6 Tips to Help Balance Your Hormones
Written By: Cindy Santa Ana
Millions of women (and men) suffer from weight gain, mood swings, low libido, fatigue and brain fog today. These common health issues can be a sign of hormone imbalance. It’s our bodies telling us that something is wrong. But what causes this? It could be our diet, stress, genetics, or the myriad of chemicals we ingest, breathe or come in contact with on a daily basis. Left untreated, hormone imbalance can lead to diseases such as obesity, breast cancer, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and even osteoporosis.
Mainstream medical protocols would call for a prescription drug to treat hormone imbalance, or the diseases associated with it. But what if you could achieve balance, or homeostasis by altering your lifestyle habits, or changing something you eat? What if you could identify the root cause of your imbalance and focus on the underlying origin of your health issues? It’s possible.
First, find out what’s off kilter and test your hormone levels with a functional medicine doctor. If you have some minor issues like high cortisol, or excess estrogen, there are some great lifestyle management techniques to correct those imbalances and I’ve outlined some of them for you here.
1. Manage your stress. Stress has a huge impact on our health. External stressors (like work, traffic and family issues) can be managed with deep breathing, meditation, yoga, journaling and massage, but don’t forget about internal stress, such as food intolerance or allergies that can raise cortisol levels as well. Create a food journal and write down how you feel after a meal and note if you get gassy, bloated, or have digestive issues. You could have a food intolerance and not even know it. Take 10 minutes a day to unwind and have time exclusively for yourself. Do what makes you happy!
Did you know? Stress is the top reason behind most doctor visits today. It starts as pain and inflammation in the body, which leads to disease.
2. Nix the chemicals. Every day we come into contact with chemicals that can disrupt our delicate hormone levels. These chemicals (BPA, parabens, phthalates and fluoride in our water and toothpaste) are endocrine disruptors, meaning they can block, or mimic estrogen in our bodies, influence thyroid-hormone signaling and block egg production in the ovaries. Look for BPA-free canned foods, paraben-free personal care products, choose fragrance-free items, use a refillable stainless steel or glass water bottle, get a high-quality water filter and choose fluoride-free toothpaste.
Did you know? Choosing a BPA-free product may not be safe either. Companies are using Bisphenol F or S to replace BPA products. Nix the plastic altogether and go for glass, stainless or ceramic containers.
3. Move your body, but not too much. We all know exercise is important, but did you know that 30 minutes of exercise per day can lower cortisol levels and help flush excess estrogen from the body? Find an exercise that you like, even if it’s just dancing around your living room and do it often.
Did you know? Too much exercise, like suddenly training for a marathon, or long-distance running may tax or stress the body and raise cortisol levels. Be smart with your workouts and listen to your body.
4. Get Supplement Savvy. Fish Oil, Rhodiola and ashwagandha have all been proven to lower cortisol levels. Di-indolemethane (DIM) has been proven to reduce excess estrogen levels. Doctors recommend 200 mg of DIM per day.
Did you know? Some supplements are filled with gluten, artificial colors, fillers and preservatives. Read the label!
5. Get happy. When we smile or laugh, endorphins are released and that lowers cortisol levels. Connect with a friend, see a funny movie, volunteer, join a group of like-minded people, or act like a kid (ride a roller coaster, play a fun game, color, do a puzzle)!
6. Eat Clean. Make sure you’re getting enough fiber, cruciferous veggies, sprouted grains and lean protein. Drink lots of filtered water. Eat less meat and dairy from conventionally raised animals, cut caffeine and lower alcohol consumption, avoid soy, nix the vegetable oils, like corn, canola and soybean oil. Opt for coconut or olive oil when cooking.
Did you know? Chia seeds can detoxify your colon because of their mucilaginous fiber that carries away toxins like excess estrogen.
The content of this article is for general instruction only. Each person’s physical, emotional and spiritual condition is unique. The instruction in this article is not intended to replace or interrupt the reader’s relationship with a physician or other professional. Please consult your doctor for matters pertaining to your specific health and diet.
Cindy Santa Ana is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach specializing in weight loss, clean eating transformations and thyroid disease. She works with clients to help them reach their ideal weight, increase their energy, and live a healthy balanced lifestyle, while juggling their career and personal life.
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