Hormonal balance plays a role in many processes, including weight gain during pregnancy, fluctuations in weight, bloating, and other symptoms, men gaining more muscle or losing weight faster, important for growth in children, as well as controlling ovulation, reproduction, and pregnancy.
Hormones dominate a large part of our lives and the right balance can do much to improve health, even when other factors are not as optimal.
Hormones: What’s most important to monitor?
If you have symptoms such as fatigue, skin problems, weight gain, weight proportioned around your waist, trouble sleeping, suffer from premenstrual syndrome, endometriosis, infertility, or other issues, it is likely that you have a hormonal imbalance.
What are hormones and how do they affect your body?
Hormones are chemical messengers in the body. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs. Over time they slowly affect many different processes such as:
- 1. Growth and development
- 2. Metabolism – how your body gets energy from the foods you eat
- 3. Sexual function
- 4. Reproduction
- 5. Your humor
The good news is that your body naturally seeks to balance your hormones. If you make a few simple adjustments to your routine, you can do so easily and naturally.
Ways to Balance Hormones Naturally
While you sleep, your body is actively eliminating toxins, recharging your mind and creating hormones. Skimping on sleep, even for one night, can have a tremendous impact on hormones and even, according to medical studies, a night of lost or shortened sleep can create hormonal levels of a pre-diabetic person.
A day (and night) routine can make a big difference in the ease with which you sleep and can help enormously to balance your hormones.
Focusing on the Right Fats
Fats, especially saturated fats, are vital to the health of hormones as the body uses fats as building blocks for hormones.
Limit polyunsaturated Omega-6 fat as these do not cooperate in the least to balance hormones and instead focus more on monounsaturated fats.
Try eliminating vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil, soy oil, margarine, vegetable butter, and any chemically altered fats. Instead, look for fats like coconut oil, butter from grass fed animals, ghee clarified butter, and olive oil. And eat fish high in Omega-3 (preferably small fish).
The toxins found in pesticides, plastics, household chemicals and even mattresses may contain toxic chemicals that mimic hormones in the body by preventing the body from producing hormones naturally. Medicines such as hormonal contraceptives can (obviously) do the same.
If you have a hormonal imbalance or you are struggling to get pregnant, avoiding these toxins is very important.
Some recommendations are:
- 1. Avoid like the plague: Phthalates, Parabens and BPA in plastic products and personal care. Some of the many studies have shown that these chemicals affect the hormonal functioning, mimicking estrogen in the body: study of cells from mice of University of Texas, Agents affecting endocrine function, Discoveries of BPA in food
- 2. Cooking on uncoated metal containers (no stick or teflon!)
- 3. Avoid heat, or store food in plastic and replace it with glass.
- 4. Avoid eating canned foods containing BPA and possible agents that affect hormone function.
- 5. Go with food products and meat that are organic.
- 6. Try not to use chemical pesticides or chemical cleaning agents.
Too many people indirectly love too much caffeine because of coffee, and it wreaks havoc on the endocrine system, especially when your hormones are affected by other factors like the presence of toxins, pregnancy, stress, or an imbalance of beneficial fat.
Coffee is a gray area, and is often preferred to be avoided early in the diet to see positive results on your progress.
Reduce coffee intake if you can, or replace it with herbal teas. If you cannot or do not want to eliminate coffee from your diet, use it as a way to introduce beneficial fats. Throw in a teaspoon of coconut oil and mix in a blender to emulsify. It’s like a latte, but with healthy fats! If you try to take it until 1 pm, it can affect your level of sleep and relaxation.
Train yourself lightly
If you’re going through a hormonal imbalance, a routine of intense exercise can actually worsen the problem in the short term. Sleep is the most important thing you can do in the time of imbalance and once you achieve balance your hormones can focus on doing “light” exercise. Whether it’s walking, swimming or yoga, find an activity that gets you moving. Try avoiding long workout exercises and high cardiac impact.
For crossfit athletes: Crossfit is a dynamic and beneficial sport, but it’s important that you’re aware of when to take a break before continuing the day’s training.
Avoid soy like the plague
Soy consumption is one of the reasons why we are having so many hormonal problems today. Soybean is a goitrogenic food, which blocks the body’s ability to use iodine.
Iodine deficiency is related to thyroid cancer in the breast and ovaries.
Today, almost all foods contain some processed soybeans. It’s not only important to avoid soy milk or tofu, but soy lecithin and soybean oil are often well hidden in the ingredient list of processed products. You will be surprised to see the presence of soy in food seasonings.