It’s our hormones working together that regulate how our body works, so it’s crucial to maintain hormonal balance.
When our hormones are out of whack, we can experience acne, rosacea, hair loss, low libido, digestive issues, migraine or other headaches, insomnia, unexplained weight gain or loss, mood swings, anxiety, depression, irregular periods, infertility and much more.
So how do our hormones get out of balance? Causes vary but can include poor diet and nutritional deficiencies, food allergies and gut issues, being overweight, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, lack of sleep, hypothyroidism, impaired liver function and exposure to xeno-estrogens (chemicals that mimic the effect of estrogens).
Here are some natural ways to support hormonal balance.
1. Eat healthy foods
Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables as well as raw nuts and seeds. Stay away from processed carbohydrates, soft drinks, enriched flour, fried foods and processed vegetable oil and soy products.
Some foods especially good for hormone health include quinoa, egg yolks, salmon, almonds and broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables.
2. Include healthy fats
Add coconut oil, grass-fed butter, avocados and wild-caught salmon to your diet. All are healthy fats that are anti-inflammatory.
3. Add healing spices and herbs to your diet
Some spices and herbs that can help keep hormones in balance (and taste good) include cayenne, cinnamon, cumin, garlic, ginger and turmeric.
4. Balance your omega-3 and omega-6 fats
Most of us eat too many omega-6 oils these days and not enough omega-3 fatty acids and saturated fats, which are important for hormonal balance. You can get more omega-3s by eating fatty fish (salmons, mackerel, trout, sardines, herring and tuna), nuts (such as walnuts, flaxseed) and green vegetables like Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach and salad greens. Cut back on polyunsaturated fats (such as vegetable, canola, peanut and soybean oils, as well as shortening and margarine).
5. Keep the caffeine and alcohol low
Caffeine stays in your system up to six hours, affects the central nervous system and impacts hormones. Have one or two cups per day at most, and after that consider switching to green tea. Cut back on alcohol, too, if needed, as chronic alcohol consumption impacts hormone levels and hormonal balance.
6. Avoid chemical exposure
Cook in glass or non-coated metal pans (not non-stick ones) and don’t store or heat foods in plastic. Avoid Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics. Try to avoid chemical cleaners and pesticides; consider cleaning instead with natural cleaners like lemon, baking soda and vinegar.
7. Get smart exercise
You don’t have to exercise to exhaustion, and in fact, too much cardiovascular activity can negatively impact an already-stressed endocrine system. Low-stress exercise, such as jogging, swimming or taking a walk, can benefit hormonal balance. Create a routine you can stick to at least three times a week for 30 minutes.
8. Get enough sleep
Shorting yourself on sleep, even just occasionally, greatly impacts hormones. Find a way to get seven to eight hours a night, ideally on a regular schedule, because that’s when your body removes toxins, recharges and creates hormones. A lack of sleep adds stress and keeps the endocrine system from regenerating and regulating its hormones.