8 Ways to Balance Your Hormones Naturally
Produced in the endocrine glands, hormones are your body’s chemical messengers.
They are the powerful chemicals that travel through your bloodstream telling tissues and organs what to do. Hormones help control many of your body’s major processes, including metabolism, reproduction, and growth.
When you have a hormonal imbalance, you either have too much or too little of a certain hormone. Even a minute change in hormones can have serious effects throughout your body.
Numerous culprits can lead to hormonal imbalances but some of the most common causes for it include:
- Injury or trauma
- Cancer and tumors
- Cancer treatments
- Artificial hormone supplements
- Poor diet
- Other disorders and diseases
Balancing your hormones naturally
While hormonal imbalances may require consultation with an endocrinologist or a specialist, you too have the potential to balance your hormones naturally.
The best natural ways to balance your hormones are:
Physical activity plays a very important role in maintaining hormonal health. The best part of working out is that it reduces insulin levels and increases insulin sensitivity.
Insulin is a hormone that has several important functions. However, excess insulin in the body can be quite dangerous.
High insulin levels can cause inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Consistent physical activity can increase insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin levels. Examples are aerobic exercise, strength training, and endurance exercise.
Strength and weight training also help boost levels of muscle-maintaining hormones that decline with age, such as testosterone and growth hormone.
If you are unable to perform vigorous exercise, even regular walking may increase these hormone levels, potentially increasing your strength and improving your quality of life.
Although a combination of resistance and aerobic training seems to provide the best results, engaging in any type of physical activity on a regular basis is beneficial.
Include more protein in your diet
Consuming an adequate amount of protein is extremely important for maintaining hormonal balance.
A high-protein diet provides essential amino acids that your body can't make on its own. Protein must be included in your daily diet in order to maintain muscle mass, bone density, and skin health.
Your protein intake also influences the release of hormones that control appetite, and therefore the amount of food you eat.
Consuming a lot of protein decreases the level of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone,” in your system, and stimulates the production of leptin, a hormone that decreases your appetite.
Increased protein intake also promotes an increase in metabolism and fat burning.
To maintain hormonal health, you need to consume a minimum of 20 grams of protein per meal. You can easily do this by including a serving of foods like eggs, fish, and meat.
Avoid carbs and added sugar
Added sugar and refined carbs have been linked to a number of health problems, one of which is hormonal imbalance.
Regulating your intake of sugars and carbs can help optimize hormone function and reduce the risk of obesity, as well as diabetes and other diseases.
Fructose consumption leads to an increase in insulin levels and promotes insulin resistance (inability to use glucose for energy), especially in overweight and obese people with prediabetes or diabetes.
Fructose is the major component of most types of added sugar. Natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup also have a high fructose content.
Foods that are high in refined carbs, such as white bread and pretzels, promote insulin resistance in a large number of adults and adolescents.
Eating a diet that is based on whole foods, with low or moderate levels of carbohydrates, helps reduce insulin levels. This is important for overweight and obese people with prediabetes or other health conditions linked to insulin resistance, such as polycystic ovary syndrome.
Manage your stress levels
Stress is the main cause of imbalance in your hormones. The two hormones that are primarily affected by stress are cortisol and adrenaline.
Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone" because it helps your body cope with stress over the long term. Adrenaline, on the other hand, is the "fight-or-flight" hormone that provides your body with a surge of energy so that you can respond to immediate danger.
Chronic stress causes cortisol levels to remain elevated, which can lead to excessive calorie intake and obesity, including increased belly fat.
Elevated adrenaline levels can cause high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and anxiety. However, these symptoms are usually fairly short-lived because adrenaline is less likely to become chronically elevated than cortisol.
You can lower your cortisol levels by engaging in stress-reducing practices like meditation, yoga, massage, and listening to relaxing music.
Massage therapy not only helps reduce cortisol levels by an average of 31% but also increases levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin by 28% and the “feel-good” neurotransmitter dopamine by 31%, on average. Try to devote some part of your day to stress-reducing activities.
5. Eat healthy fats
Eating healthy fats is very important for reducing insulin resistance and appetite.
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a type of fat that is taken indirectly by the liver for immediate use as energy. MCTs also help reduce insulin resistance in overweight and obese people, as well as in people with diabetes. MCTs are found in coconut oil, palm oil, and pure MCT oil.
Dairy fats and monounsaturated fat in olive oil and nuts also help increase insulin sensitivity.
Including healthy fats in your meals helps your body release hormones like GLP-1, PYY, and cholecystokinin, which help you feel full and satisfied.
On the other hand, trans fats have been found to promote insulin resistance and increase the storage of belly fat.
Consuming healthy fats at every meal is very important for optimizing hormone health
Drink more green tea
Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages because it contains a lot of antioxidants.
It is also full of metabolism-boosting caffeine and contains an antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG has several health benefits.
Consuming green tea helps increase insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels in both healthy people and those with conditions like obesity and diabetes, which are associated with insulin resistance.
Drinking one to three cups of green tea per day is a very good way to maintain a healthy balance in your hormones.
7. Include fatty fish in your diet
Fatty fish is the best-known source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have excellent anti-inflammatory properties and are known to contribute to hormone balance.
The omega-3s in fatty fish benefit your hormonal health by reducing levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Increasing your intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may reduce insulin resistance, which is related to obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome, and gestational diabetes.
For the greatest health benefit, include two or more servings of fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel, in your diet each week.
8. Be sure to get quality sleep
No matter how nutritious your diet is or how much exercise you get, your health will deteriorate if you don't get enough restful sleep.
Inadequate sleep is one of the major causes of various hormonal imbalances. The hormones affected include insulin, cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, and growth hormone.
It's not only the quantity of sleep you get that matters. The quality of sleep is also important to your health.
Your brain needs uninterrupted sleep that allows it to go through all five stages of the sleep cycle. This is especially important for the release of growth hormone, which mainly occurs at night, during deep sleep.
A minimum of seven hours of high-quality sleep per night is very important for maintaining a proper hormonal balance.
Hormonal imbalances often require a different strategy to strike the perfect balance.
You don’t have to live with the unpleasant symptoms of hormonal imbalances like fatigue, mood disorders, and low sex drive.
At the same time, following the right diet and lifestyle factors along with working with a healthcare professional can help you toward balancing hormones.