Do you ever feel that something in your body is not quite right, even though you’re otherwise healthy? The culprit may be hormonal imbalances. Hormonal imbalances may affect your mood, libido, appetite, and immunity. If you do not feel as healthy as you’d like, simple changes to your diet and activity are how to balance hormones naturally.
The Low-Down on Hormones
Hormones are chemicals released by various parts of your body that transmit messages or signals to other parts of the body. They relay important information which affects growth, fertility, metabolism, immunity, and behavior. Hormone messages function as part of the immune system, and are produced by glands including your pancreas, thyroid, adrenal gland, pituitary, ovaries, and testes glands. Hormones are a vital part of our development and lifelong function, and are too often overlooked by those seeking optimal health.
Signs of hormonal disturbances may include weight gain or loss, depression, insomnia, mood swings, and low libido. If you suspect you suffer from minor hormonal imbalances and would like to address them naturally, rather than resorting to medicine, the suggestions below may be of great benefit to you. However, these suggestions are not definitive and those suspecting serious hormonal disturbances should seek advice from a physician.
How To Balance Hormones Naturally
1. Repair your Bowel
If you’re wondering how to balance your hormones naturally, you have to start in your gut.You have likely heard of Leaky Gut Syndrome, which is affecting many Americans whether or not they know it. There are a variety of other gut issues affecting our overall health, particularly hormonal health. Believe it or not, many hormones are manufactured in your gut. For example, one hormone which is primarily manufactured in the gut is Serotonin, which makes us happier and helps us sleep. If your gut does not contain the beneficial bacteria (or probiotics) required to produce adequate levels of Serotonin, you may suffer from depression and/or insomnia.
To balance your hormones naturally, decrease intake of foods containing sugar and flour. Increase the number of vegetables you eat at every meal to aid your body in digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Add probiotic-rich foods to your diet, such as kimchi, yogurt, and kombucha. You may also choose to take probiotic capsules, which can be purchased at natural grocery stores, and can provide a huge boost to the number and variety of healthy bacteria in your gut.
2. Reduce Stress
Stress not only affects the function of your gut and digestive system, it releases certain hormones that elevate your heart rate and blood pressure. Specifically Adrenaline, which is primarily responsible for our “fight or flight” response, and Cortisol, which is also released in response to stress. While a burst of Adrenaline is beneficial if we need to run from a tiger, high stress levels result in excess Adrenaline throughout the day. Our mind does not necessarily know the difference between stress caused by a predator and stress caused by a deadline at work.
If daily stressors are causing you to live in fight or flight mode, your health and sanity are suffering. Reduce stress by giving yourself time to calm down throughout the day, perhaps to practice yoga, meditation, Qigong or Tai Chi. Reduce your caffeine intake, because caffeine stimulates the adrenals to release Cortisol in response to stressful situations.
3. Exercise the Right Way
In learning how to balance hormones naturally, we must address exercise habits. Exercise is shown to decrease stress and improve overall body function, which makes it an excellent way balance hormones. During appropriate exercise, our body produces feel good hormones called Endorphins, which improve mood and decrease pain. However, exercising to the point of stressing your body can cause the release of excess stress hormones such as Cortisol, which is counterproductive to your goal of hormonal balance.
To attain maximum hormonal benefit, keep high-cardio activities to 45 minutes or less for maximum Endorphin gains without added stress to your body. Walking and gentle jogging are excellent ways to assist your body in producing Endorphins without risk of overstressing your system. Include some yoga or Tai Chi into your workout regime, building strength with the added benefit of reducing stress. Balance all exercise with rest days and appropriate proteins and carbohydrates to recover from exercise.
4. Sleep Well
Just as hormones affect how well we sleep, our sleep patterns affect the release of hormones. Inadequate sleep can cause both the inhibition of necessary hormone production and the overproduction of other hormones. If you’re wondering how to balance hormones naturally without dietary or fitness changes, work on your sleep habits. To improve your sleep, limit use of television and computers in the evening hours. Instead, listen to relaxing music or read a book in soft lamplight.
Make sure your bedroom is completely dark; protect your room from street light by covering windows and cover alarm clocks and computers. Go to bed at the same time each night so that your body learns a reliable sleep schedule. Follow these recommendations for a few weeks and soon you’ll be regulating hormones as you rest!
5. Avoid Hormone Disruptors
In addressing how to balance hormones naturally, you should stay clear of certain medications and substances because they disrupt hormonal balance. A primary culprit is birth control, which adds artificial hormones to your body that inherently disrupt our natural hormonal system.
BPA, found in some plastic bottles and canned goods, is also a major hormone disruptor. Buy a reusable, BPA-free water bottle and eat fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned. Avoid products and foods that contain hormone-disrupting metals, such as Lead and Mercury. Filter your drinking water to avoid lead, and carefully rid your home of old, lead-filled paint. Decrease your intake of high-mercury fishes and opt for wild salmon and trout instead.
As you see, these methods for how to balance hormones naturally fit right into any health program, from making healthy dietary choices to maintaining a fitness program suitable to your body. Being aware of how hormones work and how your diet and lifestyle choices are affecting the production of these vital chemicals will assist you in naturally shifting your body toward balance. Your small efforts may pay off in big changes to your hormonal health!
Images taken from depositphotos.com.