Hormonal imbalances in women can have many causes, both naturally occurring and caused by our lifestyle choices. Some of the most common causes of hormonal imbalance are stress, contraceptive pills, bad diet, medicines like antidepressants, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and thyroid issues.
You may have experience with one or more of these causes, and often felt the effects on your hormonal balance, like feeling increasingly stressed, having poor sleep, putting on or losing weight unintentionally, and having bad PMS or period pains.
While solving hormonal imbalance isn't easy, there are certain concrete steps that anyone can start taking today to work towards hormonal harmony. These are our top 5 tips for regulating your hormones and bringing greater balance to your emotional and physical health.
1. Examine your diet
It's easy to rely on processed foods as a quick and cheap way to stay full throughout the day. But these food are often high in added sugars, trans fats, and artificial ingredients, and low in important vitamins and minerals. They can trigger inflammation, mood swings and, at worst, diabetes.
Eating a diet that is rich in whole, unprocessed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, can help to balance hormones. Keep an eye out for our other posts on what to eat for positive periods and hormonal happiness!
2. Exercise however you can
The gym isn't for everyone, but that doesn't mean that you can't incorporate even some light exercise into your daily life. Studies show that regular cardio improves the mood, erases fatigue, and reduces the risk of developing depression in women.
Even going out for a walk in nature is a great way to get the blood flowing. Some fresh air never goes amiss either, and time spent in nature is proven to help boost the mood! Other medium-intense exercises like Yoga and Pilates can also be done from the comfort of your home, and there are plenty of free resources out there for you to get started!
3. Manage your stress
The stress hormone, cortisol, not only brings the mood down, but an excess can lead to chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. I'm a big fan of reflective methods of stress-relief, like reflecting through journaling, practicing meditation, or going for a long walk in a natural setting.
Other ways to manage stress can include...well, nothing! Often we feel like we have to be busy and productive to live a worthwhile life, but rest is just as important as activity. Make sure you take time out to sleep, watch TV, read books, and generally remove yourself from the stresses of day to day life. You'll be surprised how much better you'll feel!
4. Take your supplements
Certain herbs and supplements may help to balance hormones by regulating the production of certain hormones or reducing inflammation. Chasteberry and black cohosh are used to help regulate the menstrual cycle and balance levels of estrogen and progesterone. Yams and Dong quai are popular estrogen and progesterone balancers. And don't forget the vitamins: B6 and E!
It always seem like a basic answer, but often simple is best! Getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep a day allows the body to rest, repair, and rejuvenate. A good night's sleep reduces cortisol levels, helping you destress, and helps regulate estrogen levels, which can help prevent unwanted weight gain and symptoms of depression.
You don't need to buy all the fancy gadgets your favourite celebs and influencers are touting online in order to stay happy and healthy. Taking steps to change your basic lifestyle and routine is always a best first step before spending your hard-earned cash on any miracle products!