1. Eat enough protein at every meal. Protein provides amino acids to maintain muscle, bone and skin health.
2. Engage in Regular Exercise. We covered this yesterday the importance of keeping strong bones and heart. Find something you enjoy that will keep you fit and active. However, another benefit is the ability to reduce insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity. So things that reduce insulin levels whilst increasing insulin sensitivity includes aerobic exercise, strength training, and endurance exercise.
3. Avoid sugar and refined carbs. If you can follow a low or moderate carb diet based on whole foods this can help reduce insulin levels and reduce the chances of getting diabetes. Switch to seeded bread, whole grain options and cut down on the sugar intake both artificial but also be aware that fructose occurs in natural sugar too.
4. Stress. Ok so this one is not easy to manage but stress can play a big part on our hormones. Main issues with this are an increase in adrenaline and cortisol which can lead to high blood pressure, rapid heart rate and anxiety. These issues can lead to excessive calorie intake and obesity including increased belly fat. Things like regular massage, meditation, yoga as well as listening to relaxing music all can help reduce the stress levels, in fact, one study showed a 31% decrease in cortisol with regular massage.
5. Consume Healthy Fats. This again is all linked to insulin and appetite control. Healthy fats include cooking with coconut oil, nuts, and avocado.
6. Avoid overeating and under-eating. Can you see a theme emerging diet is so important post menopause to help control weight gain but under eating can also increase the amount of the stress hormone cortisol. Find out what your personal calorie range is and stick to it as much as possible.
7. Green tea! Yes, this drink will boost your metabolism, it contains an antioxidant, it may increase insulin sensitivity.
8. Eat fatty fish often. The best source of omega 3 fatty acids which have impressive anti-inflammatory properties. Research also shows these may have beneficial effects on the stress hormones.
9. Sleep! Not easy really you are either a good sleeper or you are not. But it’s all related if you get decent quality sleep it will improve your stress levels, help regulate insulin levels and decrease those fullness hormones!!
10. Consume a high fibre diet. Can you see where this is going now? Yes, it’s all part and parcel of the same thing higher fibre improves insulin sensitivity and controls the hormones that affect hunger, fullness and food intake.
11. Eggs! Eat them anytime don’t save them just for breakfast. Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Eating the whole egg is also a great idea, studies show that eating whole eggs as part of a low carb diet increased insulin sensitivity and improved several heart health markers.
12. Hormones are involved in every aspect of your health and you need them in very specific amounts for your body to function. Although this article is all about post menopause everything we have mentioned is relevant to each and every one of us. Consuming nutritious foods, exercising on a regular basis and engaging in other healthy behaviours can go a long way towards improving your hormonal health.