Hormones are chemical messengers having a profound effect on our overall health. The endocrine system controls the level of hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, insulin and adrenaline. They all should work in harmony just like an orchestra, however if one is out of balance, then this may cause serious health problems.
Hormonal imbalances are caused by many different factors such as exposure to pollution and chemicals, chronic stress, digestive issues, unhealthy diet, lack of sleep, being overweight and genetic factors.
Specific hormones lead to imbalance in the body:
Excess estrogen leads to weight gain, fatigue, sluggishness, premenstrual symptoms, slow metabolism and skin problems.
Low estrogen on the other hand leads to low sex drive, fertility problems, irregular menstruation and mood swings.
- Weight gain
- Irregular periods
- Low libido
- Thinning hair
- Digestive problems
- Depression, anxiety, mood swings
- Skin problems (acne)
Nutritional Guidelines for Healing
- Eat more healthy, omega 3 fats. Your body needs different types of fats to create hormones; they are fundamental building blocks for hormone production plus they also reduce the level of inflammation. The best healthy fats are: coconut oil, avocado, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, salmon and grass fed butter.
- Eat less of the unhealthy, fats omega 6 fats. They contribute to inflammation, clogging of the arteries and create an overall toxicity. Stay away from highly processed, hydrogenated oils: canola, safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean and peanut oils. There is only one category of omega 6 oils called gamma linoleic acid GLA, coming from borage, hemp seeds and evening primrose oil.
- Heal your digestive system:
- First step is to stay away from the foods creating inflammation such as processed foods, gluten, processed fats, sugar, artificial additives and flavorings.
- Include healthy, unprocessed, fresh foods such as fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds providing lots of fiber and nutrients.
- Drink plenty of filtered water.
- Have broth a few times a week, fermented vegetables, kefir and sprouts. You can also use gelatine for healing an inflamed gut.
- Supplement with probiotics, digestive enzymes, herbal extracts such as matcha green tea, peppermint, gentian, barberry and chamomile.
- Avoid soy products such as soy milk, soy protein and all soy-based cereals. Even fermented soy can be difficult for our digestive system, so while you are trying to balance the hormones, it’s best to stay away from all soy products. Soy has negative effects on hormone balance.
- Cut down on alcohol consumption as it increases our levels of estrogen.
- Consider quitting The Pill as it raises estrogen leading to many health problems such as migraines, high blood pressure, stroke, breast cancer, and mood changes.
- Avoid caffeine. High levels of caffeine throughout the day can create additional stress on the endocrine system, especially if there are other hormone stressors involved. Try switching your daily coffee for herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint, nettle, lavender or raspberry leaf.
Herbal, Superfood & Supplement Therapy
1. Support adrenal glands with herbs:
- Holy Basil
2. Supplement with Magnesium. Magnesium is essential for our hormonal balance yet it’s often lacking in our diet. All minerals are important, however magnesium is the most important supporting our energy production.
3. Increase sun exposure or take additional Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 acts like a hormone and keeps inflammation down.
- Reducing stress is essential to regulate levels of cortisol, essential for balancing hormones. Cortisol is regulated at midnight, so make sure you get to bed ideally by 10:00 pm. Proper sleep is essential for balancing your hormones. Try to create a daily routine that supports your natural rhythms and aim to rise in the morning and surrender to bed at night at the same time. Remove any stimulating objects from your bedroom, try to avoid artificial lights and try to limit your time on technological devices after the sun goes down. Set yourself up for a good night’s sleep by winding down properly. Try to meditate, take a relaxing bath or give yourself a mini-massage with soothing oils before bed.
- Practice yoga for relaxation and to help your body detox. A particular yoga pose called Leg Up The Wall, (basically putting your legs against the wall for 5-10 min) boosts the lymphatic system, which collects and carries fluid so the toxins can be eliminated from the body. Lymph fluid becomes stagnant and toxins collect when we sit all day. To balance hormones naturally, we need to eliminate these from the body and keep the lymph flowing.
- Avoid exposure to so called xeno-estrogens, which are man-made chemicals present in everything from plastics to household cleaning products and pesticides. Avoid plastic bottles containing BPA, teflon pans, and aluminium cans. Replace with glass, stainless steel, ceramic and cast iron.
- Exercise outdoors to get more fresh air and to relax you. Walking in nature provides a relaxing yet invigorating exercise ideal for balancing hormones, reducing cortisol levels, and boosting our immune system. Walking also stimulates our lymphatic system, so it’s great for flushing toxins out. Try to spend at least 30 minutes outside. The natural light helps to boost serotonin levels which balance melatonin levels at night. Make sure you drink plenty of water after exercise and throughout the day, but try and limit your liquids 2 hours before you go to bed to avoid waking in the night to use the bathroom, which will disrupt your sleep cycle.
- Eliminate all chemicals from your bathroom – they contain harmful chemicals like DEA, parabens and sodium lauryl sulphate. Instead of use bi-carb soda, coconut oil, and essential oils.
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This article is provided for your general information only and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional advice, particularly medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek medical advice from a qualified health practitioner which takes into account your personal circumstances, general health and medical conditions.