Essential fatty acids to support female hormone production
Supporting healthy female hormone production is so important. So many women can suffer from an imbalance, which can result in so many symptoms ranging from irritability, weight gain, sleep disturbances, skin problems, fatigue, hot flushes, food cravings, fertility issues and irregular periods - to name a few!
When looking how to support healthy female hormone production, having a good intake of essential fatty acids is really important, although might not always seem like an obvious place to start especially as historically fat has had a lot of bad press.
It is true some fats, mostly saturated, trans and hydrogenated fats aren't good for us and can lead to a variety of health problems. Essential fats actually have the opposite effect and are really important for our health, especially when trying to balance female hormone health.
Do you suffer from any of these symptoms?
Cracked skin on heels and fingertips
Hair falling out
Poor wound healing
Soft or brittle nails
Lack of motivation
Difficulty losing weight
High blood pressure
These symptoms can all be a sign of Essential Fatty acid deficiency. The essential fatty acids are a vital component of every human cell and the body needs them to balance hormones, insulate nerve cells, keep the skin and arteries healthy, and keep the body warm.
So what are these essential fatty acids and where do we get them from?
Monounsaturated fats (Omega 9) are not classified as essential but have lots of health benefits, for example olive oil.
There are two types of polyunsaturated fats - omega 6 and omega 3. Omega 6 is found in nuts, seeds, evening primrose oil, starflower oil and borage oil. These help prevent blood clots and keep blood thin. Omega 3 is found in oily fish, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and dark green leafy vegetables. These oils lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, soften the skin, increase immune function, increase metabolic rate, improve energy and reduce inflammation.
The body will use these essential fatty acids to make something called prostaglandins - there are hormone like substances. These prostaglandins help prevent inflammation, regulate the immune system and reducing abnormal blood clotting.
Try to increase your intake of your omega 6 and omega 3 foods, especially omega 3. You want to aim to get a good amount of omega 6 and omega 3, roughly on a ratio of 4:1, however because we so easily get omega 6 in our diet, and not omega 3, many people's ratio's our out of balance and are closer to 40:1. If you cant get enough of these essential fats through food, especially omega 3 then you can consider getting a good quality supplement, as long as it is safe for you to do so.