How to Balance Your Hormones Naturally
Often associated with puberty, reproduction, or menopause, hormones influence how our body functions throughout the lifecycle. Produced by endocrine glands, hormones are chemical messengers involved in numerous bodily functions, influencing everything from our mood and energy levels to our metabolism and reproductive health. Sometimes hormone levels can shift out of balance, resulting in noticeable signs and symptoms.
What is Hormone Imbalance?
Hormones play a key role in our health; even small fluctuations in hormone levels can have noticeable effects. A hormonal imbalance occurs when there is too little or too much of a specific hormone in the bloodstream. It’s a broad term that can represent many different hormone-related conditions.
Some hormonal imbalances can be temporary while others are chronic (long-term). In addition, some hormonal imbalances require treatment so you can stay physically healthy, while others may not impact your health but can negatively affect your quality of life.
However, not all hormone fluctuations are cause for concern, It’s normal for hormones to vary on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Women of reproductive age experience normal hormone fluctuations throughout their menstrual cycle. For example, oestrogen rises during the follicular phase of a woman’s cycle, progesterone peaks during the luteal phase, and both oestrogen and progesterone dip to their lowest levels during menstruation. During perimenopause, women also encounter significant hormonal changes and noticeable symptoms related to these hormonal shifts.
Symptoms and Signs of Hormone Imbalance
The signs and symptoms of hormone “imbalance” will depend on the cause and the hormones involved but can include a range of symptoms such as:
- bloating and digestive issues
- headaches/ Migraines
- brain fog
- difficulty concentrating
- dry skin
- excess hair growth (hirsutism)
- hair loss
- heart palpitations
- Changes to the menstrual cycle
- hot flushes and night sweats
- Stubborn weight gain around the middle
- intolerance to cold or heat
- low sex drive
- memory problems
- mood changes
- muscle weakness, cramps, aches
- oily skin
- weight gain/loss
- vaginal dryness
- ageing skin (and hair)
How to Naturally Balance Your Hormones
For many people, small and simple lifestyle changes can help restore proper levels of hormones in the body. A well-balanced diet and healthy habits may improve your hormonal health and allow you to feel your best. Here are some ways to naturally balance your hormones.
- Get enough protein. Proteins provide amino acids that your body cannot make on its own and are needed to produce peptide hormones. These hormones play a crucial role in regulating several physiological processes, including growth, energy metabolism, appetite, stress, and more.
- Exercise regularly. Getting enough physical activity strongly influences your hormonal health. It enhances hormone receptor sensitivity, helping the delivery of nutrients and hormone signals.
- Maintain a moderate weight. Weight gain is directly associated with hormonal imbalances. Obesity relates to a lack of ovulation in women. Eating within your calorie range can help maintain hormonal balance.
- Watch your gut health. Your gut produces numerous metabolites that can affect hormone health.
- Lower sugar intake. Minimizing added sugar intake can help balance hormones. Eating added sugar promotes insulin resistance, and sugar intake is linked to disruptions in the gut microbiome, ultimately leading to hormonal imbalances.
- Reduce stress. Stress can significantly harm the body’s hormones in many ways. Work to decrease and manage your daily stress.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep is one of the most important factors in hormonal imbalance. The levels of hormones can rise and fall throughout the day due to the quality of sleep.
- Eat healthy fats. Healthy fat intake can work to maintain balanced hormones that are involved with appetite, metabolism, and feeling full.
- Eat plenty of fibre. Fibre plays a role in gut health, helping regulate hormones like insulin. Include green leafy vegetables: spinach, kale, rocket, watercress, cavolo nero, and cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, rocket, cabbage, to support the detoxification of hormones.
Achieving hormone balance is a journey that requires a holistic approach, addressing both the physical and emotional aspects of our well-being. By understanding what hormone imbalance entails, recognizing the symptoms and signs, and implementing natural strategies outlined in this guide, you can take proactive steps toward restoring hormonal equilibrium and reclaiming your vitality. Embrace the power of a nutrient-rich diet, stress management techniques, regular physical activity, quality sleep, toxin reduction, and appropriate herbal remedies. Remember, finding the right balance may take time and patience, so be gentle with yourself and seek guidance from qualified healthcare professionals along the way if you need assistance.