How to Balance Hormones Safely and Naturally
Hormone imbalances are extremely common, yet they often remain undiagnosed, which is a shame because they can negatively impact virtually every aspect of a person’s health and wellbeing. If you have unexplainable symptoms such as fatigue, mood swings, irritability, depression, sexual issues, headaches, weight gain (especially around the midsection), cravings, or insomnia, you should have your hormone levels measured. If imbalances are identified, the following 7 steps can help to restore hormonal balance, shave years off your appearance, and dramatically increase your health and longevity.
Modify Your Diet
Consume a nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich, plant-based diet. Make sure you include a wide-range of brightly colored fruits and veggies because different colors tend to signify the presence of different nutrients. Consume a high-fiber diet and aim to consume at least 12 servings of vegetables daily. You lose nutrients when you cook your food, so try to consume a high percentage of raw foods. Eliminate or vastly reduce sugar, refined flour, vegetables oils, packaged foods, fried foods, and artificial sweeteners because they trigger inflammation which can interfere with the absorption of nutrients required for hormonal health. Also, eliminate all animal products — not only are they highly inflammatory, they are also a major cause of estrogen dominance.
Enhance Nutrient Absorption
According to the USDA, we’ve lost about 60 of the nutrients in our soil over the past 50 years, so nutrient deficiencies can exist even on a well-balanced diet. Have yourself tested for the most common nutrient deficiencies yearly, and if any are identified work alongside a nutritionist to reverse them. Also, include a wide range of nutrient-rich superfoods in your daily diet, such as: cruciferous and deep green leafy veggies; berries, walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, sea vegetables, fermented foods, spices and herbs. Finally, food sensitivities can contribute to nutrient deficiencies and they often coincide with hormone imbalances. If you suffer from symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, depression, or insomnia, that have an unidentifiable cause, consider following a 14-day elimination diet to identify possible food sensitivities.
Increase Gut Microflora
Microbes in the body are responsible not only for immunity but also for proper nutrient absorption and for endocrine system (the collection of glands that produce hormones) health. Antibiotic use, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, antibacterial products, unfiltered water, processed foods, and herbicide and pesticide sprayed foods, are all examples of things that kill healthy gut bacteria. Fortunately, you can restore a healthy balance by probiotic-rich foods, such as: kimchi, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut, miso soup, microalgae, kombucha tea, and pickled vegetables.
Getting enough high quality sleep is essential for hormonal health. To enhance sleep quality, make sure you go to bed and wake-up at the same time every day and try to fall asleep as early as possible (our natural biorhythm dictates that we fall asleep with the sunset). Sleep in a cool, dark, silent room, and keep all electronics outside of the bedroom. If possible, don’t partake in any vigorous exercise within 3 hours of bedtime and avoid consuming spicy foods and fluids before going to sleep. Finally, eliminate caffeine, or in the very least don’t consume caffeine past lunchtime because it takes 5 hours just to clear of the caffeine that you consume out of your body.
Practice Deep Breathing
Most of us breath shallowly, but for optimum oxygen intake and hormonal health we should be breathing with our bellies. Practicing conscious, deep breathing for 8 to 10 minutes every day can help retrain your body to breath more fully. To do so, feel the air you inhale expand your ribcage, and allow it to move down to your belly. When you can take in no more air, hold your breath for 10 seconds and slowly exhale, starting from your stomach and working your way up, and repeat the cycle 10 times. This will help lower stress hormones, and increase human growth hormone, and also promote overall hormonal health by reducing unhealthy food cravings, improving sleep, increasing pH, and promoting detoxification.
Lose Excess Body Weight
Hormone imbalances can cause weight gain and excess body weight can cause hormone imbalances — it’s a vicious cycle that can be hard to break. The dietary, sleep and deep breathing advice mentioned above will help to increase the hunger suppressing hormone leptin and decrease the hunger increasing hormone ghrelin, which will make weight loss come more effortlessly. You can also lower ghrelin by partaking in interval training, high intensity exercises, and early morning workouts. Finally, if you have a lot of excess belly fat that is seemingly impossible to lose, then estrogen dominance may be to blame and nutraceutical supplements such as Estro-Block can help by clearing excess estrogens from the body: http://estroblock.com/.
All of the above steps will help to promote detoxification but you can further enhance the process by consuming at least 10 glasses of purified water daily. Also, actively reduce your exposure to toxins by avoiding cigarette smoke, using an air purifier, removing silver-mercury fillings, keeping your cell phone away from your body when it’s not in use, and using organic cleaning and personal care products. Additional ways to promote detoxification include: massage therapy, acupuncture, saunas, grounding, yoga, meditation, rebounding and any type of exercise that gets the blood flowing and helps you break a sweat. Augment the above with a liver supporting supplement such as Liv-D-Tox (http://www.delgadonaturals.com/liv-d-tox/), and in a few months’ time you’ll be rewarded with a newfound sense of mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.