A high-stress lifestyle coupled with improper eating habits can wreak havoc on a woman’s delicate hormonal balance. Even healthy women who follow a good diet may find glitches in their hormones. Hormones affect men and women throughout their lives, and keeping hormones balanced should be a health priority. Lets talk about some common hormone imbalance natural treatments that can help us maintain a healthy hormone balance.
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance may include PMS, osteoporosis, weight gain, altered sex drive, allergies, uterine fibroids, urinary tract infections, changes in the skin, fatigue, anxiety, water retention, hair loss, facial hair growth and even depression.
Caution! Overproduction of the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone can have negative effects on men and women, from depression and mood swings to an increased risk for certain diseases, consult your doctor immediately if you have any of the above mentioned symptoms.
What are hormones
“Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes, including :
- Growth and development
- Metabolism – how your body gets energy from the foods you eat
- Sexual function
What causes hormone imbalance
Hormones are produced using good fats and cholesterol, so lack of these important dietary factors can cause hormone problems simply because the body doesn’t have the building blocks to make them. Toxins containing chemicals that mimic these building blocks or that mimic the hormones themselves are also problematic because the body can attempt to create hormones using the wrong building blocks… mutant estrogen anyone?
Hormone imbalance natural treatment
When it comes to health, hormones, and gut bacteria have a much bigger effect than many people realize. In fact, these two factors can destroy health even if everything else (diet, supplements, etc.) is optimized. Conversely, fixing hormones and gut bacteria can do a lot to boost health, even if not all the other factors are optimal. In fact, there are even studies about using certain hormone reactions to heal brain trauma. By keeping hormones in balance, women can find it easier to maintain a healthy weight, keep a regular menstrual cycle, as well as exude optimal energy levels.
Change Your Diet
What you eat and drink has a huge impact on your hormones. In general, maintaining a balanced diet will also help you maintain balanced hormone levels, but there are a few specific dietary changes that can improve your hormone levels even more . Few dietary changes you can make to help balance your hormones and make you feel better:
- Eliminate all artificial sweeteners.
- Include vitamins D, B and CoQ10 in your daily supplements.
- Avoid foods that stress your adrenals (the glands that help you respond to stress), such as alcohol and caffeine.
- As you get older, you may want to avoid dairy and wheat products. “Your body cannot process them, and if your body can’t process them, they create more stress.
- Zinc is known to aid in the production of testosterone. Foods high in zinc include dark chocolate, peanuts, and many meats, including beef, veal, lamb, crab, and oysters.
- Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats create healthy cell membranes, allowing hormones to reach their destinations within the body. Good foods to include are walnuts, eggs, and many types of fish, including sardines, trout, salmon, tuna, and oysters.
- Get more fiber into your diet. High-fiber foods include whole grains, raw fruit, and raw vegetables. Fiber binds itself to old estrogen, clearing it out of the system and leading to better overall balance.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Studies suggest that excessive use of either product can contribute to premenstrual hormonal imbalance.
Eat More Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These fats act to create responsive and healthy cell membranes, allowing hormones to adhere to the cell more easily. Omega-3 fatty acids also aid the body in keeping the cellular receptor sites (where hormones bind) repaired and in optimal condition. Consider eating more foods with omega-3′s or taking 500 mg of a high quality organic oil, such as hempseeds, flaxseeds or olive oil.
Getting a good night’s sleep is the most effective and natural way of increasing growth hormones. If you don’t get eight or seven hours of sleep, eventually it catches up with you. Try sleeping tips if you want, this can single-handedly improve hormones and is even linked to longer life, less chance of disease and optimizing weight.
Try Tofu Shake
Tofu shake, with soy milk and fruits mix about four morning per week can help avoid hormone replacement therapy.
Try herbal teas or coffee with coconut oil
Replace coffee with beneficial herbal teas. If you can’t or won’t cut the coffee, use it as a way to sneak in your beneficial fats by adding 1 tablespoon coconut oil to each cup and blending in the blender to emulsify. It is like a latte but with healthy fats.
Toxins found in pesticides, plastics, household chemicals, and even mattresses can contain hormone disrupting chemicals that mimic hormones in the body and keep the body from producing real hormones. Things like hormonal birth control can (obviously) do the same thing.
If you have hormone imbalance or are struggling to get pregnant, avoiding these toxins is very important! Cook in glass or non-coated metal pans (no non-stick or teflon!) and avoid heating or storing foods in plastic. Find organic produce and meat whenever possible and don’t use chemical pesticides or cleaners.
