The stability and balance of your hormones is extremely important to your overall health and wellness. Your hormones are the chemical messengers that communicate information about various biological activities throughout your body. Since they play such a vital role in virtually every function of your body, it’s essential that they stay balanced and operate smoothly. And while hormone imbalances are common, you don’t have to accept them as a permanent part of your life. By taking steps to manage stress, getting plenty of sleep, and eating a healthy diet, you can balance your hormones naturally. Hormones—and especially their balance—are also directly affected by our diet and nutrition. To help you understand how these factors impact your hormones and what you can do about it, we’ve listed some helpful tips below
What is a hormone imbalance?
Hormone imbalances occur when there is too much or too little of a certain hormone in your system. Too much of a hormone can be just as damaging as too little of it, and imbalance can result in symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, and depression. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on your hormone levels and work to keep them balanced. Some of the most common hormone imbalances include: – Estrogen dominance – Too much estrogen relative to progesterone. Can cause PMS and heavy periods, water retention, weight gain, mood issues in women, and reduced sex drive in men. – Andropause and menopause – Deficiency in testosterone and estrogen, respectively. Can lead to symptoms like fatigue, low libido, weight gain, and reduced muscle mass. – HPA axis dysfunction – Imbalance in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), the system that regulates your stress response. Can result in anxiety, mood disorders, and sleep problems.
Managing stress to balance your hormones
A hormone imbalance can occur as a result of stress, both psychological and physiological. Wellness and quality of life are deeply interconnected with hormone production, and stress has the potential to wreak havoc on your hormones. To manage stress, you can try some of the following stress-reduction techniques: – Meditation – Meditation has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, and cortisol is the hormone that’s responsible for managing your stress response. – Getting enough sleep – Sleep deprivation can create a sustained increase in cortisol levels, which can lead to an imbalance in your hormones. – Cultivating a gratitude practice – Research shows that gratitude can reduce cortisol levels and help you better manage stress. – Relaxation – Simple relaxation techniques, like deep breathing exercises and yoga, can help manage your stress levels and keep cortisol from spiking too high.
Get enough sleep to balance your hormones
Sleep is often overlooked when people talk about hormone balance. However, it plays an important role in the regulation of your hormones. – Sleep affects your hormones by stimulating the production of certain hormones. This includes growth hormone and cortisol, which is your hormone that makes you feel energized and awake. – When you don’t get enough sleep, your cortisol levels rise. This can cause your body to produce too much cortisol, which can lead to an excessive amount of energy, blood sugar, and blood pressure. – Getting enough sleep can help you regulate these hormones and keep them in balance.
Eat a healthy, whole food diet to balance your hormones
When people think about hormones, they often focus on the foods that raise them (eating more red meat, for example, to increase testosterone) or the foods that lower them (eating more soy to decrease estrogen). While these foods can impact hormone levels, there’s a bigger picture to consider when it comes to balancing your hormones. A healthy diet is key to regulating and optimizing hormone levels. You can do this by eating plenty of whole foods and avoiding processed foods. This will help you meet your nutritional needs and provide your body with the fuel it needs to regulate hormone production and keep them in balance. Some helpful dietary tips include: – Meal timing – Make sure to eat three meals a day at consistent times to keep your blood sugar levels consistent. – Eating enough protein – Make sure to eat enough protein each day. Protein helps regulate your blood sugar levels, which is important for balancing hormones. – Getting enough fibre – Eating plenty of fibre helps regulate blood sugar and keeps you feeling full. – Avoiding excessive sugar – Sugar is highly inflammatory to your body and can increase cortisol. – Eating whole foods – Choose to eat mostly unprocessed and unrefined foods for the best hormone-balancing nutrition. – Eating your vegetables – Eat plenty of vegetables to get plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in many common foods, including apples, onions, citrus, and berries. It’s also sold as a supplement to help reduce inflammation and support healthy hormone levels. Animal studies show that quercetin supplementation can help lower cortisol, increase growth hormone, and support healthy estrogen levels. Human studies show that quercetin can also reduce oxidative stress and support healthy blood pressure. Quercetin has also been shown to help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms of allergies, which may make it beneficial for those struggling with HPA axis dysfunction. It’s important to note that quercetin is not a hormone, but it can help support hormone regulation and balance.
A hormone imbalance can result in a wide range of symptoms, from sleep issues to weight gain. While it is normal for hormone levels to shift over the course of your lifetime, an imbalance can indicate a larger problem. When you see signs of an imbalance, it’s important to contact a doctor. They can perform blood tests to determine what type of imbalance you have and what needs to be done to correct it. To prevent or correct an imbalance, you can manage your stress, get enough sleep, and eat a healthy diet. These simple steps can help you balance your hormones and improve your health.