Keeping your hormones balanced is crucial for your body to stay in optimum health. They’re the chemical messengers that regulate most — if not, all — process happening inside your body. When your hormone levels get out of balance, even just the tiniest bit, it can cause havoc not just to your emotions, but your overall health and well-being. In fact, doctors have linked hormone imbalance as a factor in many serious health conditions like type II diabetes, infertility, and even certain types of cancer. So here are some ways to fight hormone imbalance naturally.
What causes hormone imbalance?
The scary part of hormone imbalance is that this could happen to anyone at any time. Here are some of the reasons why your hormones can get off balance.
There’s now a growing amount of studies showing that having digestive problems can cause hormone imbalance.
According to the American Journal of Pathology, chronic digestive problems like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and food allergies can cause an increase in stress hormone levels in your body, resulting in hormone imbalance.
If you’ve been pulling several all-nighters to prepare for an upcoming exam or to complete a project for work, you’re actually putting yourself at risk of suffering from hormone imbalance. That because hormones work on a schedule.
Your hormones work on a schedule. When you stay up late, or don’t sleep at all, you’re forcing your body to produce more hormones — particularly stress hormones and adrenaline — to keep you going. The more frequent this happens, the more you’re causing your body’s hormone levels to get off balance.
Health experts agree that stress is one of the top contributors to hormone imbalance because it causes your body to release high amounts of cortisol in your blood stream. Different glands and organs that make up your body’s endocrine system are connected to each other. This, combined with the stress you get from the dealings of everyday life, can trigger the other glands to either produce too much or too little amounts of hormones in the body.
In moderate doses, caffeine is actually a good thing because it helps you stay alerted and energized. It can help reduce the risk of type II diabetes. But, as they say, too much of a good thing is bad. When you take in massive quantities of caffeine throughout the day, it will not only give you the jitters, but it can also significantly affect the way how your brain produces hormones.
Just like caffeine, alcohol in moderate quantities can be good for the body. But too much alcohol can lead to hormone imbalance. In fact, studies show that drinking too much alcohol can cause estrogen levels to spike up among women. This, in turn, affects the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin hormones, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
Natural remedies to treat hormone imbalance
If you’re suffering from hormone imbalance, chances are you’ll be prescribed hormone replacement drugs to get them back to normal levels. While these can be effective, the downside of treatments involving synthetic hormones is that they’re not only expensive, but they can cause adverse side effects, including increasing your chances of suffering from heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and even breast cancer.
A cheaper and safer way to treat hormone imbalance is doing it the natural way. Here are 10 natural ways how to restore your body’s hormone balance starting today.
Eat more foods rich in healthy fats
Healthy fats, like saturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, are the essential building blocks of hormones. Make sure to include foods rich in these kinds of healthy fats in your diet so that you can be sure that your body keeps a steady supply to use to produce hormones at the right levels.
Coconut oil, avocados, butter, salmon, flaxseeds, and kale are excellent sources of these healthy fats.
Avoid foods cooked in vegetable oil or those that contain margarine and shortening. Although these foods are rich in fat, these are the wrong kinds of fat that can cause inflammation and even worsen hormone imbalance.
Supplement with adaptogen herbs
Adaptogens are a special breed of herbs that have been found to possess a lot of health benefits. One of these is helping to promote hormone balance. Other health benefits you get from adaptogen herb supplements include reducing stress levels, lowering LDL cholesterol, stabilizing your body’s blood sugar levels, boosting your body’s immune system, and slows down brain cell degeneration.
Ginseng, holy basil, ashwagandha, and jiao-Gulan are some of the favorite kinds of adaptogen herbs that are fast becoming widely available.
Keep your gut healthy
Another way to treat hormone imbalance naturally is to make sure that your gut is healthy. Avoid processed foods as well as those that are rich in gluten, hydrogenated oils, and refined sugar because these can damage your digestive tract.
If you’ve been suffering from leaky gut syndrome or other kinds of digestive problems, it could also be because you don’t have enough probiotics in your gut. Foods like kefir and fermented vegetables contain healthy doses of probiotics that can help repair the lining of your digestive tract and keep it healthy.
Doing a 20-minute cardio workout three times a week can help restore balance to your hormone levels by helping you reduce stress, keep a healthy weight, sleep better, and improve your body’s metabolism. Just be careful not to overdo it since this can be stressful to your body, making this counterintuitive as far as treating hormone imbalance is concerned.
Get enough sleep
Believe it or not, a lot of the body processes that keep you healthy happen while you’re sleeping. This is when your body repairs and heals itself while flushing out toxins and excess hormones.
Keep a regular schedule when you sleep and wake up, even on the weekends. This will help restore your body’s hormone cycle. Avoid artificial light as much as possible. If you work on your computer at night, install a program like F.lux to your computer. This is a free program that gradually reduces the amount of blue light emitted by your computer screen. Not only does this help you sleep better, but it also helps protect your eyes.
Watch your caffeine and alcohol intake
Since caffeine stays in your body for 6 hours, try to cut back on your coffee intake to two cups a day. Better yet, try switching to green tea. It’s got a lower caffeine content than coffee and also rich in antioxidants and other health benefits.
The same applies when it comes to alcohol. Try to limit yourself to no more than 2 glasses a day, even if you’re out with your friends during the weekend. This will help restore the balance of your hormone levels and still allow you to enjoy these guilty pleasures.
Give yourself some “me” time
Purposely schedule yourself time to relax and unwind every day. Talk a leisurely walk around the park or curl up with a good book. This will help reduce your stress levels, which will help you deal with hormonal imbalance. Giving yourself permission to relax will also help you feel better about yourself, and not make you feel that you’re just letting life pass you by.
Increase your dose of vitamin D
Vitamin D is not only good to keep your bones healthy. Studies show that vitamin D acts like a hormone in your body preventing you from suffering depression and other health and mental problems associated with hormone imbalance.
Exposing yourself to sunlight 30 minutes every morning can help your body produce enough vitamin D to keep it healthy and your hormone levels in check. If you live in countries where you experience longer nights during the winter, make sure to take vitamin D supplements during this period.
Meditating 10-15 minutes everyday helps lower stress hormone levels in the body. At the same time, it promotes the production of DHEA, which is one of the building blocks needed to produce hormones.
By making these simple changes to your lifestyle, you can feel the difference in your body. Some people experience more quickly than others, so if you’re not feeling any different, be patient and keep at it.
Of course, there are some hormone imbalance conditions like type II diabetes and hypothyroidism where you may need to combine synthetic hormone treatments, so be sure to first talk to your doctor about this.