We often hear about hormone levels changing and influencing the way we act, but our hormones can do so much more than that. Extremely sensitive, if out of balance even slightly, there can be considerable ramifications on our bodies.
Fluctuations in hormones occur naturally, so recognising and reacting to an imbalance can help us lead happier, healthier lives. But before we discuss how to keep your hormone balance in check, there are a few things you need to know about.
Before learning how to handle them, we must first understand what hormones are. Hormones are chemicals created by our body that travel down our bloodstreams and to specific organs and tissues, alerting them to perform a particular function.
What hormones are released, and how much is ‘decided’ by the endocrine system.
The endocrine system works similarly to our nervous systems, but it controls the activation and deactivation of functions such as:
- Blood pressure
- Body temperature
- Growth and development
- Heart rate
- Sexual functions and reproduction
- Sleeping and waking cycles
Through the secretion of hormones.
When people talk about hormones being off-kilter, it’s because the endocrine system has produced too much or not enough of a specific hormone. Hormone imbalances could happen because of a medical condition or because of a lifestyle change.
The great news is that if the imbalance isn’t caused by a medical condition, we can do things to help get things back on track.
If your hormone levels are off-balance, something that can occur so easily and often, your body will exhibit symptoms that you can recognise and react to. These include:
- Acne and breakouts
- Cramps and back pain
- Digestive problems
- Fluid retention and weight gain
- Headaches or migraines
- Loss of libido
- PMS mood swings, irritability, sadness, anxiety
- Sleep problems
- Thinning hair
So long as a medical condition isn’t the cause of your hormone imbalance, there are small and easy things you can do to keep your endocrine system, and therefore your hormones, balanced.
Here are four small lifestyle changes you can make to keep your hormones balanced. An added bonus is that these changes also form part of a healthy lifestyle.
- What foods help to balance hormones?
Your food choices will support a healthy balance of hormones or contribute to continual imbalances. By eating nutrient-rich foods and opting for a plant-based organic diet when possible, including:
- Plenty of green leaves
- Brightly coloured vegetables
You’ll be helping your hormone levels stay in check and keep your body strong and healthy.
Choose leaner cuts and wild-caught sea fish on days that you don’t want to eat 100% plant-based.
Foods that can contribute to an imbalance include:
- Products on the high-glycemic index
- Fast foods
- Cows milk
So if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned earlier, try temporarily cutting these foods out and see if it makes a difference.
Drinking from single-use plastic water bottles or using tea bags that contain plastic isn’t just terrible for the planet; it also spells chaos for our endocrine system and can cause trouble for our immune system.
In the 90s, it was discovered that certain plastics, like BPA (the ones used in drink bottles), were seeping into the product it held and, therefore, ending up in our systems. These plastics contain oestrogen-mimicking properties, which throws our endocrine system off and impacts the amount of the hormone produced.
So, if you purchase foods or drinks in plastic packaging, look out for a BPA-Free label to limit the number of harmful substances entering your body.
We also recommend staying away from non-stick pans, as these are also understood to influence our endocrine system and throw our hormones out of balance. Instead, opt for stainless steel, ceramic or cast iron cookware.
A smoothly operating circadian rhythm impacts hormone release just as much as our hormones can affect our sleep. The right amount of sleep every night helps to keep the following hormones in balance:
- Estrogen and progesterone
- Growth hormones
- Hunger hormones
- Thyroid hormones
So if ever there was a reason to get a few extra hours of sleep, balancing your hormones is definitely one. If you struggle to drift off to sleep, here are a few things you can do:
- Switch to decaf if you drink coffee in the afternoon
- Turn off all screens an hour before you go to sleep
- Invest in a sunset device
If you want to create a sleep plan to help you enjoy a restful night’s sleep consistently, you can use ours here.
You’ve probably heard all about endorphins that are released when we exercise, but staying fit can also prevent hormone imbalances. It’s not as straightforward as, say, eating the right food, which directly impacts hormone levels, but it does have an indirect effect.
Short bursts of exercise can lower stress levels, which will decrease the amount of stress hormone being released into the bloodstream. The endorphin rush also reduces feelings of tiredness, helping us stay more alert during the day and ready for bed in the evening.
Finally, moderate and vigorous exercise helps us drift off to sleep quickly and increases the quality of our sleep, which in turn balances hormones. A survey from the National Sleep Foundation showed that participants who take on light, moderate or vigorous exercise regularly enjoy ‘very good or fairly good overall sleep quality.’ In contrast, a considerably lower number of participants who categorise themselves as non-exercisers could make the same claim.
Just as a proper diet, regular exercise, and sleep quality affect hormone levels, some supplements can support balanced hormone levels and a properly functioning endocrine system. Additionally, some supplements can help rebalance your hormones.
Our H30 Night Repair, for example, encourages relaxation and promotes sleep. Adding this supplement to your daily routine is an excellent way to help keep your endocrine system in check.
If you’re currently suffering from a non-medical hormone imbalance, there are supplements you can take to get things back on track. Re-Set can help to support a healthy metabolism and curb appetite, two issues caused by a hormone imbalance.
Hormone imbalances can drastically affect our quality of life, but by understanding the symptoms and keeping an eye out for them, along with implementing small lifestyle changes, you can rebalance them and keep them and your endocrine system on track.