The endocrine system in your body regulates the essential hormones. If the hormone levels go slightly up or down, your body feels extra stress due to hormonal imbalance, which can further lead to chronic health problems. We need to balance hormones to keep our physical, mental, and emotional health in a sound condition.
Our lifestyles, including our eating habits and sedentary way of living, are major triggers for hormonal imbalances. So, we can manage the conditions brought on by hormonal imbalances naturally.
Why Do I Need To Balance Hormones?
You need to balance hormones because they are the chemical messengers in our bodies. When any of these chemical messengers are present in our bodies in a high or low amount, you may experience stomach problems, deteriorated sex life, skin problems, weight gain/loss, or other severe problems.
How to detect hormonal imbalance? Here are a few signs to watch out for.
- Depression And Mood Swings
- Sudden Headaches
- Increased Thirst
- Change In Breast For Females
- Poor Sex Drive
- Hair Fall And Thinning Hairline
- Vaginal Dryness
- Continuous Fatigue
- Sudden Weight Gain And Loss
- Skin Tags
- Change Of Heartbeat
- Frequent Urination
- Numbness And Tingling Sensation In Your Hands
- Intolerance Toward Cold And Warm Temperature
Irregular fat distribution, high cholesterol levels, sleeping difficulties, and irregular menstrual periods for women are some other symptoms of hormonal imbalance. The signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance will depend on the deficiency/spike of certain hormones or irregularities of certain endocrine glands.
How Can I Naturally Balance Hormones?
Exercise, stress management, and switching to healthy food items are some of the key factors to balance hormones.
1. Take The Right Foods To Balance Hormones
If you want to change habits to balance hormones, you will need to keep certain things in mind. You have to include adequate proteins, healthy fats, and high-fiber food items.
High Protein To Balance Hormones
You need to have adequate protein in your meal to ensure the right supply of amino acids. Amino acids are not naturally produced in our bodies, but they are essential to maintain a healthy digestive system, build muscles, make neurotransmitters, and perform many crucial body functions.
Further, the endocrine glands in our bodies make peptide hormones from these amino acids. Protein intake of 15-30mg per meal is recommended for adults.
Now, why are these amino acids so important? Amino acids are crucial for metabolism, reproductive health, growth, and stress management.
Further, these acids play crucial roles in the regulation of hunger hormones. By boosting the production of PYY or peptide YY and GLP-1 or glucagon-like peptide, amino acids make you feel fuller for longer. At the same time, it reduces the production of ghrelin, the main villain behind frequent hunger pangs.
Eat Healthy Fats
Have you ever wondered why dieticians recommend having fatty fish and different nuts? It’s because these food items have healthy fats to balance hormones.
One such healthy fat is Medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. MCTs are great if you want to fight insulin resistance. It is not stored in the fat tissues and can be immediately used by the liver for energy production. So, when you have foods with MCTs, you can boost calorie burning.
MCTs are found in MCT oil, coconut oil, yogurt, whole milk, palm kernel oil, etc.
Another healthy fat group is the Omega-3. Omega-3 fats boost insulin sensitivity and help manage stress by reducing cortisol secretion during stress.
Soybeans, Brussels sprouts, salmon, sardines, and oysters are filled with Omega-3.
In fact, if you incorporate fatty fish into your diet, it will be beneficial for your brain health and the central nervous system. So, you can manage anxiety, stress, and mood disorders better.
Take High-Fiber Food Items
Food items like sweet potatoes, lentils, apples, broccoli, and raspberry have high fiber. If you take any of these food items, your satiety level will shoot up.
To explain further, soluble and insoluble fibers have essential roles in appetite management. Especially soluble fibers, when fermented by the microbiome in the colon, produce short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids further boost the production of PYY or peptide YY and GLP-1 or glucagon-like peptide.
PYY and GLP-1 are hormones that increase your satiety levels.
2. Take Vitamins To Balance Hormones
Vitamins B, C, and D are extremely important to balance hormones. Let’s have a look at why these vitamins are important and how we can incorporate them into our daily diet.
In the group of B vitamins, B6 and B12 are most crucial for balancing hormones.
Vitamin B6 is important for the regulation of reproduction hormones estrogen and progesterone. It is also one of the most crucial vitamins to balance hormones for females.
So, a deficiency of the same can cause severe PMS symptoms and infertility. This vitamin is found in eggs, bananas, fish, avocados, and spinach.
Vitamin B12 impacts the functioning of the thyroid gland. Deficiency in this hormone can make the thyroid gland poorly functional and cause hypothyroidism.
Vitamin C has multiple health benefits, and it can boost the production of estrogen hormone in women. It also increases the functionality of insulin.
Papaya, oranges, kiwi, tomatoes, and cauliflowers have vitamin C in adequate amounts.
Vitamin D is found in egg yolks, cereals, and fatty fish. It helps maintain the balance of estrogen and progesterone hormones. At the same time, it can manage thyroid diseases.
If your body does not have enough vitamin D, it may develop thyroid antibodies, responsible for autoimmune thyroid disorders.
3. Exercise To Balance Hormones Naturally
If you exercise daily, there will be a significant increase in the sensitivity of hormone receptors and nutrient delivery.
Exercises do not allow the insulin level in your blood to shoot up, and exercises help to increase your body’s insulin sensitivity.
So, your cells better respond to the insulin hormone and collect sugar from the bloodstream. Thus, the risks of obesity, diabetes, and cardiac problems are reduced with regular exercise.
