Hormones are a molecule in the body. There are many different types of hormones in varying degrees in male and female bodies. All hormones originate within the endocrine system. Each has a purpose and greatly influences everything from growth and development to sexual function, metabolism, and mood. When hormones are out of balance, it affects your emotional and physical well-being.
What do you need to know about hormone health and hormone balancing?
Hormones affect a variety of functions in the body. For example:
A variety of issues can lead to hormonal imbalance. For example:
Diet plays a vital role in the balance of hormones. Certain foods improve or interfere with the body’s hormonal balance.
One of the best things you can do if you experience hormone imbalance is to improve your diet. A well-balanced diet is essential to overall health, including hormone levels. Eating too much leads to weight gain and also raises insulin resistance and the risk of diabetes. This, in turn, makes it more difficult to lose weight. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Caffeine and alcohol also interfere with hormonal balance. Studies have shown that both increase cortisol secretion.
Not getting enough quality sleep affects the functions of the body, including its production of hormones. Lack of sleep also increases your hunger and your stress and insulin levels.
Again, this is a vicious cycle. Lack of sleep causes hormone imbalance which makes it difficult to sleep. It also affects the body’s ability to process glucose, which puts you at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Improper sleep affects thyroid function, leptin levels, ghrelin production, sex hormones, and the function of the adrenal glands. It lowers testosterone levels, lowers libido, makes it difficult to concentrate, and lowers energy levels.
There are several things you can do to better balance your hormones and eliminate hormonal imbalances. Supplemental hormone therapy is an option in some cases, but there are many other things you can do on your own to improve your hormone balance and overall health.
You can balance your hormones naturally by:
Your body needs fat to create hormones. Fats reduce inflammation and boost your metabolism. Healthy fats including avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, and wild-caught salmon that are high in omega-3 fatty acids offer antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, fat-burning benefits.
Conversely, processed carbs, sugar, and refined vegetable and seed oils trigger hormone imbalance. Avoiding processed foods, eating a healthy diet, focusing on weight loss if you’re overweight, and ensuring the foods you eat don’t cause your body to produce too much or too little insulin helps you achieve hormone balancing naturally.
Women can use food to deal with the natural hormone fluctuations that occur due to their menstrual cycle. The food you eat affects your mood, your energy, and your overall well-being. Exercise is also an important part of avoiding drastic hormonal changes linked to reproductive activity. In many cases, simple life changes are enough to help balance hormones and naturally improve health and well-being.
Ideally, you’ll get everything your body needs from the foods you eat, but this is rarely the case. Supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals ensures you’re getting what you need to keep your hormones in balance.
Supplements that promote healthy hormone levels include evening primrose oil, vitamin D, probiotics, bone broth, and adaptogen herbs. Improving your supplement regime might be enough to alleviate hormonal imbalances.
To deal with hormones naturally, adaptogens including ashwagandha, medicinal mushrooms, holy basil, and rhodiola promote:
3. Deal with any emotional imbalances.
Our emotions are linked to the function of our bodies, especially when it comes to hormones. Reducing stress levels by meditating, spending time outdoors, exercising, or through deep breathing exercises helps your body better balance hormones.
4. If possible, avoid medications including birth control.
Certain medications affect hormone balance.
5. Make quality sleep a priority.
Hormones work on a schedule. When you interfere with that schedule by not getting enough sleep, you affect the production of hormones. The resulting imbalance of hormones then interferes with sleep quality creating a problematic cycle.
The endocrine system is responsible for coordinating the relationship between hormones and the body. It’s made up of organs including the thyroid, ovaries, testicles, pancreas, and the pituitary and adrenal glands that manufacture and release hormones into the body.
Once released, hormones target cells and tissues, sending chemical messages to help the body perform its daily functions. When the endocrine system isn’t functioning properly, hormonal imbalances are likely to occur.
Often when your hormones are in balance, you’ll notice nothing. You’ll feel your best and your body performs optimally. Most of the time, you only notice an issue with your hormones when there is a problem or when you fix a problem and your health improves.
People whose hormones are in balance experience:
In general and when otherwise healthy, someone with balanced hormones feels healthy, energetic, alert, and content. Balancing hormones helps you achieve this overall feeling of good health. If you are experiencing poor health and no other diseases and conditions are present, a hormonal imbalance could be the cause.
The Ultimate Guide to At-Home Hormone Testing: What you need to know.
Marks, Vincent. “How Our Food Affects Our Hormones.” Clinical Biochemistry, vol. 18, no. 3, June 1985, pp. 149–153, 10.1016/s0009-9120(85)80099-0.
“Hormones and the Endocrine System.” Www.hopkinsmedicine.org, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/hormones-and-the-endocrine-system#. Accessed 19 May 2021.