Balance is important in every aspect of our lives – our health, our relationships, our diet… the list goes on.
And hormones are not out of that list. As you already know by now, hormones have a huge influence on our wellbeing. Meaning that a hormonal imbalance can significantly impact our overall health.
Hormone imbalances can be due to issues related to adrenals, thyroid, gut, liver, diet and other lifestyle related factors. It can result in a plethora of issues in the body like anxiety, depression, mood swings, weight gain, hair fall, acne, insomnia, fatigue, energy loss, digestion issues and blood sugar imbalance. It is quite a common problem these days due to poor diet and lifestyle.
But if you think about it, at the end of the day, diet and lifestyle factors are areas we can work on, to improve your hormonal health and allow you to feel and perform your best. Here are:
5 natural ways to balance your hormones
1. Eat the right fats 🥑
Including high quality natural fats in your diet may help reduce insulin resistance and appetite.
Short, medium and long-chain essential fats are vital for hormone production. Eating a variety may keep inflammation low, boost metabolism and keep your weight in check.
Include coconut oil, olive oil and avocados as well as oily fish (salmon, mackerel, trout), nuts and seeds.
2. Support a healthy microbiome and a happy gut 🦠
Microbiome (all those healthy bacteria in our gut) plays a significant role in hormonal balance, in particular estrogen.
You can support a healthy microbiome by:
- Avoiding processed and high sugar foods
- Keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum
- Using antibiotics only when it's absolutely necessary
- Eating a diet rich in prebiotic foods (AKA fiber - prebiotics feed your microbiome keeping it healthy and happy). Think garlic, onion, leeks, asparagus, globe artichoke,etc.
3. Improve your liver detoxification 💦
The liver is where we detoxify and remove waste and toxins. This includes hormones, too. When the liver detoxification is not working as it should, this can lead to an increased recirculation of hormones such as cortisol (stress hormone) and estrogen, leading to excess levels and some very unpleasant symptoms.
How to support healthy liver function?
Give your liver the nutrients it needs for optimal functioning:
- Selenium: brazil nuts
- Zinc: pepitas, oysters, chicken
- Vitamin C: berries, citrus fruits
- Sulfur compounds: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, raw garlic, onions, leeks
- Glutathione rich foods: avocado, walnuts, cucumbers
- Eat a diet rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods: the more colorful your foods, the more of these beneficial compounds they will have
4. Regulate your circadian rhythm 😴
A healthy circadian rhythm (your internal body clock) is vital for healthy balanced hormones. When this "clock" is disrupted, this leads to a cascading effect that impacts how and when we produce hormones.
How to regulate your circadian rhythm:
- Avoid blue lights after 7pm. The best way to do this is to use a pair of blue light blocker glasses.
- Get morning sunlight exposure first thing. This will kickstart your circadian rhythm for the day.
- Avoid wearing sunglasses as these will stop natural sunlight hitting your eyelids.
5. Try stress reduction techniques 😖
Stress, oh dear stress, we all have struggles with you. And even though we all have been stressed at least once in our lives, our hormones can be affected by it in many ways.
Chronic stress will also lead to nutritional deficiencies, disrupted microbiome balance and poor gut health, which as we mentioned before, will all impact hormonal balance.
Ways to reduce stress and lower cortisol:
- Take time out for rest and self-care
- Spend time in nature
- Exercise a couple of times a week
- Get a massage
- Ensure you are eating enough Vitamin C rich foods
Although there are other factors that affect hormones that are beyond your control, you can take several steps to help manage your hormone levels.
Consuming nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and engaging in other health-promoting behaviors may go a long way toward improving your hormonal health!