Natural Hormone Balancing Made Simple

Natural Hormone Balancing Made Simple

Natural Hormone Balancing Made Simple

Natural Hormone Balancing Made Simple

Natural Hormone Balancing Made Simple

Hormones impact our entire body. They keep the body ticking over from brain health to organ function, reproduction, and energy levels. But, as essential as hormones may be, they've gotten a bad reputation. To name just a few: mood swings, weight gain, muscle fatigue, changing hair patterns, or sex drive – hormones are the first to be blamed when things go awry.  

The thing is, hormones do so many wonderful things too. They help us love, relieve pain, sleep, learn and laugh. It's all about balance. When one is out of whack, its effect ripples. We want to highlight easy lifestyle and diet choices you can make to naturally keep the peace. Firstly, here's a short lesson on hormone 101.

A quick lesson in hormones

Our bodies are home to over 50 different hormones, and these little communicators control or regulate many vital biological processes. They're created by the endocrine system and travel around the bloodstream, attaching to cells and delivering messages about what to do. 

We're not going to name them all, but here are some you may have heard of:

  • Melatonin – referred to as the sleep hormone, melatonin is produced in the brain when it gets dark. It tells our body to transition into restful sleep. Light inhibits production, closely linking it to a natural circadian rhythm
  • Insulin – made in the pancreas, insulin helps the body regulate blood sugar, fat, and metabolism. Many cells use insulin to convert blood glucose into energy. Low levels, or low response to insulin, are associated with diabetes
  • Estrogen and testosterone – these sex hormones help women and men with their sexual and reproductive development. They tell bodies how to look and feel during puberty and are essential in how and when the body can reproduce
  • Dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin – the 'feel good' hormones. Dopamine is a reward system flooding the body with feelings of pleasure. Serotonin is linked to positivity and good mood, while oxytocin is the love hormone, essential for childbirth and breastfeeding 
  • Cortisol and adrenaline – the 'stress' hormones. These warn the body to protect itself, triggering a fight or flight response. Good if you're running from a predator, but too much leads to chronic disease.

As you can see, hormones have many jobs to do. Here's how we can keep them in balance, working for rather than against us.

 

The importance of exercise and rest

Hormones reflect lifestyle. Too much pressure and worry will inevitably see cortisol and adrenaline take over. Luckily, exercise has been proven to help recalibrate the system. It reduces adrenaline and cortisol and releases dopamine, serotonin, testosterone, and estrogen. Don't worry, it doesn't have to be vigorous exercise – in fact, over-exercising can increase stress hormones, so listen to your body. Yoga, pilates, or long walks have balancing benefits as much as a HIIT session. 

Exercise is a double whammy as it also helps maintain a healthy weight. Weight is intrinsically linked to hormone harmony, with too much leading to insulin sensitivity and reproductive hormone problems.

Alongside exercise, reducing stress via mindfulness and meditation is another natural way to maintain healthy hormone function. Reducing cortisol once again, meditation can boost melatonin, dopamine, and a hormone called DHEA. This is a building block for other hormones and reduces inflammation. 

Meditation leads us nicely to rest. Taking time out and getting restorative sleep is essential for hormone balance. Sleep deprivation is linked to – you guessed it – higher cortisol levels. Not getting enough pillow time can also promote insulin resistance and reduced testosterone. So, snuggle up, turn down the lights to release that melatonin, and enjoy your rest. 

 

Eating for hormone harmony

Exercise and rest are one half of the story; the other is diet. Take sugar. Studies have shown that overindulging can turn off the gene that regulates testosterone and estrogen. Sugar also stresses the regulation of cortisol and aldosterone (a blood pressure hormone), and the thyroid. All this leads to less manageable stress levels, leaving us feeling and looking wired, tired, rundown, and anxious. 

Sugar knows what it's doing, though. When we eat it, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin. It makes us happy, but ultimately the impact is negative. With all this in mind, reducing sugar is hugely beneficial for hormone health, so seek out sugar-free or low sugar alternatives. 

Then there's gut health. Our guts are home to 100 trillion bacteria, known as our microbiome, and this has an influence on modulating hormones. The microbiome loves nothing more than diversity. Feeding it with a variety of vegetables, legumes, beans, fruit, fermented foods, and whole grains is a sure-fire way to keep it happy and, in turn, influence great hormone health. Read our article about gut health and probiotics to get even more gut-health tips.

 Finally, there are healthy fats - think olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, and fish. These are rich in omega 3's, which have been shown to manage blood sugar levels, balance estrogen, and prevent an increase in cortisol. 

  

Would you believe it, we've only scratched the surface on hormone health. Hormones are misunderstood, often blamed when in reality, they have meaningful jobs around the body. The bottom line: looking after ourselves and them reaps rewards, leaving us healthier, happier people. 

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