Do you struggle with PMS, bloating, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, acne, sugar cravings, insomnia? We are socialized to believe that these symptoms are an inevitable part of fluctuating cyclical hormones, but they are signs that your hormones are not optimally balanced.
The endocrine system, a series of glands responsible for secreting hormones, is an amazing network that regulates ovulation, menstruation, metabolism, mood, stress response, energy levels, and sex drive. When your hormones go haywire, you can bet there’s a miscommunication somewhere in your endocrine system, resulting in unpleasant symptoms. This is your body’s way of letting you know you’re not optimally balanced.
There are a few key (and easy!) steps you can start right away to rebalance your hormones and support your endocrine system.
1. Step Away From The Sugar And Put Down The Wine Glass
Refined sugars and booze are two of the biggest endocrine disruptors, and they contribute to the body’s stress load. Sugar causes inflammation and feeds the bad bacteria in your gut, contributing to digestive irregularity and candida overgrowth. Wine stresses your detox system, which needs to be kept in good working order to metabolize your hormones and aid in overall hormone balance. Alcohol can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and insulin levels, triggering sugar cravings, irritability, increased appetite, and disrupted sleep. Kick both and feel better in just a few days. If you have a sweet tooth, stick to dark chocolate, and swap out wine for fizzy but health promoting beverages like kombucha or water kefir.
2. Sleep Is The Best (And Least Expensive!) Way To Relieve Stress
Most of us aren’t getting nearly enough sleep. We’re burning the candle at both ends, and our hormones are paying for our on-the-go lifestyles. Lack of sleep triggers high cortisol that puts your body in fight-or-flight mode, causing weight gain, sugar cravings, and fatigue. Aim to get 8-9 hours of sleep nightly. Don’t be afraid of a 20 minute nap on the weekends, or during the workday if you’re able. Head to bed by 10:30 (you can start tonight!), and create a bedtime ritual to wind down in the evenings. Pro tip: if you have trouble sleeping, don’t drink any caffeine after 12pm, and switch from coffee to green tea.
3. Diet Matters
Ditch the diet sodas, white flour, and chemical-laden processed foods that add additional stress to your system. Focus on real food: organic protein, healthy fats that help your body make hormones, plenty of veggies of all kinds, fermented foods, and green juices. Pay special attention to foods that support the liver. Show your liver some love with cruciferous veggies, beets, carrots, leafy greens, garlic, avocados, and turmeric.
4. There Are A Few Superstar Herbs You Can Use To Support Endocrine Balance
Adaptogenic herbs such as rhodiola, ashwaganda, and holy basil are excellent adrenal tonics to soothe frayed nerves and encourage restful sleep. Vitex is wonderful for regulating the menstrual cycle. Evening primrose can take the edge off PMS.
5. Finally, Address Your Stress Level
We’re all living busy lives, and stress is inevitable. Go easy on yourself. Create a routine and include activities you enjoy. Try yoga and meditation. Get a massage or acupuncture. Examine the close relationships in your life and figure out how you can improve them. Don’t forget about your most important relationship– your relationship with yourself! Your emotional wellbeing is crucial to happiness and hormone balance.