Hormones are the chemicals we know that control our growth, emotions, sleep patterns, stress and anxiety levels, and other bodily functions. Their excess or lack of them may cause problems in your health and lifestyle. We hear of various hormonal imbalance issues causing weight gain or loss, hair fall, menstrual problems, PCOS, ovarian cysts, and other lifestyle issues.
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance include:
- Mood swings.
- Reduced sex drive.
- Thinning hair or hair fall.
- Skin dryness.
- Lower blood sugar.
- Irregular or delayed menstrual cycle.
- Sudden weight gain or loss.
- Night sweats.
- Clitoris enlargement.
- Increased temperature sensitivity.
- Irregular bowel movements or urination.
We shall explore some methods with which we can alter our lifestyle and prevent hormonal imbalance, including simple things we can do from home.
Natural ways to Balance Hormones
This cannot be stressed upon lesser in any kind of lifestyle-related disease, regular and consistent sleep is a must for hormonal balance as well. Inconsistent sleep may cause insulin imbalance, which can lead to or worsen already existing diabetes. Further, not experiencing the five cycles of sleep can impact the growth hormone negatively.
The hormone levels that are normally maintained by the body during the day are also affected by sleep deprivation. The irregular rise and low of these are known to cause the grumpiness and moodiness that we experience. Even a loss of appetite may be experienced due to lack of sleep, leading to further health complications. Hence, a night of sound sleep is a must for better health.
Even with lower levels of stress our endocrine system responds in its functioning. Obesity, mood swings, and cardiovascular problems may result due to increased stress. This is caused by the excess production of adrenaline and cortisol, which is triggered by stress.
You can do simple things like listening to music, watching the sea waves, watching a pretty sunset view, mild exercise, singing, dancing, and various other forms of activities that bring you relaxation to reduce your stress. Even regular meditation once or twice a day can bring remarkable changes in your stress levels and therefore your lifestyle, leading to better hormonal balance.
Exercise has multiple benefits. It keeps you in shape and prevents you from getting overweight, which contributes to better hormonal balance. It regulates your metabolism, and also maintains a healthy appetite, preventing you from overeating. Working out will also regulate your blood flow, therefore activating your muscles and hormone receptors, and causing nutrients to be delivered effectively to your body.
The reaction of insulin to sugar is also improved by exercise causing your body sugar to be normal, and the present sugar to be utilized effectively to give you energy. The production decline of testosterone, growth hormone and a few others caused by age reduces if you exercise regularly. So you will have a healthier supply of these as you get older, and have better muscle health. For older people with weaker joints and bones, swimming can be taken up as an exercise that doesn’t impact their joints.
Few dietary tips help maintain hormonal balance, and general too.
Healthy fats that are mainly unsaturated can cause a major boost to your health, give you great energy, improve your skin and stomach health, and also lead to a healthier hormonal balance. The best healthy fats are in avocados, ghee, and different nuts that contain protein. Mainly saturated fats and Trans Fats, of which Trans Fats are the worst, lead to unhealthy weight gain. Trans Fats are mainly indigestible by the body. They are created by heavy processing of food items, re-used oil, and chemical additives reacting with food. These may disrupt the hormonal balance, lead you to feel lethargic, and gain weight, which also counteracts your body’s healthy hormonal system.
Fiber impacts your gut health positively, ensuring you pass out the toxins and waste effectively. It also regulates insulin and a few other hormones that help you stay fit.
Omega – 3 is contained in fish, mainly oily fish. These boost your health and keep your hormones in check. The rich nutrients in these fish help your brain and nervous system, giving them better control over your hormone regulation. Some studies even indicate that it could help uplift your mood and lower anxiety.
Green tea contains antioxidants and certain properties that affect your metabolic health positively. It can de-stress you, regulate insulin levels and various other hormones that contribute to better health. The caffeine may increase your alertness and its theanine content leads to reduced stress and better concentration.
Quit or reduce Smoking:
Quit smoking or reduce significantly to see better hormonal balance. Tobacco disrupts hormonal balance for various hormones. It may also cause a rise in the hormone that produces stress.
Excess alcohol consumption is found to reduce testosterone levels and sperm quality. This can lead to various issues in men. Even for females, it is advised not to binge drink very often as it leads to other issues linked with digestion and weight gain, which can cause hormonal misbalance as well.
It is advised to limit or eliminate alcohol consumption to have better hormonal balance and a reduction in stress and anxiety.
While reduced alcohol consumption is one of the major steps to better liver health, some other foods can be included in the diet to benefit. Strawberries, oranges, turmeric, and any other foods containing Vitamin – C can be consumed to promote better liver health. Red meat, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, and Brussel Sprouts contain nutrients that aid the liver in functioning.
The liver breaks down and throws out extra estrogen present in the body, and hence its health is vital to maintain hormonal balance.
Magnesium is contained in foods like chia, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, and dark-colored leafy greens. Various lentils, black beans, and chickpeas are also magnesium-rich. Dark chocolate is also one of our best friends when it comes to magnesium content, and could be consumed in moderation.
Vitamin – B:
Foods like salmon, kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce contain many forms of Vitamin – B. Bring on the Caesar salad for better hormonal balance! Foods like nutritional yeast can be a good source as well, especially for vegans. Sunflower seeds and meats like beef, chicken, oysters, clams, liver, yogurt, beans, and milk contain healthy amounts of Vitamin – B. Even ghee is a great source of Vitamin – B, and enriching nutrients and unsaturated fats.
Vitamin – D3:
This vitamin goes hand-in-hand with healthy fats and deserves a lot of credit for hormonal and general health. Wake up early and soak in some sun to get a healthy dose of Vitamin – D. After all, a healthy routine will also contribute to your hormonal levels being balanced aside from the additional boost by the sun.
Vitamin – D is fat-soluble, and hence it is vital to keep healthy fats in your diet to ensure absorption by the body. You could consume supplements along with fish oil, but the best way to incorporate it is through diet and sunlight.
Some of the other methods that will require medical consultation are:
- Birth control pills.
- Hormone replacement and anti-androgen medication.
- Estrogen creams.
- Natural hormone supplements.
What we can understand:
Like any other lifestyle-related disease, hormonal imbalance takes a toll on several people’s health. The root cause of most problems can be seen in our day-to-day lives, and some basic changes in our lifestyle, that are considered centuries-old wisdom can positively impact our bodies.
Whether you choose to follow the Mediterranean diet or simply improve your eating habits with whatever is available around you, it can go a long way to rectify your body’s hormonal misbalance. This will lead you to lead a more stable life, and possibly boost mental health as well since misbalanced hormones cause depression and anxiety. Your relationships can benefit if your body is in balance, as you will feel happy and comfortable sharing your emotions with loved ones, and intimacy with a partner will not suffer due to hormonal issues.
If we manage to balance out our lifestyles and routines our bodies appear to conduct the balancing act of their internals flawlessly! After all, being in sync with Mother Nature is important and we originate from her and are governed by her principles regardless of how far ahead civilization develops in industrial and technological fields.