Having a hormone imbalances can really zap your energy, affect your mood, sleep, weight and more.
Having worked with many women and some men over the last several years to help them balance their hormones, there are many things that can contribute to a hormone imbalance including stress, environmental toxins, not getting enough sleep, diet and more. Let’s take a look at three of these factors along with ways to find balance.
When we are stressed, the adrenals work overtime to protect us from what they consider physical stress (even though we are not really in danger). This is our fight or flight response. It causes the adrenals to produce higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol. This is something we can see on the DUTCH test or Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormomes.
Because we can only produce adrenaline for a few seconds, our fight or flight response is dependent on excess cortisol, and this is where the havoc begins. Excess cortisol has been linked to depression, blood sugar problems, reproductive issues, anxiety and weight gain around the middle.
The key is to support the health of the adrenals with foods rich in B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. Practicing meditation or deep breathing also helps to lower cortisol and reduce stress.
Detox Your Body with Healthy Foods:
Excess hormones like cortisol, estrogen and testosterone all need to be detoxed out of the body. This is a key process that the liver performs to make sure we do not suffer from the excess of these hormones. Supporting the health of the liver, therefore is critical. A milk thistle supplement helps liver function more optimally. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale, apples, grapefruit, garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, lemons, limes and berries are just a few foods that help support the liver.
We also need good gut health to help make sure the toxins leave the body so supporting gut health is also important. This is easier said than done but it starts with adding probiotics and fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi or sauerkraut. Prebiotic foods such as garlic, onion, potatoes, broccoli, berries and apples, just to name a few, feed our good bacteria and help keep our gut healthy. It is important to consume these nutrient dense foods in organic forms as much as possible.
Balance Blood Sugar:
Bad eating habits and stress can cause our blood sugar to swing up and down throughout the day. When our blood sugar drops, we can experience anger, fatigue, weakness and depression. It can also trigger cravings for sugar, coffee/caffeine and alcohol. If we respond to the craving, and consume something, this will bring our blood sugar back up. Caffeine, sugar and alcohol all cause the blood sugar to swing up high. This causes a high insulin release. And too much insulin can affect other hormones.
If we do not respond to the craving, then our adrenals send a signal to tell the liver to release stored glucose and bring up blood sugar. Again, it tends to be a lot of glucose since adrenaline is a powerful hormone. Blood sugar swings high and again, large amounts of insulin are released.
To keep blood sugar stable, eat small meals throughout the day with fiber and/or protein. Blood sugar stabilizing foods such as Jerusalem artichokes, cinnamon and legumes can be very helpful. Lowering stress also helps keep blood sugar stable.
These are just three simple steps. Give them a try and see the difference they can make. Then if you want to take things a step further, schedule a consultation to discuss having your hormone levels checked. My new favorite test to evaluate hormone balance is called the DUTCH test. This test takes an in depth look at not only your hormone levels, but how you are actually breaking down those hormones.
Balancing hormones can be complicated and overwhelming. But you have to start somewhere and the three things shared here can help move you in the right direction. However sometimes more support is needed and that is where testing can really be helpful to pinpoint where imbalances are occurring and to help support the body in the right way. For some this can mean adding in specific herbs, supplements, homeopathy, and even compounded hormones. Finally, addressing lifestyle risk factors should always be a part of the plan.
Want to find out more about what can cause hormones to be out of balance? Grad, “Natural Solutions for Hormone Imbalance”.