By Robyn Srigley, BA, PTS, CNP, NNCP
My hubby didn’t wash the dishes. That jerk cut me off in traffic. The dog ate my homework. All (seemingly) logical reasons for a little emotional swing. But what happens when these mood swings are ALL. THE. TIME? Simply- your relationships, activities and well-being end up in the toilet like yesterday’s dinner.
High Estrogen/Low Progesterone
Estrogen and progesterone are the two main sex hormones in the female body. They have an extremely delicate balance that is easily thrown off by environment, diet, lifestyle and emotional factors- to name a few. For many women, the chronic symptoms of mood swings, depression, bloating and general PMS come from an imbalance in these two hormones. Estrogen becomes dominant as stress steals your body’s ability to make progesterone. Estrogen will take up residence in your fat cells because that’s a WAY cushier home than being excreted through your urine and bowels. Progesterone keeps you feeling calm, centred and peaceful- so if you don’t feel this way, you may have an imbalance!
Imbalanced Blood Sugar
Monitoring blood sugar isn’t just for diabetics. Blood sugar (glucose) is what provides our cells with energy- for working, working out or working it out, if you know what I mean. When you eat, your body breaks down the food into glucose for our cells. It then needs insulin, the sugar-regulating hormone to unlock the door to the cell so glucose can get inside. If you eat tons of simple carbs and sugars- you will offload a lot of glucose into your blood. Your body tries to compensate by creating more insulin. The problem is that with all the insulin and glucose running around, your body becomes desensitized, leaving these two compounds still floating around the blood. This causes mood swings, light-headedness, dizziness, fatigue, weakness, irritability among other things. Not only will blood sugar imbalance itself cause mood swings, as you’ve just discovered, but this negatively impacts your body’s ability to produce and utilize sex hormones as well. Double no-no.
Believe it or not, we actually need and use all the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals we get from our food. However, a lot of the food you are eating could be totally devoid of nutrients- especially if it came from a take-out restaurant, box, bag or carton. Being deficient in nutrients like the B vitamins, magnesium and vitamin D among others can contribute to mood imbalances.
Poor Gut Health
If you have poor gut health, you have poor health. The gut is our buffer between the outside world and our internal landscape. It keeps our immune system regulated, it breaks down and assimilates nutrients, and keeps our moods healthy. Did you know that the majority of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin is made in your gut? If you don’t have good gut integrity- meaning your barrier between the GI tract and your bloodstream has ‘holes’ in it- your hormones, mood and overall health will be damaged.
Balance Blood Sugar
– Compose each meal of protein, fat and fibre
– Eat every 3-4 hours
– Add 1 tsp cinnamon to your food daily to increase insulin sensitivity
– Exercise regularly
– Try our Cramp Tea for calming and mood-balancing herbs like chamomile
– Drink lavender, peppermint, chamomile, tulsi, or lemon balm tea daily, especially before bed
– Grab a mood and/or hormone-balancing herbal formula from your local health food store
– Keep an eye on how you breathe normally- do you breathe only into your chest, rather than your whole abdomen? Are your breaths shallow and restricted?
– Take up a daily meditation practice- even if it’s 5 minutes
– Try the Three-Part Breath
Clean, Digestion-Promoting Diet
– Protein, fat and fibre with every meal
– Choose organic/grass-fed/pastured meats and dairy whenever possible
– Use gut integrity-promoting bone broth daily in drinks, soups, stews and to cook grains with
– Choose grass-fed collagen protein powder instead of whey or plant-based formulas to seal the gut
– Eat the rainbow
– Consume anti-inflammatory and gut-balancing spices like ginger (also in our Cramp Tea), turmeric, chilies, and others daily
Robyn Srigley, BA, PTS, CNP, NNCP is The Hormone Diva! Robyn helps women replace anxiety with joy to open possibility in their lives and to have a positive impact on the next generation. As a holistic nutritionist, Robyn helps women with a variety of struggles including PMS, menopause, PCOS and endometriosis in her coaching practice. You can connect with her on her website The Hormone Diva, or on Facebook or Twitter.