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How Sugar Affects Women's Hormones

· Nutrition,Women's Health

If you are a woman struggling to balance her hormones, please take a moment to read this article. I can not express enough, just how important our diets are to our wellness - especially our reproductive health.

Understanding how our bodies interact with certain chemicals from our food, gives us eye-opening insight about the processes and conditions of our bodies.

Taking control of our wellness at the level of food, something we do have a hand in, puts us in a position to navigate our wellness. Being proactive in our quest to optimal health, starts with not only getting the information but being receptive to the information as well.

So what is sugar?

Before we begin, let’s define sugar.

Sugar is a sweet crystalline substance taken from various plants, especially sugar cane and sugar beet. Sugar is the generalized name for sweet-tasting, short-chain, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are found in our food and drinks.

 

But if we ditch the scientific or “book” identification of sugar, in short, sugar is a chemical drug that has very little nutritional value - plus highly addictive.

But of course, sugar is not just sugar. It's white sugar and brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white carbs (i.e. bread, pasta, potatoes), agave, maple syrup, cane sugar. There are so many ways in which sugar is packaged now, including many alternative sweeteners, that while marginally better than refined sugar, they still carry the same negative impact on our blood sugar and insulin levels; leading to our hormonal imbalances.

What are hormones?

Every second of every day we have dozens of hormones acting in our body to get certain physiologic functions accomplished. Hormones are chemical messengers used in the body by our endocrine system to co-ordinate our organs.

Hormones control much of what we feel, be it tired, hungry, horny, hot or cold. They control the rates of certain chemicals reactions, assist in transporting substances through membranes, help regulate water balance, our electrolyte balance and blood pressure. Hormones manage our behavior, development, growth and reproduction.

 

In short hormones are the body's little messengers...always telling our body what and how to behave.

How sugar causes hormonal imbalance!

Sugar not only provides major highs and lows in our mood and energy, it also disrupts one of the most powerful hormones in our body: Insulin. Insulin is closely connected to all other hormones in our body, including estrogen and testosterone.

Insulin is a hormone made by our pancreas that allows our body to use sugar (glucose) from the food that we eat for energy or to store glucose. Think of insulin as the "key" that unlocks the cell to allow sugar to enter the cell and be used for energy.

When insulin spikes, typically after a meal high in sugar, this can lead to lower levels of an important protein known as sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). SHBG binds excess estrogen and testosterone in the blood, but when it's low, these hormone levels increase. Insulin also increases the production of testosterone, which is converted into more estrogen by fat tissue in the belly.

And what effect is it having on women?

 

These effect means the ratio of estrogen and progesterone is off. And since these hormones for the woman are responsible for the development and regulation of her reproductive system, sex characteristics and emotional well being , it's affects a lot.

So unfortunetly, a gravely negative effect on all parts of a woman's physical, mental and emotional well being.

Here's a breakdown:

  • When you eat sugar of carb-based food it stimulates our insulin response. Our metabolism is designed to preserve the glucose we receive from carbs or sugar, because our body and brain needs it for food. 
  • Sucrose and other kinds of sugars have to be converted into glucose for your body. The only way that glucose can get into the cells is with insulin. So when we eat a lot of sugar or carbs, and there's a ton of glucose in our system, our body send out tons of insulin to deal with the excess glucose in our bloodstream.
  • The body is saying, "I want to save the glucose for the brain and the body now, as we don't know when we'll get it again. Our bodies are actually designed to get fuel from fat, rather than sugar.
  • The glucose in our bodies enter the cells, with the help of insulin, but there's excess insulin and glucose. The body doesn't need all that glucose, because of this fact, it doesn't use it all. It is then packaged up as glycogen. This is why sugar-holics, like alcoholics, have fatty liver disease.
  • This glucose over-exposure saturates your cells and sends your blood sugar levels soaring and then crashing. A glucose and insulin spike disrupts ovulation - preventing your hormones from triggering ovulation and the creation of progesterone. Disrupted ovulation causes hormonal imbalance - without ovulation you cannot produce progesterone, which leads to estrogen dominance. 
  • Fat cells in the body secrete estrogen. the more sugar you eat, the more fat cells you create, the more estrogen they secrete. The estrogen adds to the estrogen your endocrine system produces. Add in xenostrogens in our environment, you're set up for estrogen dominance, progesterone deficiency, and hormonal imbalance. This hormonal imbalance is a root cause for anxiety, depression, irritability and many of our common reproductive issues like: PMS, cramps, irregular cycles, along with PCOS, Endometriosis, Fibroids and Infertility issues.
  • If you have insulin-resistance PCOS then having excess glucose in your bloodstream will cause inflammation, leading to more health issues.

Instead of NO sugar, think glycemic control!

The goal isn't to avoid sugar entirely. Cutting all sugar out of your life is next to impossible.

Fruits, vegetables, even legumes have some sugar in them. The trick is to lower your glycemic load. Glycemic load is an estimate of how much the carbohydrates in a certain food or meal will raise a person's blood sugar after eating. You want to gradually increase blood sugar and insulin levels as opposed to causing spikes and dramatic drops.

Simple, refined sugars cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin. But complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein and healthy fats promote more gradual increases and decrease in blood sugar and insulin, lowering the glycemic load and lifting the burden on the hormones.

Instead of keeping that handy bag of hard candy or bottle of sugary drink near, switch out to a healthier snack like nuts. Rotate between cashews, pistachios, almonds or walnuts to keep your taste buds interested. This small change can not only help with food cravings, mood swings, and fatigue, but blood sugar levels will see significant improvements.

4 ways to balance hormones & curb the sugar habit!

There are multiple ways to balance hormones and ease our symptoms! Consider adopting these approaches:

  1. Natural Hormone Support - For uneven estrogen and progesterone ratios, herbs to consider are red clover, chasteberry, wild yam, maca, lemon balm and passion flower. 
  2. Sugar-busting nutrients - to curb sugar cravings be sure your nutrients of vitamins and minerals include zinc, magnesium, chromium, vitamin C, and B-vitamins. Omega 3's are important as well. The omega 3's in fish oil can not only help with cravings and inflammation, but also improve insulin sensitivity.
  3. Mix Protein, Fiber, and Healthy Fats with Treats. A mentioned about foods high in protein, fiber and healthy fats helps to improve blood sugar and insulin. Also be sure to include cruciferous vegetables in your diet, like brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and kale for added hormone balance.
  4. Lower Your Stress. This steps counts a a double whammy because high levels of the stress level cortisol can disrupt blood sugar, increase cravings and disrupt estrogen and progestogen balance. As a result adrenal glands are stressed.

Again our food contribute to hormonal imbalances, adopting a "whole food diet" is imperative. Consume organic fruits and veggies, seeds, nuts, hormone-free, grass-fed and humanly raised animal product as mush as you can.

Even if you aren't worried abut your waistline, cutting back on or eliminating sugar helps rebalance your hormones, and can dramatically ease your symptoms.

Did this article help you, teach you or bless you? Please share it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest to help our fellow sisters choose healthy organic options!

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Love and Health,

- Shavonne Richardson

Your Wholistic Health Coach

Email: inspireorganics.co@gmail.com

Phone/Text: 205-440-2740

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