So you want to learn how to balance your hormones naturally and experience PMS-free, pain-free, regular periods?
The truth is that your menstrual health to a large extent is the sum of your daily habits.
And premenstrual symptoms, heavy periods & irregularities are the result of daily habits that are incongruent with your physiology.
So, if you want better periods. You need better habits.
The period pain, mood swings, heavy bleeding, PMS you may experience this month are telling the tale of the quality of your dietary habits , sleep, stress levels, exercise regularity and consumption of sugar, caffeine & alcohol consumption up to 3 months ago.
Another way to look at it, is that your habits today are influencing how you experience your periods up to 3 months in the future
- Nikki Gonda
That's right - your periods are a reflection of your overall health, fertility and vitality AND symptoms are a sign that something’s not right, and you need to make some changes.
Now these changes don’t have to be overwhelming, or involve crazy restrictive dieting or giving up the things you love. I’m not about that, because it’s not sustainable for you.
Our hormones are with us for life, and we are on our periods for about a total of 7 years during our lifetime, so what I am about is how can we make this health journey as enjoyable, empowering & as easeful as possible?
It all starts by getting back to the basics and making small, achievable and sustainable improvements to your daily food & lifestyle habits over time, not all at once - so they become permanent, not short-term AND that’s where the big upgrades in your menstrual health happen.
If I was to start my hormone healing journey all over again, what I'm about to share with you are the top 3 habits I would create and do every day to fast-track my healing to get to where I am now where PMS, cramps and other period problems are no longer my reality or hold me back from feeling amazing all month long.
So what are the 3 top habits for healthier hormones & periods? Let’s get into it.
Habit #1: Magnesium
The first daily habit for better periods is to increase your magnesium intake. A few sprays of Moon Boost Magnesium Oil is an effective boost, keep reading to learn more...
The benefits of magnesium for your hormonal health are endless and getting enough of this crucial mineral is non-negotiable if you want to improve your periods.
Click here to read 10 reasons why every woman needs more magnesium.
Let’s break down some of the benefits of magnesium for your cycle:
1. Magnesium promotes healthy clearance of estrogen which may reduce the risk of the estrogen excess conditions such as fibroids, along with reducing symptoms of PMS such as bloating, fluid retention, breast tenderness, weight gain and mood swings.
2. Magnesium supports healthy blood sugar levels, which studies show may be beneficial for those with conditions like PCOS where blood sugar metabolism is altered. Imbalances in blood sugar are also responsible for sugar cravings, low energy, & mood swings, so if you want to fix your PMS, you need to balance your blood sugar levels and magnesium can be of help there.
3. Magnesium has also been shown to be more effective at reducing period cramps when compared to placebo, as it works by relaxing the smooth muscle of the uterus and by reducing the inflammatory prostaglandins that cause period pain.
4. Magnesium can reduce stress as it calms the nervous system and reduces the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis otherwise down as the HPA axis. The result is less anxiety, less cortisol, and a better capacity to cope with stress. Reduced stress in turn, has positive effects on your menstrual cycle, regularity and health.
The problem is that over 80% of us are deficient in this essential mineral magnesium.
Why this is, is due to a few factors:
Stress being one of them. Stress causes the body to dump magnesium, and let’s be honest most people today are stressed to some extent, so need more magnesium.
Overconsumption of sugar is another one as sugar requires magnesium to be processed in the body, so every time you eat sugar, your body is wasting magnesium.
To compound the issue, over consumption of caffeine, along with use of certain medications such as the hormonal birth control pill & diuretic drugs can cause depletion of magnesium too.
We also aren't getting enough magnesium in our diets due to lack of whole food consumption, and our nutrient depleted soil which means the whole foods we do eat don’t have as much magnesium in them as they once did!
To top it all off the rise in digestive disorders impair people's ability to absorb magnesium too.
So if you're stressed, drink coffee, eat sugar, have IBS, don’t eat enough whole foods, stress some more - you’re going to be needing to top up those magnesium levels!
I think it’s safe to say that we all can benefit from a little or a lot more magnesium in our lives.
So how do you know if you’re low in magnesium?
Some of the more common signs of low levels of magnesium include:
- PMS, bloating & breast tenderness
- Menstrual cramps
- Muscle cramps & twitching
- Stress, Anxiety and poor sleep.
- Low energy
- Headaches / migraines
- Chronic fatigue
So you may now be thinking how can I get more magnesium into me?
Let's look at 3 steps to get more magnesium daily:
Eat more magnesium rich foods such as nuts, seeds, grains, beans, seaweed and dark chocolate, yes i said dark chocolate. However you can’t get the adequate amounts of magnesium required from food alone.
Which leads me to the second way you can boost your magnesium levels is by using a high quality magnesium oil! A few sprays onto your belly daily is effective, I use the product Moon Boost which ill link below.
