nutrients within our food."
Everything we eat is broken down into macro and micronutrients. Micronutrients relate to the essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and nutrients within our food. Think of them as the nuts and bolts of how our bodies work. Macronutrients then, are your bigger building supplies, the timber frame, the roof and the exterior walls of your structure. You’ve probably heard of them already, they're the big three – protein, fats and carbohydrates.
In this blog, we will talk about how nutritional deficiencies affect our health and why it's so important to get adequate nutrients into your diet.
So, why are nutrients so important for hormone balance?
Some foods are incredibly energising and rich in the nutrients our bodies thrive on, while others are the opposite and completely rob us of energy and health. The foods that rob us of energy can also throw our hormones out of balance.
"Every time our body creates a hormone or detoxify a toxin in the liver, a mineral or vitamin is required to make this happen."
Vitamins and minerals act as cofactors for every single metabolic reaction in the body. This means that every time our body creates a hormone or detoxifies a toxin in the liver, it also needs a certain mineral or vitamin to make this happen. To enable optimal function within the body, we need to provide it with plenty of nutrients.
We have over 50 hormones within the human body and control most of the functions that our body performs. Nutrients are essential to optimal hormone health. We need them to not only create our hormones, but also for our liver to clear them when they’re in excess, or when we no longer need them. Without nutrients, our body struggles to make hormones in sufficient quantity for optimal health and energy.
"Without nutrients, our body struggles to make hormones in sufficient quantity for optimal health and energy."
Don't we get these nutrients from a whole food diet?
It is a paradox of modern living, we are “overfed but undernourished”. While the word ‘malnourished’ often evokes images of a person that is seriously underweight or sick, that's that’s not necessarily the case. More frequently it can also refer to a person that is missing out on vital nutrients and is at risk of serious health consequences, without necessarily showing any obvious symptoms.
We can’t obtain everything we need from our modern day diet alone. I’m a massive proponent of eating whole, nutrient-dense foods, based largely on eating foods our ancestors would have eaten. I commonly refer to this as eating for your macronutrient profile type. If you don't know yours, take the BePure Questionnaire to find out. This means prioritising a diet high in plant foods, including leafy greens, fresh seasonal produce, soaking and sprouting grains, eating all parts of the animal – including organ meat! And utilising saturated fats as a core part of our diet. But a clean diet isn’t enough.
There are several factors that contribute to the why; increased stress levels, modern day farming methods, convenience foods and environmental toxins. I have written an entire blog post on why eating a clean diet isn't enough for optimal health.
This is also why one of the BePure Principals is to add appropriate nutritional support to our diet. Through our work at the BePure Clinic, we see that high quality, high strength nutritionals support us where there might be micronutrient gaps in our otherwise undernourished diet.
Let’s take a look at the key nutrients that are involved in our hormonal systems and how deficiencies in these key nutrients contribute to hormone imbalances.
Key nutrients needed for optimal health and hormonal balance
The balance of our omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is very important for hormone balance. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and modulate hormone receptor site sensitivity. We need both Omega-3 and Omega-6 for optimal health but too much omega-6 within the body can increase inflammation (damage) and lead to altered hormone receptor function. For our hormones to do their job, be effective within our body and take action, we need sensitive hormone receptors.
"For our hormones to do their job, be effective within our body and take action, we need sensitive hormone receptors."
Good sources of omega-3s are cold-water, fatty fish and shellfish, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. In our modern day diet, we also get an abundance of omega-6. To bring these into balance we need to minimise our omega 6 intake as much as possible. Omega-6 can be found in industrially processed plant oils, and processed and packaged foods, which pretty much includes anything in a bag or a box.
Vitamin D is an important vitamin that actually becomes a hormone itself in order to exert its' action. Vitamin D has many roles in the body and one of them is in the production of sex hormones. It can stimulate the production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone which not only contribute to libido but also to mood. In New Zealand, especially in the winter, many Kiwi's suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. It's especially during the colder months to include foods that are high in vitamin D, such as tuna, mackerel, sardines, milk and eggs. Mushrooms are a great plant-based source. If you're lacking in vitamin D, it may be a good ideal to add a vitamin d nutritional support in, such as BePure Vit D Restore.
Vitamin C is the most important vitamin when it comes to hormone production. It stimulates hormone production and supports progesterone production - our all important calming hormone. Vitamin C supports our body to balance our stress hormone cortisol and is very important for our adrenal gland health. Unlike other animals, humans are unable to make vitamin C and as it's water soluble we cannot store it. This means we need to give the body plenty of vitamin C every day! Fruit such as kiwifruit, oranges and lemons and vegetables such as capsicum and broccoli can all contribute to our daily vitamin C and I developed BePure Super Boost C which has a two to one ratio of bioflavonoids to vitamin C for optimal absorption.
Magnesium is another mineral that has many roles in the body, such as supporting PMS symptoms, such as anxiety and water retention. We use it a lot in the BePure clinics for our clients that experience cravings. Foods high in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, almonds, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and fish. I also developed BePure Magnesium Restore, to contain the highest quality, most absorbable forms of chelated magnesium to effectively support the renewal of depleted magnesium stores.
IODINE AND SELENIUM
Iodine and selenium are vital minerals for our thyroid gland to make hormones. Thyroid hormones are responsible for our body’s metabolism and our ability to break down energy. The best source of iodine is from seaweed - using a kelp mineral salt is a great idea to increase the iodine of all your meals. Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium and a tasty snack!
I’ve given examples of the foods that you can add to your diet to pump up these nutrients, but to ensure that you are getting what you need every day it may be worth considering nutritional support. Our BePure One is a high-quality, high-strength multivitamin that contains all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you need on a daily basis. Our BePure Three is a high strength, powerful fish oil that contains our fat soluble vitamins as well as molecularly distilled omega-3s.
If you want to learn more about how nutritional deficiencies impact your hormone health I recommend coming along to my latest tour, Women's Wellness Essentials. I will be going into a lot more detail about this – only 3 events left to go. The event details can be found below.