Here are some natural ways to balance your hormones:
- Eat a healthy wholefoods diet. Eat lots of protein, high fibre, low in sugar & refined carbohydrates, and high in healthy fats (nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish). Avoid overeating or undereating. Eat more of the brassica family like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussle sprouts, and cabbage. These vegetables naturally contain DIM. DIM helps with detoxification of estrogen metabolites from the body. Vegetables are also high in fibre to help improve the elimination of toxins and hormone metabolites through the bowels.
- Exercise regularly. Physical exercise influences your hormone balance and helps to balance insulin levels. Insulin resistance is common when hormones are off-balance and can be linked to inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, and PCOS. Aerobic exercise, strength training, and endurance exercise are great for balancing hormones by increasing muscle mass, reducing body fat, and preventing obesity.
- Reduce your stress. Stress causes havoc to your hormone balance. The main stress hormone cortisol helps your body to cope with stress. However, if we are living in long term stress, then it triggers the body to think it is under threat and cortisol levels remain elevated. This can lead to imbalanced reproductive hormones, weight gain, poor sleep quality, and burnout. Cortisol levels can be reduced through relaxation techniques, meditation, breathing, yoga, massage, having a relaxing bath, slowing down and reducing your workload and main stress triggers.
- Consistent high-quality sleep. Poor sleep quality has been linked to imbalances in many hormones, including cortisol, melatonin, insulin, growth hormones, and reproductive hormones. Your brain needs uninterrupted sleep to go through all five stages of the sleep cycle. This is important for the release of growth hormone that occurs mainly in the deep sleep stage. Usually, when you are stressed, you get very little deep sleep, and deep sleep is the key for optimal hormone balance. Reducing stress and creating a bedtime routine will help you to get more deep sleep. Train the body to have a regular circadian rhythm by going to bed at about the same time every night and waking at a similar time each day to regulate the balance of cortisol and melatonin.
- Reduce Xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are chemicals that mimic some structural parts of the physiological estrogen compounds, therefore may act as estrogens in the body. Xenoestrogens are not biodegradable so they are stored in our fat cells. Build up of xenoestrogens have been indicated in many conditions including breast, prostate and testicular cancer, obesity, infertility, endometriosis, early onset puberty, miscarriages and diabetes. Below is a list of some of the sources of xenoestrogens. Examples of everyday items that may include xenoestrogens are: fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides, plastic water bottles and plastic food storage containers, nail polish, makeup and skincare products and birth control pills. We are constantly exposed to these substances in the world we live in.
Your hormones are involved in every aspect of your health. The body is incredible in using these chemical messengers to bring balance to the body for optimal well-being. Hormone imbalances can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, PCOS, and endometriosis. Ageing has a huge impact on a woman’s hormone balance. This process is partly out of your control, but these natural tips can help your hormones remain in balance. Consuming nutritious food, exercising regularly, improving sleep quality, reducing stress, reducing xenoestrogens can go a long way to improve your hormone balance.
Erin O’Hara is a well-known naturopath, yoga and meditation teacher who runs the Golden Yogi studio (46 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna, Auckland). For more tips and further information visit www.goldenyogi.co.nz