Hormone imbalances in women can occur due to numerous factors, from puberty and menstruation to pregnancy, menopause, and specific health conditions. Endocrine disruptors in the environment, like contaminated drinking water, can also cause imbalances. Our hormones are responsible for various processes in the body, and changes can lead to weight gain or loss, fatigue, mood swings, and risks to reproductive health. Thankfully, you can naturally balance your hormones for better health and wellness.
Signs and Symptoms of a Hormonal Imbalance
Even the slightest change in hormones can impact your entire body. While some hormone fluctuations can result from natural aging, others can occur from external factors. Because the body makes over 50 different hormones, you might experience varying symptoms depending on your hormonal imbalance.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance:
- Depression and anxiety
- Extreme thirst and frequent urination
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Hair loss
- High cholesterol
- Sleep problems
- Slow or rapid heartbeat
- Unexpected weight loss or gain
Individuals assigned female at birth can have an imbalance of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, which are produced by the ovaries, or excess testosterone and androgens. An imbalance in these sex hormones can cause hot flashes and heavy or irregular periods, while people assigned male at birth might experience erectile dysfunction, loss of muscle mass, and low libido from an imbalance in sex hormones.
How to Naturally Balance Female Hormones
You can do various things to naturally balance your hormones and stay physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. Certain lifestyle practices, including eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and staying hydrated, can all influence hormone levels.
Various hormone functions are impacted by sleep and circadian rhythm. Sleep disturbances can cause hormonal imbalances and conditions like obesity and diabetes. More specifically, sleep deprivation is linked to lower leptin levels, the satiety hormone. It is also associated with higher ghrelin levels, a hunger-promoting hormone, which can contribute to obesity. Poor sleep quality can also disrupt insulin levels and blood sugar regulation, which can lead to diabetes.
- Aim for at least seven hours of deep sleep: It's crucial that you get seven to nine hours of sleep each night without interruption. You also need to sleep deeply enough to enter rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
- Follow a routine: Try to go to sleep and wake up at regular times to train your body to wind down when it's time for bed.
- Limit blue light: Avoid using electronics like phones and other items before bed, as these give off artificial light that can disrupt the sleep cycle. Our bodies respond to light as if it's daylight, and hormones adjust in response.
- Create a comfortable sleep environment: Make your room cozier with a cool, well-ventilated space and a white noise machine to cancel sounds. Try cooling pillows and sheets, and invest in a quality mattress so your body can rest comfortably and deeply. Blackout curtains can also block light, creating a cozier space conducive to better sleep.
- Limit sugar intake: If you're sleeping poorly, limit your sugar intake the following day to compensate for disrupted insulin levels.
A good night's sleep is crucial for hormone balance in the body, which is essential for bodily functions. Follow the above tips to naturally balance your hormones and promote better health.
Numerous studies reveal a connection between stress, the endocrine system, and hormone levels. Researchers find that even low stress can cause an endocrine response, leading to hormone imbalance. More specifically, stress increases our bodies' adrenaline and cortisol levels. With higher levels of these hormones, we can experience obesity, mood changes, and even heart issues. Higher cortisol levels can stimulate appetite, increasing your intake of sugar and fatty foods, which can contribute to obesity.
Try the following activities to reduce stress and keep your hormones in check:
- Spend time in nature: Science tells us that being in green spaces can reduce stress and improve mental health. You can reap the benefits by spending at least a few minutes outside each day, such as taking a short walk or hiking with friends.
- Get proper sleep: Stress, hormones, and sleep levels are all connected. As a result, practicing healthy sleep habits can reduce stress and keep hormones balanced. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night, and follow a bedtime routine to encourage your body to fall asleep and wake up at the same time.
- Try mindfulness techniques: Numerous studies reveal the benefits of mindfulness techniques in reducing stress. Strategies include meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga — all involving centering the mind and allowing stressful thoughts to pass through without judgment.
- Spend time with friends and family: Having a strong support system is crucial. Friends and family can be there for you in stressful times and contribute to more happiness and less stress.
- Learn healthy coping skills in therapy: If you have trouble coping with stressful life changes and other distressful events, consider speaking with a mental health professional. In therapy, you can learn healthy coping skills to reduce stress and improve your well-being.
Weight gain can impact our hormones, causing insulin sensitivity and reproductive health complications. While obesity is directly linked to the development of insulin resistance, exercise has been shown to reduce insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity, helping to prevent obesity and heart disease.
Studies show that even a little exercise can strongly influence your hormonal health. While it improves blood flow to the muscles and increases the sensitivity of your hormone receptors, it also helps deliver nutrients and hormone signals throughout the body. For example, contracting our muscle fibers can activate communication with fat cells. At the same time, our heart rate and the nervous system's activation cause the brain to release hormones, essentially controlling how our peripheral organs respond.
Being physically active helps boost muscle-maintaining hormones that naturally decline with age, including testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH). Several types of physical activity have been found to increase beneficial hormones, including:
- High-intensity training (HIT): These exercises can improve testosterone production, which helps build and maintain lean muscle mass. Try these exercises for 12 to 20 minutes a day, three times a week.
- Cardio: Steady-state exercises can also benefit our hormones, especially those involved in mood regulation. Speed walking and running, for instance, cause our body to release dopamine and serotonin, promoting calm and a better night's sleep.
