Hormonal imbalance is common in most people! Hormones are chemical messengers that affect many aspects of your overall health. Hormones like cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, adrenaline and insulin —are secreted certain glands and organs found in the endocrine system (thyroid, adrenals, pituitary, pancreas etc.)
The endocrine system controls the level of hormones being released and circulating throughout your body. If one hormone or more is slightly imbalanced it causes a ripple effect and affects the ability of all the other hormones. This is why hormonal imbalance can happen so easily!
Signs & Symptoms of Imbalanced Hormones
- fatigue, depression, anxiety
- higher stress levels
- sleeping problems and insomnia
- weight problems (weight loss and weight gain)
- muscle aches/pains
- digestive imbalances
- loss of appetite
- brittle hair and nails
- infertility, low libido & low sex drive
Causes of Imbalanced Hormones
- high stress
- high inflammation in the body
- being overweight or obese
- toxic overload*
- digestive imbalances and food allergies
- improper nutrition
The severity of hormonal imbalance ranges depending on what type of situation you are in. The most common types of hormonal imbalance are estrogen dominance and low estrogen polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hypo and hyper thyroidism, low testosterone, adrenal fatigue and diabetes.
There are symptoms for different the categories of hormonal balance but really they are very similar. Weight gain, slowed metabolism, fatigue, insomnia, higher risk for diabetes, acne, low sex drive, infertility and muscle aches/pains are all symptoms of hormonal imbalance - and since hormones are messengers to each other no wonder the problems associated with each category of hormonal imbalance are so similar.
If you start to work on balancing your hormones naturally, they will all come into synergy together reducing the risk and happening of all these symptoms!
5 Ways to Naturally Balance Your Hormones
1. QUALITY NUTRITION
Having balanced meals with quality ingredients and macro-nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) can promote a perfect environment for hormonal balance. There's no quick fix when it comes to nutrition... fast food, packaged shakes and snacks aren't the best decision when you are working towards fitness/health goals.
These foods are only going to push you further away from your goals and negatively effect your hormone production. Instead of going for pills, packaged foods and products choose WHOLE FOODS. Start simple like adding more plants, nutrient dense superfoods to your meals, choose more colour and within a week or less you will start feeling like a new person! The key is to be consistent and make small nutrition changes on a daily basis that will turn into lifestyle habits.
2. EAT HEALTHY FATS
Fat (and other nutrients like cholesterol) is the basic building blocks of our hormones.
Fat is made up of fatty acids, your body needs short, medium and long-chain fatty acids to keep all of your hormones in balance. Don't be intimidated by fat! Healthy fats help our body burn fat, reduce inflammation and contribute to the production and balance of your hormones. If you aren't consuming enough fat or the right fat, your hormones will be weakly produced and you can start to experience symptoms like decreased energy levels, slow metabolism and fat gain.
The fat that is found in most savoury snacks and fast food is not the healthy kind of fat - this is the fat you should be avoiding/or eating in moderation. This type of fat is usually processed, toxic and can only do damage to our hormones, organs and body. We don't want to use the toxic fat to create our hormones, we want the healthy nutritious kind!
CLEAN sources of healthy fats: coconut and olive oil, avocado, nuts, hemp hearts and chia seeds, organic fish and organic butter.
3. EXERCISE, REST & DE-STRESS
Exercise is ideal for anyone working towards hormonal balance because it help's maintain a healthy weight, lowers stress, helps regulate appetite, and helps you get a much better sleep! Whether it's weight training, cardio or cross fit - you are producing hormones like endorphins which supports and contributes to the regulation & production of all our other hormones. Not to mention exercise also builds your immune system, allow your cells to take in more glucose (which lowers insulin), makes you feel vitalized, and keeps you more alert and awake!
Although there can come a point and time when TOO MUCH exercise can actually trigger imbalance. They key is moderation! Don't overtrain yourself to the point of complete exhaustion - this will exhaust your hormones too making stress worse. Take the REST when you need to, at least 7 hours every night to ensure your body get rest and re-balance itself for the day ahead.
4. DECREASE / ELIMINATE TOXIC EXPOSURE
One of the biggest contributors to hormonal balance is toxic products, food and overall exposure. Now this list could go on for as long as this entire blog post - since it seems we have developed la toxic society and everything is made up of chemicals! But a few items that you can start to reduce or eliminate out of your daily routine to decrease toxic exposure would be makeup, hair and body products (choose cleaner/natural based), plastic bottles and containers, teflon and ceramic cooking pans. These products our foreign and toxic to our body which can damage hormone production. Some of the chemicals found in these products actually MIMIC hormones and can alter our own, how freaky is that?
Reduce your toxic exposure as much as you can, drink filtered water, choose natural makeup/skin care products and use glass not plastic!
Check out the Environmental Working Group who has ratings on thousands of chemical products.
5. SUPPLEMENTATION IF NEEDED
There are several supplements on the market for hormonal balance BUT for something a little more simple, natural and pure I want to recommend a few of my favorite herbs that contribute to hormonal balance and why they do!
Herbs have several different categories, adaptogenic herbs help the body deal with stress, promote hormonal balance as well as boosts the immune system and protects our cells. Research has shown that certain herbs can improve thyroid function, support adrenal gland function, reduce anxiety and depression, naturally lower cholesterol - the list can keep going on!!
Luckily herbs have become very popular and you can find a wide variety at health food stores. I would suggest to do some research about adaptogenic herbs because it truly is fascinating!
What would you guys think about a herbal blog post? Comment below!
The herbs I have in my supplement shelf.. or should I say supplement storage bin haha I like to use when I am feeling very stressed or slightly out of balance/not how I usually feel.
- Holy Basil
Certain natural supplements can be used for hormonal balance, I would recommend talking to your health care practitioner or if you need more information about supplementation please feel free to email myself since I am a nutritionist & product specialist and can give recommendations.
If you liked this post, please head too www.birdofbalance.com for my friends amazing wellness blog!