Cardio, strength training, or high-intensity interval training are considered the most effective to increase insulin sensitivity.
Exercise can also boost the production of hormones like DHEA, IGF-1, growth hormone, and testosterone.
4. Take Supplements To Balance Hormones
Your endocrine glands will need vitamins and other essential micronutrients to boost the production and functionality of various hormones.
So, taking some vitamin or micronutrient supplements can help to balance hormones. Here are some effective supplements that you can try.
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin D
- Zinc, etc.
However, before taking the best supplement to balance hormones, prior medical consultation is mandatory. And you should be particular about the doses. Otherwise, you may experience some adverse side effects.
5. Cut On Your Sugar Intake
You have to reduce your sugar intake if you want to balance hormones in your body. Excessive sugar intake can also cause other health problems.
If you consume sugar in high quantities, the insulin resistance of your cells will shoot up. As a result, the cells will not collect enough sugar from the bloodstream. So, you will have an elevated blood sugar level.
The simple sugar fructose is considered the most harmful in this context. It is present in refined table sugar, honey, corn syrups, agave, and soft drinks.
Along with increasing insulin resistance, fructose also interferes with the functionalities of the gut microbiome. As a result, hormonal imbalance happens.
Further, fructose does not promote the production of the fullness hormone leptin. So, if you want to burn more calories and avoid gaining weight, you must avoid sugar intake.
6. Manage Stress
Cortisol hormone is the key when it comes to stress management. When stressed, cortisol secretion shoots up to cope with the situation and avoid long-term stress. When the stress period is over, the cortisol hormone decreases slowly.
However, one suffering from chronic stress has an elevated level of cortisol continuously. The stress hormone ceases to go down.
An elevated level of cortisol harms our bodies in two ways. The high amount of cortisol in our blood makes us hungry, and we now have a fancy term for the same: stress eating. When excessive cortisol makes us hungry, we end up having sugary or high-fat food items.
These food items further cause weight gain.
A high level of cortisol is also responsible for gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is a metabolic pathway forming glucose from no-carbohydrate sources. This again increases the risk of insulin resistance.
So, combatting stress is important. You can listen to relaxing music and do yoga or meditation to alleviate your stress level.
7. Do Not Compromise With Your Sleep
You need to have at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night to balance hormones. I know it’s difficult for many of us, but it is important.
When you have a sound sleep, your brain goes through five sleep cycle stages. This helps in the production and functionality of your growth hormone.
Further, poor sleep increases the cortisol level for 24 hours. This can lead to insulin resistance and poor satiety levels.
Sleep deprivation again causes an increase in the production of ghrelin, or hunger hormone, and a decrease in the production of leptin, or satiety hormone.
8. Take Care Of Your Gut Health
Your gut is the home to many friendly bacteria that promote the production of metabolites essential for hormone production and functionality.
These bacteria or your gut microbiome check insulin resistance, and they promote the feeling of satiety.
Your gut microbiome ferments the soluble fiber and produces short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, acetate, and propionate. Butyrate and acetate decrease insulin resistance and make you feel full longer.
The gut microbiome also promotes faster calorie burning.
You can have yogurt, which has probiotics to improve your gut health. Other food items to improve your gut health are fermented food, nuts, cereals, high-fiber food items, etc.
9. Maintain A Healthy Weight
Obesity is one of the major reasons for hormonal imbalance, especially insulin resistance. So, if you want to balance hormones and reduce insulin resistance, you will have to lose excessive weight.
Studies say that obesity also interferes with the production of hormones from the ovaries and testes. This condition is called hypogonadism. Especially obese men suffer from this condition, due to reduced or no secretion of testosterone. Obese women may suffer from a lack of ovulation.
But these conditions can be easily reversed by taking proactive measures to lose weight. Consult a dietician to eat right and exercise regularly to improve the functionalities of the hormones affected by obesity.
10. Quit Smoking
If you want to balance hormones, you will need to quit smoking. Excessive smoking can interfere with the levels of thyroid hormone and boost the secretion of pituitary hormones.
Smoking can also lead to stress as it can increase the level of cortisol or stress hormones.
Excessive stress can further cause multiple health problems like uncontrolled appetite, insulin resistance, irregular or missed menstrual cycles, infertility, etc.
Smoking even reduces the efficacy of estrogen. And women who smoke have a higher testosterone level in their bodies than women who do not smoke.
11. Keep Your Dairy Intakes Moderate
Women who want better reproductive health must be vigilant about their dairy intake. Some studies suggest that dairy intake can affect female reproductive hormones adversely, causing anovulation in healthy premenopausal women.
However, the association needs more studies to be established. You can keep your cream and yogurt intakes moderate to avoid having irregular or absent menstrual cycles.
12. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Having alcohol beyond moderation can reduce the testosterone level in men. As a result, the sperm quality can deteriorate.
So, if you want to balance hormones and improve reproductive health, you must be careful about your alcohol intake.
13. Reduce Processed Carbohydrate Intake
Along with cutting your sugar intake, you also need to check the amount of processed carbohydrates you consume. Adults, especially children with high amounts of processed carbohydrates, are at a greater risk of having insulin resistance.
So, try to avoid white bread and baked items as much as possible.
From your cardiac health to your nervous system and reproductive system, everything is related to the proper production and functionality of your hormones. So, you need to balance hormones to avoid risks of obesity, cardiac attacks, infertility, diabetes, chronic stress, and other health problems.
A little moderation in the diet plan and overall lifestyle can effectively balance hormones. So, consult a physician and work on the suggested lifestyle changes and taking medications.