WHAT EXACTLY ARE HORMONES?
Hormones are simply chemical messengers that work by travelling in the bloodstream and delivering messages to different cells and organs to regulate their activity. They play a powerful role in our mood, energy and stress levels, metabolism, sleep, reproductive function and a ton of other bodily functions.
WHAT CAUSES HORMONAL IMBALANCES?
Hormone imbalance can be triggered by one or more of the following:
- poor diet, food allergies/intolerances, nutrient deficiencies
- sluggish liver
- dysbiosis (poor balance of good:bad intestinal bacteria; candida, etc.)
- environmental toxins from various plastics and compounds (BPA, PCBs, dioxin, parabens, pesticides, pthalates), heavy metals, smoking
- Birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, certain pharmaceuticals
- lack of exercise
- poor sleep
HOW TO BALANCE YOUR HORMONES NATURALLY
1. REDUCE STRESS
Adrenal glands are a big part of our hormonal ecosystem, and chronic stress can lead to adrenal fatigue which means reduced immune function, imbalanced sex hormone levels, and increased inflammation. It’s important to promote the relaxation response several times a day if you’re under stress, so make it a priority.
2. GET PROPER SLEEP
Sleep is when we regenerate, heal, and reduce inflammation, and supporting a healthy circadian rhythm is essential for happy hormone balance, adrenal support, and for the endocrine system to properly operate.
3. AVOID ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS
Many products in our everyday lives can contain what are known as xenoestrogens. These are man-made chemicals that mimic and act like natural estrogen in the body which can lead to a plethora of women’s health conditions such as estrogen dominance. Some very common xenoestrogens are one’s you’ve likely heard of before: BPA, PCBs, parabens, pesticides, and phthalates to name a few.
Exercise reduces stress, helps us maintain a healthy weight, and promotes restful sleep. It also supports healthy mood and mental health and immune function! But remember that vigorous exercise is an added stressor on the body, so don’t overdo it if you have an existing health condition. Start slow and simple with daily brisk walks.
5. EAT MORE CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES
Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, kale, and brussels sprouts contain a compound called indol-3-carbinol (I3C) that helps support estrogen metabolism and removing excess estrogen metabolites. This is also good news for helping to reduce the risk of estrogen-related cancers.
6. EAT MORE HEALTHY FATS
Our bodies require different types of fats to manufacture hormones, including saturated fat and cholesterol. Not only are healthy fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they support healthy weight and metabolism, cognition function, heart health, and can help reduce inflammation.
7. REDUCE CAFFEINE
If you’re a big coffee lover… I’m sorry! But this point is important. Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant that can be hard on our adrenal glands (these glands are responsible for our stress response) and can disrupt sleep. Two things that are majorly important for hormone health.
If you’re want to support your hormones, consider reducing your consumption of highly caffeinated beverages and try herbal tea instead.