Our hormones are chemical messengers, that have a great impact on our physical, emotional and mental health. Amongst other things, they control your weight, appetite and mood.
When your body is in balance, it produces the exact amount of needed hormones for various processed in your body. But when we push our bodies out of balance by eating unhealthy food, by not moving our bodies, by not getting adequate amount of quality sleep- our hormones get affected which then start to affect our bodily functions. Also, certain hormones naturally decrease as we age, making it even more important to take care of our health.
But if you practice healthy lifestyle habits, including eat nutritious food, you can help your hormonal health allowing therefore you to feel and perform better on a daily basis.
Signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance
Hormonal imbalances can be caused by oestrogen dominance or low oestrogen, low testosterone, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, adrenal fatigue, polycystic ovarian syndrome. And as a result you can experience any of the below:
Weight gain or weight loss
Changes in appetite
Depression and anxiety
Irregular periods and infertility
Hair loss and thinning of hair
Hormone balancing habits
Below I would like to share what are the natural things you can do to balance your hormones.
1. Take care of your gut and liver
I have covered the importance of gut health in my various posts in the past, including about leaky gut, about our gut and brain connection etc. We have trillions of bacteria in our gut that can affect our hormone health both positively and negatively. Your gut microbiome regulates hormones by indicating to the body, whether you are full and satiated and also regulate the hormone insulin.
By eating whole foods, avoiding processed foods, incorporating lots of fibre and fermented foods in your diet, consuming adequate amounts of water, keeping your stress levels down and focusing on getting enough rest and sleep- you are helping to balance your hormones.
Here is my post about liver and how you can support your liver with foods to help body create and detoxify hormones from the body.
Some of the foods to include in your diet on a daily basis:
green leafy vegetables
cruciferous vegetables, like arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, maca, cabbage
wild caught salmon
berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries)
squash (like zucchini and acorn squash)
fresh herbs (rosemary, cilantro, dill, basil, mint)
2. Decrease the amount of added sugar in your diet
Lowering the intake of sugar may be just what you need to do to feel better and avoid obesity, diabetes and other illnesses.
Diets that are high in sugar, disrupt your gut microbiome, promote insulin resistance, reduce the hormone leptin production (which is your satiety hormone).
Here is a full article on why to consider quitting added sugar for better health.
3. Eat adequate amounts of protein with your every meal
Protein provides essential amino acids that our bodies can't make on our own. But your body also needs protein to produce protein-derived hormones- peptide hormones. Our endocrine glands make these hormones from amino-acids and they are important for metabolism, appetite, growth, reproduction and stress.
Protein consumption affects hormones that control your appetite and food intake, communicating to your brain about the energy status in your body. Protein helps to decrease our hunger hormone- ghrelin.
Here is an article of the foods that contain the highest amounts of protein. Aim to eat around 20-30g of protein at every meal.
4. Eat healthy fats
Consuming healthy fats can help to reduce the appetite, lower your cortisol levels as well insulin resistance. Omega-3 fatty acids for example help to prevent your cortisol level rising during the times of stress.
5. Get good-quality sleep
You can be very healthy with your food, do lots of exercise, but if you don't get good amount of restorative sleep at night- you will set yourself up for imbalances hormones. Sleep influences insulin sensitivity, increases your cortisol levels, increases your hunger hormones and decreases your satiety hormones.
Also our brain needs the different stages of sleep cycle to release growth hormone (which happens at night). Aim at least for 7 hours of sleep at night.
6. Engage in regular physical exercise
How much we move, strongly influences our hormonal health. Exercising improves the delivery of nutrients and hormone signals as well as improves our insulin sensitivity. As you know, insulin is a hormone that allows your cells to take up sugar from the bloodstream, transport to cells and to use it for energy. With insulin resistance, your body's cells stop reacting to insulin. Exercise helps to improve insulin resistance and boost levels of testosterone (our muscle-maintaining hormone) and human growth hormone.
Strength training, cardio (like HIIT), walking, any physical activity that you enjoy doing and what you can be consistent with are important to add to your daily schedule.
7. Try and reduce your levels of stress
Cortisol is our stress hormone, which helps our bodies to cope with stress. But when you have chronic stress, your cortisol is elevated all the time, stimulating your appetite (especially intake of high sugar and high fat foods)- which can lead to weight gain and obesity.
8. Reduce your exposure to toxins
This includes reducing the consumption of excessive alcohol and quitting smoking as well as exposure to chemicals in cosmetics, household products, pesticides sprayed on vegetables and fruits, use of plastic because of toxins like BPA, use of medications that disrupt your hormones. Opt for organic and local food where possible, read your cosmetics labels to avoid chemicals like parabens, phthalates, sodium laureth sulfate, DEA, propylene glycol etc.
9. Incorporate hormone balancing essential oils in your life
Essential oils are derived from plants, are great to replace toxic body care and cleaning products in your house. Some of the hormone balancing essential oils include: clary sage, lavender, fennel, sandalwood, thyme.
If you are looking to gain more balance in your life in different areas that influence our healths, don't hesitate to contact me for health coaching at email@example.com. Learn more about my health coaching services under Services menu.