Another option is to get an oral supplement taking at least 300mg a day, but talk to your practitioner about what is best for you.
Lastly, to help reserve your magnesium stores as best as you can, how can you work to reduce the magnesium blockers? Such as reducing stress, limiting caffeine & sugar consumption, and improving your gut health to optimise absorption of essential nutrients.
A common question I get asked a lot is can you test for magnesium deficiency?
And in short the answer is no, you cannot effectively test for whole body magnesium deficiency. Your body stores around half of its magnesium in the cells of your tissues and organs.
The other 49% combines with calcium and is stored in your bones to keep them strong and healthy. This leaves just a small fraction of around 1% of free magnesium in your blood and this is why blood tests are not very helpful for checking magnesium because they don’t show the levels in your cells.
At the end of the day magnesium deficiency is common, and there are two ways to know if you might need more magnesium, become aware of the signs + symptoms, and try taking a supplement and see how you feel.
Magnesium can take time to build in the body so make it a daily habit to actively replenish your levels, and over-time as it builds up in your system you’ll notice enormous benefits!
*Now before I move onto the next tip, if you want to learn more about how to fix your period naturally & reverse symptoms of pain & PMS, make sure to check out my EPIC mini-course called The Better Period Method on how you can fix your periods naturally + for good. I walk you through how to balance your hormones naturally so you can say goodbye to those dreaded period symptoms that hold you back from living your best life!
Let’s move onto the next habit that helps to balance hormones & improve symptoms of PMS is too..
Habit #2: Breakfast
Eat breakfast. That’s right, no skipping breakfast.
If the meals we eat in a day could be viewed as a series of performances, then breakfast would be the opening act. It sets the stage for our blood sugar and hormone-regulation for the rest of the day.
But, if you’re someone who skips breakfast you may be setting yourself up for a cascade of hormonal chaos in more ways than one.
Now, when I’m talking about eating breakfast, I’m not just talking about any old breakfast, I’m specifically referring to a hormone-healthy breakfast which is ideally savoury and contains a good amount of protein, fibre, fat and optional starch and fruit.
Why is a savoury breakfast more ideal for your hormones?
These low-nutrient, high sugar foods, spike your blood glucose & insulin levels throwing off the signalling of all the other hormones in the body, taxing our adrenal glands and our sex hormones which in the short term makes you hungry, grumpy and tired within a few hours, but in the long term is a recipe for all sorts of health concerns from hormonal imbalances to menstrual irregularities, PMS + fertility challenges, to setting the stage for chronic inflammation, weight gain and diabetes too.
I was someone who was brought up on a breakfast of toast and cereal (coco pops, say no more) and it took me a lot of unlearning & relearning of what a complete breakfast looks like.
So if you want more guidance on how to make a hormone-healthy breakfast with the best foods that tick the boxes of protein, fats & fibre - definitely check out my mini-course The Better Period Method where I break this down in much more depth giving you simple recipes, meal plans and shopping lists to make it easy for you!
Now - like with anything there are exceptions, I really do not believe there is a one size fits all approach for every human.
Some people may genuinely do well without breakfast - There is of course a lot of positive research behind intermittent fasting which makes it super tempting, but intermittent fasting for women is more complicated and its important to be aware that most of the research is conducted on men.
Our physiology is very different from men, so our body is not going to respond to Int fasting in the same way.
Let’s very briefly talk about how Intermittent fasting affects female hormones. Firstly, the female reproductive system is particularly sensitive to stress, and fasting can be a stressor to the body as your hormones are very sensitive to how much food you consume.
Calorie and food restriction which occurs with fasting & skipping meals like breakfast, is perceived by the hypothalamus, the hormone command center in your brain - that you are in a stressful environment where there isn't enough food - it doesn't know you're not in a famine right - so it decides that it’s not a safe time for you to bring a baby into the world and turns down the production of your reproductive hormones required for ovulation and menstruation.
This can in turn cause unwanted symptoms such as PMS, missing periods and even fertility challenges. The body is so smart!
One of the few studies that included both male and female subjects found that while Intermittent fasting was supportive for men, it impaired blood sugar responses for women.
Does this mean it negatively impacts every woman? No - but knowing that this is a possibility, then equips you with the awareness to feel into if fasting works for you and to make an educated decision!
If you try fasting and start to experience PMS, or your period goes missing or becomes irregular, this may be a sign that fasting doesn't work for you. Don't ignore the signs.
At the end of the day, so much of our hormonal balance is dictated by our blood sugar balance. If you experience PMS you need to take action to regulate your blood sugar.
And one simple way to do this is to eat a complete, savoury, protein rich breakfast within 30-90 minutes of waking up.
