By Randi Mann, WHNP-BC, NCMP, APNP
Your well-being relies on a complex balance of many hormones, including testosterone, estrogen, adrenaline, insulin, and thyroid hormone. Each of these plays an important role in supporting your body’s functions, but even a slight imbalance in hormone levels can wreak havoc – often in unexpected ways.
Our hormones often become imbalanced in response to problems within the body. An effective approach addresses any issues that trigger imbalances. This holistic framework restores hormonal balance naturally, without side effects.
A natural approach to hormonal balance involves taking a close look at all facets of your lifestyle. The activities you perform, the attitude you have, and the things you consume all impact hormonal levels.
Here are some proven steps to restore hormonal balance the natural way!
A Mediterranean-style diet, with its emphasis on healthy fats, fresh produce, lean protein, and seafood has been proven to be more effective for hormone regulation than the standard Western diet.
Instead of heavily processed carbs, choose foods high in healthy fats, especially those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, to reduce inflammation and stabilize blood sugar. Good sources of omega-3 include salmon, flaxseeds, cod liver oil, and walnuts.
Avoiding sugar is also an important dietary consideration. Excess sugar consumption disrupts the balance between hormones that control your appetite, ghrelin, and leptin.
It’s not always possible to meet your body’s needs through diet alone. Carefully selected and high-quality nutraceuticals can help ensure your body is receiving what it needs. As always, work with a healthcare practitioner when it comes to making informed supplement choices.
Some effective herbs and nutrients for hormonal balance include:
- Vitamin D: Many people who live in the northern hemisphere experience low levels of vitamin D, which plays an essential role in balancing estrogen and progesterone, as well as helping to stabilize insulin levels.
- Evening primrose oil: This is particularly effective in regulating hormones that contribute to premenstrual or menopausal symptoms.
- Probiotics: A healthy gut is essential for healthy hormone production. Maintain a good balance of bacteria in the gut microbiome by eating fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut, and adding probiotics supplements when needed.
- Ashwagandha: This adaptogenic herb helps control the stress hormone cortisol, as well as maintain insulin levels. It can also boost testosterone production.
- Holy basil: Another adaptogenic herb, holy basil is particularly effective in balancing stress hormones.
Chronic stress impacts hormone production by putting your body into “fight or flight” mode. The elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can then increase cravings for carb-heavy processed foods, triggering a harmful dietary cycle. Estrogen and insulin levels are also affected by stress, which can then throw off the production of other hormones.
Gaining control of stress can help regulate these patterns. Try clearing a few minutes a day specifically for something relaxing, like meditation, yoga, or listening to music. Every little bit of time specifically focused on relaxation will help your health.
If you’re not getting from seven to nine hours of sleep at night, your body’s hormone production can be dysregulated. Sleep is when your body restores itself, a process that affects stress and hormones related to appetite in particular.
If you’re chronically sleep deprived, focus on creating a restful, regular nighttime routine. Sleep in a cool, quiet room and avoid stimulating activities, including time on any electronic devices as you wind down.
Many commonly prescribed medications can have inadvertent side effects when it comes to your hormones, including statins, painkillers, and some anti-depressants. Talk with your pharmacist and us about the risk of any medications you take. Natural alternatives that support hormonal health are often available.
Birth control pills rely on disruptions to your natural hormonal cycles to be effective. However, those disruptions can put women at risk of complications from imbalances, including mood swings, bloating, spotting, and acne. Again, there are many alternatives if you experience bad side effects from birth control pills.
An often-overlooked source of hormone disruption comes from the beauty and body care industry. Many common ingredients in skin care products and makeup contain ingredients such as parabens and phthalates that have been shown to affect levels of certain hormones.
Don’t take any unnecessary risks with artificial hormone therapy. Natural, bioidentical hormone interventions can restore hormonal balance for a healthier you. We can test your hormone levels properly and get you started – just give us a call!
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