When the word “hormones” is uttered, visions of raging uncontrollable women come to mind for most. That is just so sad. Hormonal changes affect everyone, yet we seem to have a very negative association with that word. That is why it is important that we know how to balance hormones naturally.
Hormones affect everything from sleep to mood, to weight, to bowel health – ask the nearest pregnant woman if she’s noticed any difference in these areas since being pregnant. Or ask a menopausal woman.
If you have symptoms like weight around the middle, trouble sleeping, insomnia, fatigue, skin issues, infertility, PCOS, weight gain, always sleeping, PMS, endometriosis or other issues, chances are you have hormone imbalance!
So what can you do to help balance these hormones?
8 Tips to Help Balance Hormones
1. Keep an eye on your Omega 6 consumption
Studies have shown that most of the vegetable oils are jam packed with omega-6, which is a fatty acid that causes inflammation. Nevertheless, it is necessary to have some amount of omega-6 in our diet but an excess can cause a lot of problems.
Ideally, it is recommended that the omega-6/3 ratio should be 1:1 or 2:1 but not more than that but most people are consuming a shocking average of 20:1.
So what can you do? For starters say away from fats like Vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine, shortening, or other chemically altered fats. Also be weary of consuming too many nuts (all nuts, save for macadamia nuts, are extraordinarily high in omega-6, watch out for upcoming post on this). Choose fats like coconut oil, real butter, olive oil (don’t heat!) and animal fats from healthy sources instead and eat lots of high Omega-3 fish (think SMASH Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines and Herring).
I Can’t emphasize this one enough (tried with the all-caps-SCREAMING though)! If you aren’t getting enough sleep, your hormones will not be balanced. End of.
3.Say No to chronic cardio
If you have hormone imbalance, intense extended exercise can actually make the problem worse. Exercise releases a plethora of hormones into your body which can be harmful in some cases especially if you are already dealing with hormonal imbalance. I speak from experience, I used to be a slave to cardio and my hormones were a complete mess!
So it is better to exercise lightly like yoga, walking, rebounding (fantastic for health) or swimming and avoid the extended running, long cardio sessions, for now….
While chronic cardio can be bad, short bursts of heavy lifting (think deadlifts, squats, lunges, kettlebells) can be beneficial since they cause a cascade of beneficial hormone reactions. Since lifting heavy my hormonal health has greatly improved, so has my body!
Aim for a few sets (5-6) at a weight that feels around an 8 out of 10, but if you haven’t done these before make sure you get help with form and training, bad form can be harmful! My form used to be shocking, but since joining Crossfit Bromley I have seen a vast improvement.
5.Include fatty acids in your diet
Including different varieties of foods rich in fatty acids is a fantastic way of stabilising our hormonal cycle while also speeding up our metabolism and promoting weight loss.
Try incorporating the following foods to your everyday diet to help balance hormones.
- Coconut oils
- Sea Food especially salmon
- Egg yolks
- Raw butter/ghee (if tolerated)
6.Limit the caffeine
Coffee is great, 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 pcos, toxin overload, beneficial fat imbalance or stress.
Try to cut down the coffee, or replace with beneficial herbal teas (Yogi and Pukka do some great ones). If you can’t or just 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.
7.Beware of hidden nasties
Yes, we all love to smell lovely and who doesn’t love a bit of body cream? But toxins used in certain products play a huge role in disrupting our hormone levels. The scary thing is many cosmetics that contain these harmful toxins are still available on the market.
Check for these toxins on the back of your favourite cosmetics
- diethanolamine (DEA)
- propylene glycol
- sodium lauryl sulfate
If you see any of these nasties pop up among the ingredients steer clear you want to balance hormones.
Another such toxin that can harm us is BisphenolA (BPA) that is usually found in plastic bottles and Tupperware. So throw out all the plastic bottles and cancel those Tupperware parties and start using glass and stainless steel.
Adaptogens help with the balancing of hormones. These herbs and medicinal mushrooms are also especially equipped to relieve stress and fatigue.
To put it simply: Adaptogens help you adapt.
Some adaptogens that may help to balance hormones are listed below
- Holy Basil
- Panax Ginseng
Interested in receiving one-on-one support? I currently work with a select number of clients each month interested in nutritional therapy.