Nutrition news

Nutrition with Jane McClenaghan: How to Meet a Woman’s Unique Nutritional Needs

THIS week we celebrated International Women’s Day and it got me thinking about the unique nutritional needs of women throughout their lives.

From puberty to menopause, female hormones can have a big impact on energy, mood, stress and well-being.

If we know how to eat to help maintain a healthy hormonal balance, then there’s a lot we can do to help manage female hormones.


It is the basis of healthy hormones in nutrition. If you’ve ever wanted a big chocolate bar before your period, you know what I’m talking about.

Sugar wreaks havoc with our hormones, so cut it down right away and find alternatives to your favorite treats.

Dark chocolate, plain yogurt, and fruit or oatmeal cakes and nut butter work well.

Remember that white and refined carbs also affect blood sugar balance, so opt for whole grains instead.


Phytoestrogens can help restore hormonal balance.

Found primarily in flaxseeds, beans, and lentils, there are simple ways to include more of these foods in your diet:

:: Add a spoonful of ground flax seeds to porridge or yogurt.

:: Add the chickpeas to the curry.

:: Bolognese bulk with puy lentils.

:: Eat more hummus.

:: Add beans or lentils to salads.


The female body detoxifies hormones through our liver, and then we excrete these metabolites through our urinary and digestive tracts.

If we are constipated, we can back up this system and end up recirculating hormones, leading to imbalances. It is therefore extremely important to eat in a way that promotes regular bowel movements and a healthy digestive tract.

Here’s how:

:: Drink enough water.

:: Eat foods high in soluble fiber – beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables, oats, nuts and seeds.

:: Eat whole grains.

:: Regular exercise.

:: Eat probiotic foods, eg live yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir.


The liver packs up the hormones we’ve used up, so they can be safely excreted.

Sulfur-rich foods help support these important pathways that detoxify estrogen.

So eat sulfur-rich foods like eggs, onion, garlic, scallions, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and arugula.

What to reduce:

:: Alcohol

Alcohol can contribute to anxiety, low mood, trouble sleeping, reduced resilience to stress, hormonal imbalances, fluctuating blood sugar levels, and adds extra pressure on the hard-working liver. to help us balance hormones.


Too much caffeine has been linked to premenstrual syndrome and hot flashes during menopause.

It can also contribute to symptoms of stress or anxiety. Choose green tea, herbal teas or decaffeinated for a few weeks and notice the difference.

::Sugar and artificial sweeteners

He sees that there is a strong link between sugar and PMS, PCOS, hot flashes and other symptoms of female hormonal imbalance.

Artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, acesulfame K, and aspartame have been shown to negatively affect digestive health and may contribute to bloating and digestive upset.


It’s a good idea for women of all ages to take a good quality multivitamin appropriate for their age and life stage, but there are a few other key ingredients that are also worth considering.

:: Magnesium

Women with PMS have been shown to have low magnesium levels and one study found a 35% reduction in PMS symptoms after three months of supplementation with 250mg of magnesium daily.

:: Vitamin B6

Some evidence suggests that magnesium is more effective for mood-related symptoms of PMS when combined with vitamin B6.


Essential fats like omega 3 from fish oils and evening primrose oil have some merit in helping to maintain a healthy balance of female hormones.