- Stretching and yoga: Stretching exercises through yoga or just walking a few minutes a day can also lower stress hormones and potentially improve your strength and quality of life. Try walking four to five days a week and avoid sitting still too long. If you sit for extended periods throughout the day, aim to get up and walk every hour.
- Strength training: These exercises help produce HGH and play a role in burning fat. Pairing strength training with intensive exercises can also increase HGH. You can follow a full-body routine a few times a week with movements like pushups, pullups, squats, lunges, and deadlifts.
Healthy Eating Habits
Your gut microbiome regulates hormonal health by modulating insulin resistance. It can help produce vitamins, hormones, and other metabolites that support our immune system. Additionally, it protects against pathogens and sends signals to the brain and other organs. Healthy eating habits can support the gut and help you maintain optimal hormonal health. Here are a few ways you can adopt healthier habits:
- Minimize sugar intake: Avoiding too much sugar and processed carbs can play a significant role in hormonal function and avoiding diabetes, obesity, and other health issues. From sweets to sugar-sweetened beverages, consuming these foods can disrupt the gut microbiome and cause other hormonal imbalances.
- Avoid processed carbs: While sugars can contribute to insulin resistance, studies show processed carbohydrates like white bread can also be a culprit. Processed foods can impact hormone function by increasing inflammation and stress to our adrenal glands. Eating too much of these foods can also result in unintentional weight gain.
- Consume healthy fats: Adding high-quality fats to your diet might help reduce insulin resistance and appetite. Fats like medium-chain triglycerides naturally found in coconut oil, yogurt, and nuts can promote calorie burning and are less likely to promote insulin resistance.
- Eat fiber: Fiber is essential to a healthy diet. Studies find that it can support insulin sensitivity and promote the production of hormones that make us feel full. Insoluble fibers are found in nuts, seeds, whole wheat flour, and the skins of fruits and vegetables. Add more fiber to your diet by choosing whole grains, focusing on non-starchy vegetables like spinach and broccoli, and adding legumes like lentils and peas.
- Consider a Mediterranean diet: Estrogen is a hormone involved in both female and male reproductive health. It also supports immunity and heart and brain function. When our estrogen levels are too low or high, we have a higher risk of health conditions like obesity, metabolic disorders, and various cancers. While a Western diet is associated with more refined sugars and animal products linked to higher estrogen levels, adopting a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce them and, thus, cancer risk. These diets are rich in fish, whole grains, legumes, and vegetables — all of which can benefit hormonal health.
- Consume fatty fish: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have been shown to promote hormonal balance. Adding more fish to your diet can prevent cortisol levels from increasing during stress, helping avoid mood disorders like depression and anxiety. In some cases, adding fish oil can contribute to treating these disorders, as studies indicate they may play a significant role in balancing mood. High levels of fats in certain fish can also contribute to better heart and digestive health while benefiting the brain and central nervous system. Fish like wild-caught salmon, mackerel, sardines, lake trout, and herring might also stabilize hunger hormones and help you feel fuller longer.
- Avoid overeating: While regularly overeating can result in long-term metabolic issues, some research shows even short-term overeating can affect circulating fats in the body and increase oxidative stress. Researchers also point to an increase in ceramides, the fat cells that promote insulin resistance, though this area requires further research.
Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements
While research is limited, there is evidence that many vitamins, herbs, minerals, and supplements could restore hormonal balance. While a balanced diet is crucial to get the vitamins your body needs, some supplements can help treat hormonal imbalances. Minerals and vitamins that can be beneficial include magnesium, zinc, vitamin D, and B vitamins.
Supplements that can promote hormonal balance include:
- Black cohosh root
- Licorice root
- Omega-3 fatty acids
While many supplements are available, not all are supported by scientific evidence. Talk to your health care provider about the best supplement treatment option for hormonal balance. Eating a diet rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and herbs can also help.
Water can help balance our hormones as it can regulate our body temperature, a crucial function for hormone production. Drinking water throughout the day can also result in weight loss, as it helps flush toxins from the liver and kidneys and reduces excess sodium.
Here are some tips for staying hydrated to promote hormonal balance:
- Drink enough water during the day: Since our bodies are 60% water, it's unsurprising that we need to stay hydrated throughout the day. Women should aim for two to five liters a day to replenish the body and promote hormonal balance. You might keep a reusable bottle around you during the day or eat water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables.
- Stick to healthy beverages: Healthy drinks like green tea can be beneficial. Green tea contains antioxidants, and consuming it could boost metabolic health. Studies have shown that it can also increase neurotransmitter levels, as it contains the amino acid L-theanine, which boosts dopamine, serotonin, and GABA while reducing cortisol.
- Install a water filter: Endocrine disruptors in the environment can cause hormonal imbalances — and many are found in our drinking water. Investing in an NSF-certified water filter can help reduce endocrine disrupters and other contaminants like microplastics and forever chemicals from your water. Specifically, a carbon block filtration system can reduce contaminants without removing beneficial minerals.
Balance Your Hormones Naturally With Healthful Hydration
There are various ways to balance your hormones naturally, whether through a healthy diet, exercise, or hydration. While combining these strategies can positively impact our hormones, eliminating the intake of new chemicals with better-quality water can also help. At Multipure, our range of filters with carbon block technology can cleanse your water of bacteria, viruses, and forever chemicals. Our NSF-certified products have undergone rigorous third-party testing to ensure their quality, performance, and reliability.
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