Natural Ways To Balance Hormones
The human endocrine system consists of glands that produce chemicals known as hormones, which control several bodily functions. They travel through the bloodstream to our tissues and organs. Hormones are responsible for regulating some major biological functions: body temperature, the reproductive cycle, growth, mood, sleep, stress level, etc. Even a slight imbalance can lead to several adverse health effects.
Drastic, unhealthy changes in our lifestyle can quickly trigger these imbalances, which have become increasingly common. While medical treatment is always an option for extreme cases, there are several practices we can incorporate into our daily schedules to avoid or treat hormonal imbalances naturally.
Following are a few simple things you can do to maintain hormone balance:
Get enough sleep
The human body needs an adequate amount of sleep to function properly. Not getting enough sleep can be a huge factor in hormonal imbalance because it increases the level of hunger- and stress-related hormones while contributing to a reduction in growth-related hormones.
Therefore, prioritizing quality sleep is of vital importance.
Hormonal imbalance is not always triggered by factors within the body. Sometimes external factors like stress can play a huge role, too, by disrupting the optimal level of adrenaline and cortisol.
Prolonged periods of stress can negatively impact your health by making you prone to weight gain, high blood pressure, or panic attacks. Stress can harm your mental health by making you depressed. This is why it’s so important to maintain a positive mental state. Participating in stress-relieving activities like yoga or meditation, listening to music, or getting a relaxing massage will help you calm down and relax.
Staying active and physically fit can regulate your energy level and mood to a great extent. Physical activity influences hormonal health; exercising regularly reduces insulin levels and increases sensitivity.
Insulin is a hormone with various important functions. High levels can cause heart-related ailments, diabetes, cancer, and inflammation. Any form of workout – aerobics, strength training, playing a sport, running, etc. – affects your hormone levels in a way that not only prevents the occurrence of disease and protects muscle mass but slows down the process of aging considerably.
Watch your diet
Eating a healthy, nutritious diet plays an essential part in correcting a hormonal imbalance in your body. In addition to making good food choices, you should know when to draw the line and not indulge in overeating. Undereating through strict dieting is not beneficial, either.
People tend to undereat in order to lose weight quickly, but they may not realize that weight loss through forced starvation often does more harm to the body than good.
Here’s what you need to know about incorporating a healthy, balanced diet into your daily routine:
- Consume food that contains protein and healthy fats
Since your body cannot produce the amino acids that are essential for maintaining the health of bones, skin, and muscles on its own, you should make sure you eat enough protein. Protein decreases the level of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin while stimulating the production of hormones that make you feel full. This is how proteins help control appetite and food intake by influencing hormones.
Healthy fats should also be part of your diet because they help reduce insulin resistance and appetite. They may also help lower inflammation, boost your metabolism, and keep your weight in check.
- Try to avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates
Health experts have linked sugar and refined carbs to various health problems. Minimizing or eliminating these foods from your diet will positively influence your hormone levels, helping you avoid diseases like diabetes and obesity.
- Eat food that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Add fatty fish to your diet, since they have anti-inflammatory properties. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids will help your body lower its levels of epinephrine and cortisol while increasing insulin sensitivity.
- Drink green tea
Green tea is a natural antioxidant, and it contains caffeine, which boosts the metabolism. According to popular research, consuming green tea helps increase insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels in people with a healthy weight, as well as in people who are obese.
- Eat nutritious food that contains fiber
A well-balanced, healthy diet should also include fiber-rich foods. High fiber consumption helps stimulate insulin sensitivity and decrease the level of ghrelin in the body.
- Consider supplements
There are a a few natural supplements that will help bring balance to hormone production. Some of them are:
- Magnesium and B6 – Consuming these nutrients together can help reduce stress and relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
- Zinc – Women who haven’t hit menopause can take zinc supplements to lift their mood and enhance their brain function to some extent.
- Maca – Powdered maca root can be taken by people who deal with anxiety, sexual dysfunction, or low libido. In some cases, maca has proved to be effective for both men and women who are dealing with fertility issues.
- Probiotics – Doctors recommend taking probiotics to improve gut health or enhance mood.
- Vitamin C – This vitamin can be beneficial to people who are dealing with stress- and anxiety-related issues. Vitamin C supplement is also taken by women who want to boost their fertility.
Turmeric, ginseng, and ashwagandha belong to a group of herbs that help alleviate stress and regulate hormones in the body. Adaptogens also help stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels, improve mood, and support the function of the adrenal and thyroid glands.
- Portion control
When a person either indulges in overeating or avoids food to the extent of undereating, the body undergoes hormonal shifts. Following an abnormal eating pattern on a regular basis will not only lead to metabolism issues in the long run but also cause problems that result from an abrupt, short-term change in pattern. This eventually increases stress, changes the circulating levels of fats, and leads to an increase in fat cells called ceramides in the skin.
"Our hormones like healthy fats, like olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, as well as ample fiber from fruits and vegetables and quality proteins like eggs, fish and meat. Eating a diet high in fiber can help clear excess hormones from the body," says Melissa Groves Azzaro, RDN, LD, PCOS, hormone, and fertility dietitian at Avocado Grove Nutrition.
Reduce your alcohol intake
pAccording to some health experts, consuming alcohol may lead to the disruption of optimal hormone levels in young men. They noted that regular alcohol intake affects the overall quality of sperm and causes changes in the levels of testosterone. Therefore, men who are already dealing with hormonal issues should either limit or completely stop their consumption of alcohol.
Tobacco smoke is known to disrupt hormone levels. Doctors say that it may not only alter the thyroid hormone level but also stimulate pituitary hormones. Contrary to popular opinion, smoking doesn’t help get rid of anxiety but actually raises the level of cortisol in your system, resulting in increased stress and mental discomfort.
The human endocrine system is quite complex. Hormone levels affect various aspects of our health, and an imbalance can increase the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and obesity.
By making significant lifestyle changes, we can avoid imbalance naturally and lead a healthy life.