When was the last time you thought about your ovaries? If you are anything like the rest of us it probably was the last time you had your menstrual cycle. The painful truth is that we tend to forget about the majority of our body until something goes wrong due to our neglect and pushes it to the front of our mind. Unfortunately, this system tends to come with some serious repercussions. For those of us who put our health on the back burner right up until our bodies begin to scream in protest there may be no turning back. In some cases the damage is too great and we are unable to repair the damage we have inflicted on ourselves due to extreme neglect.
Invest In Your Health!
As a doctor, it is my job to provide my clients with the knowledge they need to live long, healthy, and happy lives. That is why I started blogging. For me, education takes up the majority of my time with my clients. In an attempt to provide my clients with more one-on-one time that gets right to the root of their needs I have started these educational series. The hormone highlight had such a great response that I wanted to highlight the organs that produce these critical hormones. In doing so, we should be able to improve our organ health and simultaneously balance out our hormonal levels. Which will not only improve our overall health, but it will also slow the aging process. I am sure that is something we are all interested in.
Now Presenting Your Ovaries
Without further adieu I present to you, your ovaries. Ovaries are part of the female reproductive system. Each woman has two ovaries and is born with all the eggs she will ever have. The ovaries are oval in shape are approximately four centimeters long, and stratal either side of the uterus against the wall of the pelvis known as the ovarian fossa. They are held in place by ligaments. But they are not directly attached to the fallopian tubes.
What Do Ovaries Do?
An ovaries job is to produce and release eggs (oocytes) into the female reproductive tract at the midpoint of each menstrual cycle. They also produce hormones such as Estradiol, Progesterone, Androstenedione, and Testosterone. The ovaries are the only portion of the body that operates on a positive feedback response. They are controlled by the release of a hormone called Gonadotrophin-Releasing Hormone located in the Hypothalamus. Which then signals the Pituitary gland to produce Luteinising Hormone and Follicle Stimulating Hormone. These hormones then travel through the bloodstream to activate the menstrual cycle.
Hormones They Produce
Inside the ovary, all eggs are enclosed in a single layer of cells known as the follicle. Over time, the eggs mature causing the cells in the follicle to rapidly divide and become larger. As the follicles develop they produce Estradiol. Once the egg has been released at ovulation the ovary then releases Progesterone in a higher amount and Estradiol in a lower amount. For those of you who are unaware Progesterone increases your metabolism which is why we burn more calories during our menstrual cycle. If you are dealing with Estrogen dominance you will notice that you lose weight much easier during your cycle. This is due to the fact that during your cycle your body over compensates for the excess of Estrogen when producing the release of Progesterone during ovulation.
When They No Longer Function
The ovaries naturally stop functioning at the time of menopause. In most women, this occurs around the age of 50. If this happens prior to the age of 40 it is referred to as premature ovarian failure or premature ovarian insufficiency. The most common disorder experienced with ovaries is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome affects 5-10% of women in a reproductive age. In a polycystic ovary, the follicles mature to a certain stage, but then they stop developing and fail to release an egg. One of the leading factors that contributes to PCOS is an excess of Testosterone in the body. Making balancing out your hormones a new priority. But what causes them to become unbalanced in the first place?
Why You Should Detox?
There are several different contributing factors that can lead to a hormonal imbalance such as environmental toxins, eating excess processed foods, consuming an excess of certain foods that naturally increase one hormone, excess stress and poor sleep quality or quantity. If you are looking to improve your overall health you should invest in a regular detox. Detoxing is the body’s natural way of resetting itself. What most people do not know is that our bodies naturally detox themselves. However, due to the excess of toxic exposure they are unable to detox themselves properly. A great way to help our bodies out is by reducing our toxic exposure and ensuring they have the proper materials they need to function to the best of their ability.
Foods to Improve Ovary Health
If you are looking to focus on improving your ovary heath there are some foods you should start increasing in your daily routine. The following is a list of foods that can help improve your ovary health:
- Flax Seed
- Green Tea
- Chia Seeds
- Peas & Beans
- Red Peppers
- Almonds & Walnuts
Benefits of Balancing
For those of you who did not notice, the majority of these foods are also ideal for balancing out your hormones. Not to mention, they are also high in fiber which is ideal for helping our bodies naturally detox themselves. Our bodies are designed to work with us as much as possible. The key to good health is to stop getting in the body’s way and set it up to succeed via the foods we supply it with. Everything else will fall into place once we manage to do that. Most people are unaware of how much energy and resources our bodies allocate to detoxing. That is why people who participate in a detox experience extreme boosts in energy levels. Of course there is a short window in which the majority of these individuals will experience sugar withdrawal and will have far less energy levels.
Foods That Hurt Your Ovaries
Not all foods are created equal. There are several foods you will want to limit or remove entirely from your daily routine. The following is a list of foods to avoid to keep your ovaries healthy:
- Gluten Or Other Refined Grains
- Refined Sugars
- Red Meat
All of these foods can lead to a number of health related issues. This does not mean you have to remove all of these foods forever. By all means you want to be realistic with your lifestyle and you want to set yourself up for success. A great way to do just that is by slowly removing these foods from your daily nutrition. I started with dairy and gluten first. After two months I removed sugar, and waited another two months to remove red meat. Personally, I have never really liked alcohol so I did not need to remove it. I still consume some if not all of these foods on occasion, however, my body pays a price for each one. A suggestion I give to my clients is to log their food for one month and include how they felt after eating those foods.
Take Back Control Today
If you would like help on determining a route that best suits you and your lifestyle let me know. I am always willing to help out and as an added bonus I also have some digital food diaries you can have for free! Until then, here is a great recipe to help improve your ovary health.
Hormone Balancing Breakfast Smoothie
Gluten-Free, Vegan Serves 1
- 2 Medjool Dates (pitted)
- 1 Banana Frozen
- 2 Tbsp Almond Butter
- 1 ½ Cups Coconut Milk (or split with half coconut Bia water)
- 2 Tbsp Flax Seed (ground)
- 1 tsp Maca Powder
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Pure Vanilla
In a blender combine all ingredients. Blend on high until desired texture is reached. I like mine thicker so I don’t blend as long. Expert tip: if you are not a fan of chewing your smoothie blend the dates and liquids together before adding the remainder of the ingredients!
Need a Helping Hand?
A happy and healthy life is closer than you may think. Our health is something that we all have to deal with daily, and when we don’t feel our best, it shows. If you are tired of just making it through your day then you NEED to start investing in your health today! You are not alone on this journey. If you ever need any help I am always here to do just that. Even if it is something as small as just acting as a sounding board. Do you have any questions or concerns I can help you with? Feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] or you can even book a one-on-one call with me. Be sure to subscribe to gain access to tons of free goodies and check back daily for more great recipes and information!