Don’t Neglect Your Gut-Hormone Connection

by Dr. Rebecca Chatfield, Naturopathic Medical Doctor, The Mobile Health Doc

What’s your gut got to do with it? A lot! Even though digestive health isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when considering hormone imbalances in women, it is often one of the most important places to find the root cause, answers and long-lasting relief many are looking for.

A wide variety of gynecological and reproductive conditions are influenced by the health of your gut. There are many ways the gut ecosystem can become imbalanced. These are some common offenders:

  • Diet and poor nutrition (i.e. processed foods, sugar, saturated fats)
  • Chronic stress 
  • Environmental toxin exposure (i.e. pesticides, heavy metals, mold)
  • Certain medications (antibiotics, NSAIDs, Tylenol, PPIs, and oral contraceptives)
  • Alcohol 
  • Food triggers like gluten and dairy 

One of the easiest ways to get started repairing and replenishing the gut is with an important determinant of health- nutrition! Below is a list of some foods for a happy, healthy gut:

  • Probiotic foods are made up of good bacteria that help in fighting off bad bacteria and work to maintain microbe balance. Try a side of kimchi, sauerkraut, pickled vegetables or dairy free yogurt with your next meal.
  • Prebiotic foods are a form of fiber that act as a food source for your friendly bacteria. Some examples include dandelion greens, garlic, onion and believe it or not — chocolate!
  • Insoluble fiber foods act as a cleaning agent by helping move waste through the intestines and colon. This is not only good for the gut but also helps prevent unwanted metabolized estrogens from accumulating. Dark leafy vegetables, brown rice, apples and berries are some easy options to incorporate into meals.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids foods have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and are critical for healing an inflamed gut. Wild caught salmon, sardines, flax seeds and walnuts are all great ways to get these healthy fats into your diet. And don’t forget, healthy fats are essential building blocks needed for hormone production.
  • Amino acid rich foods provide the vital nutrients to help with growth and repair of the gut lining. Bone broth is high in amino acids, collagen and gelatin, which strengthen connective tissue in the gut.

Let today be the first day of a new way of eating. For assistance in making nutritional changes that affect hormone balance, seek out a complementary health care practitioner. Happy healing ladies!