From pre-teen to the 60’s, hormones can leave a body feeling not so good. Such has been the case for me since the onset of puberty. And what’s to blame? Hormones. Hormones are caused by imbalances from puberty all the way through menopause. Every decade and then childbirth brought its own set of woes to my body. And it’s completely natural for our hormones to rearrange themselves. It’s just what the body does when it’s given what it is. And let’s face it, the body has a lot to deal with; environmental toxins, processed foods, psychological stressors, and so much more. How we deal with the changes is a totally different story. It is only in knowing and paying attention to our bodies that we can effectively address and or treat the uncomfortable and undesirable issues associated with hormonal imbalance.
Here are 10 tips to help balance your hormones. They’ve helped me tremendously.
- Eat clean, wholesome and nutritious food. What you put inside is what will show up outside. Try green juices or smoothies for breakfast. Eat balanced meals, three times daily. Meals should consist of proteins, healthy fats, sensible carbohydrates. Be careful with the carbohydrates, which can be too sugary for perimenopausal women. Choose low-glycemic index carbohydrates. Let your metabolism be your guide. If you metabolize quickly, then a banana or baked potato here and there won’t hurt.
- Eat fruits and vegetables. The berry family is awesome for their high antioxidant content and cell turnover ability.
- Avoid or limit processed and refined foods, such as sodas and other sugary drinks, white flour, white sugar, sweet snacks etc.
- Exercise is extremely important. But, for hormonal imbalance mild, calming exercises are recommended. Avoid high impact cardio, until your hormones have balanced themselves out. Do, however, indulge in short spurts of heavy weight lifting to activate the good hormones in your body.
- Cut back on the caffeine. I know. This one sucks for some of you, but it can disrupt the endocrine (hormone) system. It’s hard to stop anything cold turkey, so gradually phase it out by incorporating herbal teas.
- Manage stress. Deal with the stresses that you encounter. Pray. Breathe. Meditate. But, don’t allow yourself to be at its mercy. Cortisol builds up in the body, during stressful times, and though it’s a beneficial hormone, high amounts can cause undesirable effects like weight gain, fatigue, and depression.
- Get rid of hormone disruptors in your home. Believe it or not, there are lots of them sitting in you kitchen cabinets, refrigerators, and your beauty cabinets. You can get your handy list of the dirty dozen hormone disruptors released by The Environmental Working Group and Keep A Breast foundation. Common ones are BPA, Phthalates, and Parabens.
- Get a handle on your Leptin. Leptin is a hormone secreted by fat cells. I call it the satisfaction hormone. It lets the brain know when we’ve had enough to eat. If it’s out of balance or if you suffer from leptin resistance, there is a breakdown in communication, and the messages sent by leptin are not received by the brain. Other hormonal functions are thus affected. So fixing you leptin can create harmony amongst hormones.
- Get adequate sleep. Our sleep cycle is so very important for our bodies. Lack of sleep causes cortisol to increase and of course, stressful behaviors are linked to high cortisol.
- Supplement daily. Someone once asked me why I take supplements? I do because they provide my body with what I’m unable to obtain naturally. Even though you eat healthy, and exercise and do all the recommended things for a healthy life, the fact is there is no perfect solution. And you’ll never find every single thing you need in any one medium. So sensible supplementation should be a part of your arsenal against hormonal imbalance. Try fish oil for omega-3- fatty acids, Vitamin D if you’re not getting enough sunlight. This is quite common if folks living in temperate climates. My mother this past year had a serious vitamin D deficiency. Maca root is high in essential fatty acids and has been credited with increasing hormone production, better sleep, increased libido, and improved skin.
- There are other ways you can balance your hormones, but these are the ones I rely on to keep me grounded and sane from all the changes that my body has to deal with. If you’re experiencing this problem, do share your management techniques with us.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, health and wellbeing consultant and Qigong instructor. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo and more. She is the founder of Inside Outer Beauty Market, a multi-cultutal retailer curating and creating products to support the body inside and out. Visit the site at www.iobeautymarket.com