In a perfect world, we would be rising and sleeping with the sun, getting Vitamin D from the sun and Magnesium from the ocean while relaxing and exercising in great balance each day in a stress-free world. Since we doubt that describes any of us currently, supplements can fill in the gaps:
- Maca- A tuber in the radish family that has a history of boosting hormone production and libido. Many women notice less PMS, increased fertility, and improved skin while men notice increased sperm production, libido, and better sleep. Maca is also high in minerals and essential fatty acids, making it great for hormones. It is available in powder form (least expensive option) or in capsules.
- Magnesium- Magnesium supports hundreds of reactions in the body and often contributes to better sleep (which is great for hormones!). There are several effective forms of Magnesium: In powder form with a product like Natural Calm so that you can vary your dose and work up slowly, ionic liquid form can be added to food and drinks and dose can be worked up slowly,or transdermal form by using Magnesium oil applied to skin. This is often the most effective option for those with damaged digestive tract or severe deficiency.
- Vitamin D- A pre-hormone is supportive of hormone function. Best obtained from the sun if possible, or from a D3 supplement or Fermented Cod Liver Oil.
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil- Provides many of the necessary building blocks for hormone production including Vitamins A, D, and K. It also is a great source of Omega-3s and beneficial fats.
- Gelatin is a great source of calcium, magnesium and phosphate. It supports hormone production and digestive health and helps sooth inflammation, especially in joints. Try gelatin that is sourced from grass-fed, humanely raised cows, and as such is higher in nutrients.
If you have hormone imbalance, intense extended exercise can actually make the problem worse in the short term. So focus on relaxing exercises like walking or swimming and avoid the extended running, cardio, and exercise videos, for now.
Lift Heavy Weights
While extended cardio can be bad, short bursts of heavy lifting (kettlebells, deadlifts, squats, lunges) can be beneficial since they trigger a cascade of beneficial hormone reactions. Aim for a few sets (5-7) at a weight that really challenges you, but make sure to get help with form and training if you haven’t done these before as bad form can be harmful!
Eat Some Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil is amazing for hormone health. It provides the necessary building blocks for hormone production, can assist weight loss, reduce inflammation, and even has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
If you really need hormone help, aim to consume 1/4 cup of added coconut oil a day. My favorite way is to blend into coffee or tea.
Fix Your Leptin
Leptin is a master hormone, and if it is out of balance or if you are resistant to it, no other hormones will balance well. Fixing leptin will also help boost fertility, make weight loss easier, improve sleep, and lower inflammation.
Let the Sunshine In
Giving your body a healthy helping of full spectrum sunlight can help stabilize hormones. Get out and take a walk around the block a couple of times a week. This will help get you the exercise you need, as well as the sunshine your body craves.
Take Herbal Supplements Known to Balance Hormones
Examples include saw palmetto, dandelion, motherwort, wild yam, or blessed thistle. Hemp tree has also been known to effectively balance hormones in the case of PMS, menstrual cramps and breast pain. Chaste Tree Berry has been shown to balance the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Evening primrose oil is very high in essential fatty acids and is particularly indicated for hormonal imbalance related to PMS symptoms. Asian Ginseng is commonly used in Chinese medicine to balance hormone excesses or deficits. Licorice and Black Cohosh have also been shown to raise progesterone levels.
Take a Quality Vitamin/Mineral Supplement
Taking a good quality vitamin and mineral supplement will also help balance your hormones naturally. Make sure it contains vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and the full spectrum of B complex vitamins.
Positive food suggestions for encouraging proper hormone homeostasis
Starting with the thyroid, iodine rich foods such as seaweed (especially kelp), beans, organic cultured yogurt, organic non-sugared cranberry juice or fresh cranberries, unprocessed Himalayan salt, and fresh organic strawberries are among the top choices for iodine to keep your thyroid hormone production high. Of course, there also iodine supplements.
Phytonutrients from cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, kale and cauliflower help the liver do just that. Your liver also needs sulfur compounds found in garlic and onions.
Also avoid processed or hydrogenated oils for cooking and salads. They are used to create margarine as well. Those processed oils are also ubiquitous in processed foods. Use cold-pressed virgin olive or coconut oil, and organically produced real butter instead. Canola oil is actually not so healthy either.
The enormous omega-6 to omega-3 imbalance in processed foods creates inflammation. Increase omega-3 fat intake to create a proper balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids with eggs and fish products as well as ground flax seeds, hemp seeds, and their cold-pressed oils. Chia seeds are another source of omega-3.