Hormone balance is something that concerns women of all ages. From hair loss to irritability, fatigue, and more, hormonal imbalance can be an underlying cause of many kinds of ailments. The good news is that there is an equally varied selection of natural remedies to combat it with. If you’re interested in balancing your hormones naturally, check out these ideas below.
Statistics from Steady Health report that almost 80% of women suffer from some kind of hormonal imbalance. There are many different possible causes of hormonal imbalance, ranging from diseases such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, stress, injury or trauma, and more. Narrowing down the cause depends on which hormones and glands are impacted in the body, and require diagnostic review, like blood tests.
For many people, small and simple lifestyle changes can help restore proper hormone levels. A diet of whole, unprocessed foods and regular exercise may improve your hormonal health and help you feel your best. Here are some ways to naturally balance your hormones.
Protein is Power
Meeting your daily protein intake applies to much more than building muscle or supplementing a plant-based diet. Protein provides essential amino acids that your body can’t produce itself, as well as protein-derived hormones called peptide hormones.
The endocrine glands create peptide hormones from amino acids and function to regulate many physiological processes, such as growth, energy, metabolism, appetite, stress, and reproduction.
Find a Form of Exercise You Love
Not a runner? Then don’t run! Hate swimming? Then ditch the pool! There are plenty of different forms of exercise to explore to find what suits you best, and it's also a great way to balance your hormones.
Regular exercise increases hormone receptor sensitivity, meaning that it boosts the delivery of nutrients and hormone function. Research finds that exercise can help boost levels of muscle-maintaining hormones that decline as we age, such as testosterone, IGF-1, DHEA, and human growth hormone.
Ditch the Scale, but Watch Your Weight
Weight gain is directly associated with several different hormonal imbalances.
Research from the National Library of Medicine has found that obesity can cause hypogonadism, which results in a reduction or absence of hormone secretion from the testes and ovaries. Studies support weight loss may as a remedy to this condition, so in addition to finding that sweet spot with exercise, you may also want to consult a physician or dietitian to nail down the right caloric range you should be eating in for your body type.
Trust Your Gut—and Take Care of It
For example, two short-chain fatty acids that your gut produces, acetate and butyrate, aid in weight management by boosting calorie burning and regulating feelings of fullness with hormones GLP-1 and PYY.
Eating lots of fruits, veggies, legumes, beans, whole grains, fermented foods, prebiotics, and probiotics are all great ways to nurture your gut health.
Easy on the Sugar
We all have the moments where we cave and submit to our sweet tooth—and that’s okay, once in a while. However, research from the National Library of Medicine has found that excess fructose intake can disrupt the gut microbiome, resulting in hormonal imbalances.
Reducing your consumption of sugary drinks is the biggest thing you can do to help decrease your fructose intake. Try to swap processed candies and sweets with natural sugars, like strawberries and other fruits.
More Peace, Less Stress
Stress can be used as a tool to spur us forward and get things done, but an excess of stress can be harmful, and even through our hormones out of whack.
The hormone cortisol helps your body cope with long-term stress, but chronic stress can dysregulate your hormonal systems and impair them from returning to normal once the stressor has passed. This elevation in cortisol can lead to increased appetite and insulin resistance.
So how to kick the stress out for good? There are plenty of options! Yoga, breathing techniques, walks in nature, a hot bath, and listening to relaxing music are just a few of possible ways you can take your mind off the stress and calm your nervous system.
Healthy Fats are Your Friend
High-quality natural fats can help to prevent insulin resistance and appetite. The National Library of Medicine has found that omega-3s, in particular, can reduce inflammation, nourish your gut microbiome, and prevent cortisol levels from increasing during chronic stress.
Where to find these hormone balancing healthy fats? Foods like avocados, almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, fatty fish, olive and coconut oils, and even pure MCT oil are all great sources.
Fix Your Dang Sleep Schedule
So you’ve taken up yoga, cut back on the sugar, and started taking probiotics. Great. But those things won’t be enough if you don’t get consistent, quality sleep every night.
Research has linked poor sleep to imbalances in hormones like insulin, cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, HGH, and more. Poor sleep can also interrupt the release of growth hormones, which occurs during deep sleep.
Thankfully, there are plenty of tips and tricks to try when smoothing out your sleep schedule. Consistent bedtimes and wake up times, melatonin supplements, calming chamomile tea, and upgrading to a more supportive mattress are all methods to try. If you’re really in a sleep funk, consulting with a somnologist (a sleep physician), can also be considered.
Up Your Fiber Intake
Fiber isn’t just for healthy bathroom habits. Your gut microbiome actually ferments soluble fiber in your colon, which produces SCFAs to stimulate the release of the fullness hormones, PYY and GLP-1.
Incorporating more full-fiber foods into your diet can help boost hormone balance, so look out for pears, strawberries, avocados, apples, raspberries, bananas, carrots, beats, broccoli, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, lentils, legumes, quinoa, oats, almonds, chia seeds, sweet potatoes, and even dark chocolate.
Balancing your hormones doesn’t have to be a stressful tightrope walk. There are plenty of natural ways to balance your hormones, so take change of your health today!