Hormones- 10 Tips to Achieving Hormonal Balance
Getting 6-8 hours of sleep a night, yet still feeling tired and stressed out? Exercising everyday but still can’t seem to shed those excess pounds? Has your libido flat-lined? The problem may be hormonal imbalance.
What are Hormones?
Hormones are our body’s chemical messengers that course through our bloodstream and enter tissues where they turn on switches to the genetic machinery that regulate everything that happens in our bodies. Our hormones, produced by different glands and organs, work in conjunction with one another to regulate every bodily function for our total mind and body well-being.
Hormonal balance is key to our well-being. There are over 30 hormones produced in our bodies, that together regulate sex drive, appetite, energy level, cravings and moods. Lifestyle, stress level, what we eat, environment, our level of exercise, sleeping patterns, exposure to toxins, all have an impact on how efficiently our hormones work.
An imbalance in the adrenal, thyroid, progesterone, testosterone and estrogen hormones can adversely affect the immune system. In fact several illnesses and diseases have their roots in hormonal imbalance. For example, adrenal fatigue, thyroid disease, immune deficiencies, endocrine disorders, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, fibroids, cystic breasts, ovarian cysts, PMS and pre-pubescent maturation are all linked to hormonal imbalance.
Stress, nutrition and environmental factors can cause hormonal imbalance. Stress takes a toll on the adrenal glands which are chiefly responsible for regulating the stress response through hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These glands are key to a healthy immune system and necessary for proper thyroid function. When they are over-worked, adrenal fatigue develops. Cystic breasts, feeling tired and wired, dry skin, muscle aches, cravings for salt, sweets and carbs, fluctuating weight, excessive sweating and low blood sugar are all signs of Adrenal Fatigue.
How Can We Naturally Balance Our Hormones?
- Eat whole grains and fiber-rich vegetables and fruit because fiber eliminates excess estrogen from your body.
- Eat a diet high in plant-based protein with less dairy, animal protein, and processed meats. If you do consume dairy and meat, make sure they are produced hormone-free. Avoid all processed soy and eat non- GMO, organic fermented soy (miso, natto,tempeh).
- Eat healthy fats rich in Omega-3, such as flax seed oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocados, salmon and other cold water fish. Unhealthy fats increase estrogen production.
- Get plenty of sunshine! Vitamin D is essential for optimal heath. Be sure you have adequate levels.
- Drink at least 8 cups of water daily to prevent dehydration and to flush out toxins.
- Eliminate or at least reduce consumption of refined foods, junk foods, and caffeine—all of which stress the adrenals.
- Eat plenty of Phytoestrogens, which are plants with beneficial hormones that include legumes, beans, sunflower seeds, squash, cherries, papaya, apples, cucumbers, carrots and chick peas.
- Maca, Raw Cacao, Chia Seeds, Hemp seed and iodine rich foods like Chlorella, and sea vegetables are great for achieving hormonal balance.
- Manage stress with daily exercise, adequate sleep and relaxing meditation.
10. Limit exposure to xenestrogens by consuming organic produce as much as possible. Use environmentally-safe cleaners, personal care products, detergents and cosmetics. Reduce consumption of products stored in plastics containing BPA. BPAs mimic estrogen in the body.