You'll be supporting hormonal signalling and priming yourself for a day of abundant energy, good digestion, stable moods & efficient metabolism.
Tell me in the comments, what did you have for breakfast this morning? Or, tell me if you are a breakfast skipper? How do you feel about this new habit? I wanna know!
Moving onto the next best habit for healthy hormones and PMS-free, cramp-free periods is to..
Habit #3: Vitamin D
Get your daily dose of vitamin D aka the “Sun Vitamin” for at least 20-30 minutes per day.
Daily sunlight exposure is not just a luxury, it is a necessity.
It helps the human body to manufacture the required amount of vitamin D which is essential for hormonal function, fertility, sexual function, regular & symptom-free periods, stable moods, immunity, abundant energy, quality sleep and so much more.
However, mainstream media, conventional medicine & sunscreen companies have you fearing the sun and heavily warning against sun exposure.
And sure - there is no getting around the fact that getting too much sun is dangerous for your skin.
But avoiding the sun is dangerous too, given that vitamin D deficiency has been linked to emotional & physical symptoms of PMS, period pain, fertility issues, birth defects, PCOS, long cycles, obesity, depression, osteoporosis, hypertension, certain cancers and neuro-degenerative diseases including alzheimer's disease.
Avoiding the sun means we miss out on the many crucial benefits and the major role vitamin D plays in supporting our overall health.
People who work indoors, wear full coverage clothing, regularly use sunblock, are dark skinned, obese, aged or consciously avoid the sun, are at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
So - it’s time to stop fearing the sun my friend, instead it’s all about smart & conscious sunlight exposure.
Let’s talk about how getting daily sunlight exposure may help with period pain relief.
As you may already know, hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins, produced during your period, trigger muscles in your uterus to contract, helping to expel the uterus lining.
However the higher the levels of your inflammatory prostaglandins, the more period pain you experience.
Research has shown that adequate levels of Vitamin D leads to less inflammation and lower levels of inflammatory prostaglandins, which is why supplementation of vitamin D has shown to significantly improve symptoms of primary dysmenorrhea (period pain) and reduce the need for pain-relief medication in some women.
If our vitamin D levels are low, we will be less efficient at regulating these inflammatory prostaglandins and may be more likely to experience painful periods.
So is the solution for period pain & PMS supplementing with vitamin D? If there is no sunlight where you live, or you're unable to get regular exposure to sunshine, this may be a good option for you to discuss with your practitioner. However, do the best you can, even if its cloudy! Another option could be to invest in a light box or even red light therapy.
I personally don’t believe in reaching for any supplement until we first take action in improving our lifestyle and nutritional habits that are within our control. Supplements can be used as complimentary when necessary to fill in any nutritional gaps.
So, before thinking about supplementation, instead you can aim to get 20-30 minutes from the natural source itself being the sun and see what difference it makes for you.
A common question I get is, can we get Vitamin D from foods?
And the answer is diet alone is not enough to support optimal hormone functioning. There is a reason vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin, usually 90% of vitamin D is produced by sunshine exposure of skin and the remainder comes from the diet.
There are a limited number of foods that contain adequate amounts of Vitamin D that your body can use to meet its needs adequately. Traditionally the human vitamin D system begins in the skin, not in the mouth. However, important sources of vitamin D you can include in your diet are egg yolk, fatty fish like sardines & salmon, fortified dairy products and beef liver.
Also a quick one on sunscreen before moving on - when it comes to sunscreen, make sure to use natural non-toxic sunscreen like, as chemicals commonly used in sunscreen are endocrine disruptors, estrogenic and may interfere with thyroid & other hormone processes in the body contributing to hormonal imbalances, period problems and even certain cancers.
My personal favorite hormone-friendly non-toxic sunscreen is from the Brand Edible Beautiful which you can get a cheeky 20% off here.
There are many factors that impact our hormonal & menstrual health, whilst sunlight isn’t a silver bullet for all your woes it can most certainly play a BIG role in improving your moods, sleep, energy, PMS, cramps & overall hormonal health.
The key is to be consistent with daily sunlight exposure and make it a habit!
To improve your periods, you need to begin with your daily habits and these 3 habits are a powerful place to start and will compound over time into great improvements in your cycle.
Get more magnesium, eat a hormone-healthy breakfast, and get your daily dose of vitamin D from the sun!
Remember - you are designed to feel good.
Symptoms are indication that your hormones are not performing effectively and long term not addressing PMS, pain & irregularities is a significant health risk & need to be taken seriously.
The most effective way to reclaim your health is to start with making achievable, small improvements to your daily habits that are permanent, and not a fad.
Making changes to your food & lifestyle can be overwhelming..
Staying consistent can be hard. But education is what makes it easier.
Want to learn more about upgrading your hormonal health naturally? Come over to The Better Period Method today.