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    [Guest Post] 5 Easy steps to balancing your postpartum hormones

    Taking proper care of ourselves after having that beautiful baby can be challenging. The first weeks and sometimes months as (new) moms we can find ourselves too busy to tune into our bodies. Especially our hormonal health after pregnancy can be a source of extreme discomfort. It is not supposed to be that way! Fortunately, we can take action to restore our hormonal health. I want to share some easy steps that target the two most important sex hormones: estrogen and progesterone. These two hormones work closely together and their balance is a requirement for a happy cycle (yes it exists!).

    Hormonal Health

    Our hormones are tasked with sending signals to control our bodily systems, like reproduction, our blood pressure, hunger and even stress. When our sex hormones are out of balance we suffer
    from PMS. Symptoms vary from our emotions being out of control, cravings, bloating, cramps, and heavy bleeding.

    Postpartum our hormones have just orchestrated a collaborative miracle through conception. Estrogen and progesterone, which have been elevated throughout have now returned to pre-pregnancy levels. This is not necessarily good news. Studies have shown that it’s not the low levels that affect us, but the sudden change, which causes a type of withdrawal. Also known as the infamous emotional rollercoaster. Every woman reacts differently to this drop in hormones and the manner of hormonal health pre- and during pregnancy will determine how severely you are affected by this.

    Estrogen & Progesterone

    Estrogen is the special sauce that makes us feel feminine. Progesterone is less known, but plays an equally important role during pregnancy and the menstrual cycle. Both sex hormones have a soothing effect that promote a sense of wellbeing when levels are normal. This sweet spot of normality is reached when levels are not too high and not too low.

    Our liver is crucial in this process since it is responsible for immobilizing estrogen and thus ensuring optimal levels. Dietary choices, lifestyle and environment can cause our livers to be overburdened and not up to this important task. That is why excess estrogen is the most common problem. Specific symptoms include painful periods, water retention, redness in the face, mood swings, insomnia and a low libido. Since estrogen and progesterone go hand in hand, low levels of progesterone will sustain high estrogen levels. Low amounts of progesterone lead to anxiety, brain fog, irregular and heavy bleeding and even an absence of ovulation.

    What to do?

    1. We need to support the liver in order to help along the elimination of excess estrogen. We do this by increasing our intake of bitter tasting foods like: chicory, brussels sprouts, endive, arugula, grapefruit, thyme, munt, coriander, ginger, and curcuma.
    2. Fiber in our diet will bind the excess estrogen in our gut and help lower excesses. So add two spoonfuls of unbroken flaxseeds to yoghurt, kefir or oatmeal to up the intake. Leave the flax seeds a few minutes to soak prior to eating. Consuming more leafy greens is also beneficial.
    3. Skip the coffee. Yes, really! Progesterone is blocked by cortisol, which is our stress hormone. Coffee stimulates the production of cortisol. So swap the coffee for green tea to get a similar boost, which will not end up blocking progesterone.
    4. You need Vitamin D3, which is actually a hormone. Low levels are linked to PMS. Get outside when the sun is out! Consume fish and eggs. Buy a high quality liquid vitamin D3 (preferably olive oil based) to supplement, follow the instructions for proper dosage.
    5. Last but certainly not least: increase your intake of magnesium. Vitamin D is activated by magnesium and this mineral actually produces estrogen and progesterone. Magnesium will relieve all the above mentioned PMS symptoms (lowering stress in the process)…and it will do so quickly! Good news: buy some quality organic dark chocolate (more than 70%) to indulge in or make it yourself. Spoil yourself with a 15 minute bath filled with 500 grams of epsom salt. The best results are obtained when you do this 3 times a week. If you don’t have a bath, soak your feet in half the amount of epsom salt for similar results.

     

    Make your own dark Chocolate

    Ingredients:

    • 3 Tbs organic cacao butter
    • 2 Tbs organic (raw) cacao powder
    • 1 Tbs coconut oil (optional)
    • 1 Tbs grade C maple syrup (or honey)
    • 1/2 Tsp cinnamon powder
    • Hint of Himalayan or Keltic sea salt

    Method:

    1. Melt the cacao butter au bain marie until completely soft
    2. Blend all the ingredients until the mixture is smooth. Less coconut oil will reduce how creamy your chocolate is. So vary according to your preference.
      I hardly ever make it to the next step 🙂
    3. Place the chocolate on parchment paper to freeze for at least 1 hour. It will be hard enough to roughly cut and then enjoy!
    Author: Desirée Domacassé

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    Do you want to know more about balancing your hormones? Lose pregnancy weight? Improve the condition of your skin or boost your energy? My name is Desirée Domacassé and I am a health coach with more than 15 years of experience with healthy eating. Visit my website at www.voedstyle.nl. If you fill out the contact form and add the key word ‘ISIS’ in the subject, you will receive a first intake of 90 minutes worth €95 for €45.