Our hormones play an important role in how we feel and function. In fact, hormones can impact us in many ways we don’t always realize.
Hormones are a part of the endocrine system and serve as the body’s chemical messengers, regulating everything from heart rate and metabolism to sexual functioning, mood, and sleep cycles.
When our hormone levels are imbalanced, we can experience mood swings, weight gain, problems sleeping, low libido, decreased energy levels and more.
Hormones change as we age. Women over 45 experience a drop in estrogen and progesterone, while men drop in testosterone levels. These changes can leave many of us feeling frustrated and generally unwell.
If you believe you are experiencing hormonal changes, it’s important to book an appointment with our office to talk to a professional about your symptoms. But there are things you can do to help balance your hormones as well.
Today, we’re going to explore 5 natural ways that you can promote healthy hormone balance.
1. Eat a healthy diet.
A well-balanced, healthy diet is crucial to healthy, balanced hormones. Avoid processed foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates. Opt for whole grains, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (especially lots of dark, leafy greens), lean meats, and healthy fats.
Fats help build healthy hormones, and one of the healthiest ways you can get enough Omega-rich fats is to use coconut oil. It’s a powerhouse for building hormone health and can also assist with weight loss and reduce inflammation.
You’ll also find plenty of healthy fats in avocados, olive oil, pastured eggs, and lean, grass-fed meats. Conversely, avoid oils made from peanuts, soy, and canola.
2. Avoid or limit caffeine intake.
Excess caffeine can take a major toll on the endocrine system, especially when coupled with other hormone stressors like aging, pregnancy, or stress.
Try a caffeine-free herbal tea or caffeine-free coffee with a tablespoon of coconut oil to avoid the caffeine pitfalls while adding in healthy fats!
Better yet, skip the coffee and try a healthy, hormone-balancing smoothie!
3. Move your body.
In order to maintain healthy hormone levels, it’s important to get enough exercise. Try to get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day, whether it’s a fast-paced walk, a bike ride, swimming laps, or practicing yoga or pilates.
And while you can achieve these same effects indoors at the gym, if you take your exercise into nature, it can also help improve your mood and reduce stress.
4. Avoid toxins wherever you can.
Many household cleaners, air fresheners, and cosmetics are hiding a dirty secret. In fact, hormone disruptors and toxic chemicals are lurking in everything from our shampoo and body lotion to our mascara and foundation makeup. What’s worse, many of these products tout their “natural” ingredients on the front of the label while hiding their not-so-innocent chemicals in fine print on the back.
Visit our previous blog post on how to identify and avoid toxins in the products you use.
5. Create a healthy sleep habit.
Adequate and restful sleep is crucial to maintaining hormone balance. During the sleep cycle, our bodies are busy creating hormones, removing toxins, resting and recharging. Skipping sleep or not sleeping long enough can dramatically impact hormone levels, impacting your mood, appetite, stress levels, and more.
Encourage healthy sleep patterns by trying to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Stay away from your computer and mobile screens for an hour before bedtime, so as not to disrupt your natural circadian rhythm.
Get 20-30 minutes of natural sunlight each day to soak in a wide spectrum of light to boost serotonin levels, which in turn will balance melatonin levels at night.
If you find it hard to go to sleep at night, try a soothing hot tea, hot bath, meditating, or relaxing to some soft music before bed.