Your body’s biochemistry is like a symphony. When hormones (as orchestrated by the brain) work as they are supposed to, then the result is harmonious high performance. But when your hormonal balance is upset, then your health becomes a discordant mess.
What’s behind your hormonal well-being?
Hormones are biochemical signaling mechanisms that the body produces to regulate physiology, behavior, and numerous biological functions. They are manufactured to manage the sleep/wake cycle, sexual activity, and your metabolism.
When your hormonal balance is out of whack, then the results can be very detrimental to your well-being. According to some estimates, 99 percent of excessive weight gain is due to hormonal impairment. Other symptoms your hormones are not functioning optimally include:
- Brain fog
- Tension headaches
- Constant vaginal dryness
- Low libido
- Stomach disorders (including bloating, constipation and diarrhea)
- Irregular periods
- Anxiety and depression
- Severe acne
- Hair loss
What causes hormone-related problems?
Hormonal imbalances can be caused or influenced by a number of factors including genes, poor diet, environmental toxins, stress, aging, natural biological changes, and medications. Increasingly, science is beginning to appreciate the way lifestyle factors (such as the consumption of foods containing pesticides and growth hormone residues) can cause hormonal imbalances.
As a result, people are looking for all-natural ways to reset and optimize their hormones naturally. With that in mind, here are five ways you can get your biochemistry back in balance.
Here are five tips for restoring your hormonal balance:
1. Eat wild caught fish instead of red meat
Cattle are routinely fed growth hormones, which have been linked to breast cancer. In addition, red meat has been shown to increase estrogen by altering the microbiome in your gut.
The next time you reach for a beef burger, just consider that studies show that you’ll be feeding bad bacteria and promoting inflammation all at the same time. All this can have a very detrimental impact on hormones that are manufactured in the digestive system. On the other hand, wild caught salmon will be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are precursors of hormonal health.
2. Enjoy broccoli sprouts
Foods like broccoli, which are rich in a compound known as sulforaphane, can help you detox. For instance, studies show that sulforaphane helps your liver and other organs excrete heavy metals and other toxins that have accumulated in your body.
By supporting liver detoxification, sulforaphane helps ensure that hormonal elimination pathways in that organ function optimally. This can be critical in restoring hormonal balance and health. Other cruciferous vegetables with ample levels of sulforaphane include brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, and kale.
3. Switch to organic lipstick
According to one estimate, the average woman consumes 10 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime. That can be a problem, as many popular lipsticks have been found to contain traces of lead, aluminum and other toxic heavy metals. Not surprisingly, studies show that heavy metals are one of the leading causes of hormonal imbalances because they block hormone elimination pathways.
4. Go gluten-free
Gluten intolerance has been linked to hormonal problems. That’s because those with a gluten sensitivity cannot fully digest gluten. As a result, the immune system ends up attacking undigested food particles and the lining of the digestive tract. This can result in a host of difficulties including inflammation and unstable blood glucose levels. All of this causes the adrenal system to flood your body with the stress hormone cortisol.
5. Engage in mindful activities like yoga
Exercise can help improve hormonal balance, but the benefits are especially good when you get it in the form of a mindful activity, like yoga. In particular, studies have shown that yoga reduces blood cortisol levels, lower adrenaline and stimulate the brain-relaxing neurotransmitter GABA.
Hormonal imbalances affect millions of people all over the globe. Eating right, getting adequate rest and practicing stress reduction is the foundation of hormonal health. If you find that you are constantly tired, irritable and stressed, then it’s probably a sign your hormones are under siege. But if you understand the factors that both promote and undermine hormonal balance, then you can take steps to restore it.
— Scott O’Reilly