5 Natural ways to Balance Your Hormones

Have you ever wondered why you get sugar cravings before your period or cry over nothing? Or perhaps you can’t sleep and suffer the odd migraine. Your haphazard hormones could be to blame, and when they’re out of balance, life can be hell.
Hormones are the chemical messengers that travel via our bloodstream to every organ and tissue, and regulate processes in the body; they’re involved in everything from growth and metabolism to reproduction and mood, and include the main sex hormones oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone, plus melatonin (sleep), cortisol (stress), adrenaline (fight or flight) and thyroid (metabolism).
An imbalance can be caused by nutritional deficiency, impaired liver function, hypothyroidism, stress and intake of xeno-oestrogens. Symptoms can include weight gain, anxiety, mood swings, painful breasts, depression, cravings, bloating, thyroid issues, insomnia, hirsutism, vaginal dryness, hot flushes, headaches and migraines, night sweats, rosacea and acne.

1. Limit your caffeine intake

I love coffee, a lot, but the truth is that too much caffeine can wreak havoc on the endocrine system, especially if there are other hormone stressors involved too like pregnancy, presence of toxins, beneficial fat imbalance or stress. Cut down the coffee if you can, or replace with beneficial herbal teas. If you can’t or won’t cut the coffee, use it as a way to sneak in your beneficial fats by adding 1 tablespoon coconut oil to each cup and blending in the blender to emulsify. It is like a latte but with healthy fats! Here is the recipe I use and the only way I drink coffee.

2. Consider the use of herbal remedies

In my practice, the Ayurvedic herb shatavari has been useful for both menopausal hot flashes and PMS associated with irritability and mood swings. Other herbal remedies have also proven helpful for both physical and psychological symptoms. As each individual is different, always speak with a trained practitioner before using herbal remedies.

3. Eat coconut oil and avocado

Eating a variety of foods high in short, medium and long chain fatty acid is key to keeping your hormones in check. Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they speed up your metabolism and promote weight loss. My four favorite foods packed with healthy fats include: coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter and wild-caught salmon.

4. Get more sleep

Unless you get seven–eight hours of sleep every night, you’re doing your body no favors. Lack of sleep and sleeping at the wrong time actually may be the worst habits people have that disturb hormone balance. Why? Because hormones work on a schedule! Case in point: Cortisol, the stress hormone, is regulated at midnight. Therefore, people who go to bed late never truly get a break from the sympathetic flight/fight stress response, which has led to widespread stress-related health disorders in our country. To maximize hormone function, get to bed by 10 p.m. Endocrinologists (hormone experts) claim that one hour of sleep between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. is equal to two hours of sleep before or after these time slots!

5. Lift heavy weight

While extended cardio can be bad, short bursts of heavy lifting (kettlebells, deadlifts, squats, lunges) can be beneficial since they trigger a cascade of beneficial hormone reactions. Aim for a few sets (5-7) at a weight that really challenges you, but make sure to get help with form and training if you haven’t done these before as bad form can be harmful!

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