We've all heard the old adage, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." But did you know that when it comes to hormonal balance, timing is everything?
That's right, healing your hormones & fixing your periods isn't just about "eating healthy"! You also need to consider your eating habits and how skipping meals or intermittent fasting can negatively affect your periods, moods, energy & more!
As women, our hormones are delicately balanced and easily disrupted. That's why it's crucial to kickstart our day with a healthy breakfast within 60 minutes of waking.
Whether you're looking to regulate your menstrual cycle, improve fertility, or simply feel more energized and balanced throughout the day, a nutritious breakfast can set the tone for optimal hormonal health.
In this blog post, you'll learn why breakfast is so essential, what TYPE of breakfast is ideal for optimal hormonal balance, and the pros/cons of intermittent fasting for women.
Let's Talk Why You Need To Be Eating 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 savory and contains a good amount of protein (aim for 30grams) fiber (half a plate), fat (2tbsp) and optional starch and fruit.
My go-to blood sugar stabilizing breakfast is 4 x organic eggs, 1 piece of GF buckwheat bread, 1/2 avocado, and 2 tablespoons of Earth Seeds sprinkled on top for additional healthy fats & fibre.
Why is a savory breakfast more ideal for your hormones?
Because when we begin our days with breakfasts such as cereal, jam on toast, granola, muesli, banana bread, fruit smoothie, pop tarts, or a muffin we strap ourselves in for a blood-sugar roller coaster ride. These low-nutrient, high sugar foods, spike your blood glucose & insulin levels throwing off the signaling 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.
Is intermittent fasting good for female hormones?
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, savory, protein rich breakfast within 30-90 minutes of waking up.
You'll be supporting hormonal signaling and priming yourself for a day of abundant energy, good digestion, stable moods & efficient metabolism.
Want hormone-healthy breakfast recipes?
If you want to learn how to create hormone-healthy breakfasts with ease you can get access to 100+ recipes & meal guides in my 4-week course Master Your Cycle.