Hormones are chemical signals that regulate your sexual development, weight, mood, and several other essential body functions. The endocrine system produces the exact amount of different hormones required for optimal health. However, stress, eating disorders, lifestyle diseases, and environmental factors disturb this delicate balance of hormones and cause health problems.
Women are more vulnerable to hormonal imbalance because they have different endocrine organs and biological phases. In addition, some hormones decline with age, leading to several bodily changes. However, dietary discipline and a healthy lifestyle may help rebalance hormones naturally and improve quality of life. Continue reading to know
ten natural ways to balance your hormones-:
1. Watch Your Weight
Weight gain is linked to hormonal imbalances, resulting in compromised insulin sensitivity and reproductive health issues. Whereas shedding the extra kilos help improve insulin resistance and lowers the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Hypogonadism, the decrease or absence of hormone secretion, is also one of the adverse effects of obesity. It indicates obesity contributes to a lack of ovulation in women and causes infertility. To avoid these complications, maintain a healthy weight by eating only the required calories every day.
2. Exercise Regularly
Physical activity can work wonders for hormonal health. It improves blood flow to your muscles and increases hormone receptor sensitivity, thus enhancing the transfer of nutrients and hormone signals. Exercise also brings insulin levels down and increases insulin sensitivity. Why does it matter? Insulin regulates energy distribution and metabolism in the body by allowing cells to collect sugar from your bloodstream for energy. However, insulin resistance impairs the ability of cells to react to insulin and increases the risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Regular exercise that includes cardio, strength training, and high-intensity interval training may improve insulin resistance.
3. Minimize Sugar Intake
Say no to added sugar, especially its refined white variant. High insulin levels adversely affect women’s ovaries, increasing the production of the male hormone testosterone. Elevated testosterone levels raise the possibility of PCOS, worsen PMS, and cause menstrual irregularities.
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Too much insulin may also impede the production of human growth hormone and affect the optimal levels of body fat, muscle mass, and bone structure. Moreover, excessive sugar consumption may also disrupt the gut biome, one of the factors related to hormonal imbalance. The production of leptin, the hormone for feeling satiated after a meal, also goes down because of consuming sugar in large amounts. Therefore, you end up eating more calories and gaining weight.
4. Try Stress-Relief Techniques
Stress leads to the release of cortisol, the hormone that helps your body cope with stress. However, chronic stress increases cortisol production and weakens the signals that guide the hormonal systems to renormalize. Consequently, cortisol levels remain constantly high and stimulate hunger, making you eat ‘comfort foods’ high in sugar and fats.
It perpetuates the cycle of obesity and insulin resistance and gives way to hormonal imbalance. Keep stress at bay for good health and well-being. Engage in activities that uplift your mood and help you feel at peace. A few activities to consider are yoga, meditation, dance, gardening, nature walk, cooking, reading, painting, and spending quality time with loved ones.
5. Increase Protein Intake
Protein provides essential amino acids, keeps you full for a long, and supports the production of peptide hormones (protein-derived hormones). These hormones have a crucial role in regulating growth, metabolism, appetite, energy, weight, stress levels, and reproduction. All these physiological processes are related to hormonal health. Hence, consuming more protein improves several bodily functions and promotes hormonal health. So, include high-protein sources such as chicken, eggs, fish, lentils, soy, and tofu in your meals.
6. Limit the Consumption of Processed Foods
Processed and packaged foods are high in salt, refined sugars, preservatives, and animal products. These ingredients raise estrogen levels and multiply the risk factor for ovarian and breast cancers. Make your diet a mix of leafy green vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and fish to reduce estrogen levels and related risks.
7. Consume healthy fats
All fats are not unhealthy. Add the sources of high-quality natural fats to your diet to regulate appetite and manage insulin resistance. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and omega-3 fatty acids help improve insulin sensitivity, lower inflammation, and promote weight loss, creating a perfect environment for hormonal health. Virgin coconut oil, MCT oil, fish oil, olive oil, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, almonds, and avocados are excellent sources of healthy fats.
8. Take Care of Gut Microbiome
Gut health affects several physiological processes in the human body. An unhealthy gut causes chronic inflammation and hormonal disruptions linked to diabetes, depression, eating disorders, autoimmune disorders, and cancer. For example, estrobolome (a group of bacteria in the gut) affects how estrogen works in the body. When the gut health deteriorates, estrobolome can no longer regulate estrogen circulation and functions, leading to the increased risk for estrogen-related health problems. Fiber and probiotics are recommended to balance the gut microbiome. Fiber intake helps improve insulin sensitivity, promotes satiety, and helps with constipation during PMS. On the other hand, probiotics aid the growth of good bacteria in the gut, rebalance gut flora and restore the normal estrogen cycle.
9. Get Uninterrupted Deep Sleep
Poor sleep is linked to hormonal problems. Lack of sleep disturbs the levels of crucial hormones, namely, insulin, cortisol, ghrelin, leptin, HGH, etc. Therefore, maintaining a sleep routine is essential to optimal hormonal functioning and overall health. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
10. Check the Everyday Consumer Goods
Cookware, cosmetics, and food storage containers may contain endocrine disruptors that mimic the natural hormones and disturb the body’s natural ability to produce hormones. Ensure that the consumer goods you use daily are free of chemicals such as bisphenol, dioxins, phthalates, and triclosan.
A few dietary and lifestyle changes go a long way in restoring and maintaining hormonal health. However, consulting a physician to identify the causes of hormonal imbalance should always precede this step.