Hormonal imbalances occur when your body over or under produces a certain hormone. The most common culprits behind hormonal fluctuation include causes such as illness, pregnancy, menstrual cycles, menopause, hormonal birth control, and more.
Hormonal imbalances can have a pretty significant impact on your quality of life, affecting you mentally, physically, and emotionally.
General fluctuations within a healthy range are usually considered normal. However, larger or ongoing imbalances may contribute to a higher risk of many health concerns.
The average busy modern lifestyle is designed in a way that puts additional stress on your endocrine system, such as lack of sleep, stress, anxiety, poor diet, and more.
Aging also contributes to the decrease of certain key hormones, leaving you more prone to suffer various fluctuations. In other words, hormonal imbalances are widespread and very common in today's world. You're not alone!
Luckily, there are many steps we can take to support our endocrine system and overall hormone health. Restoring your hormones to their natural, happy, and balanced state is possible with the right lifestyle choices and the right nutrients, through diet and supplementation.
Here are some of the top lifestyle factors to consider when starting a new healthy hormone-balancing routine.
Top lifestyle factors for healthy hormones
1. Get adequate sleep
The systems in your body responsible for hormone balance are hard at work repairing and restoring themselves while you’re asleep. This is why it’s crucial to consistently get enough quality sleep, ideally a minimum of 7-8 hours of shut eye each night. Chronic sleep loss has been linked to a disruption in many key health-supporting hormones, including leptin, cortisol, and ghrelin.
2. Eat a nutrient-rich, whole foods diet
We’re sure you know by now that the food can be our greatest medicine or poison, depending upon the choices we make. Try to follow a clean, plant-based, and whole foods diet to ensure that you’re getting the majority of your required hormone-balancing vitamins and nutrients from your diet.
This means plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fibers, lean proteins, and legumes, while limiting your intake of excessive processed foods, refined carbohydrates, fried foods, alcohol, and artificial sugar. Generally keeping unhealthy foods at a minimum with an “everything in moderation” mindset can help you keep cravings and binges under control.
Foods that your endocrine system will thank you for include dark, leafy greens like kale and chard, as well as broccoli, almonds, eggs, avocado, quinoa, and lentils.
3. Stay active
Being physically active is one of the most powerful natural ways to keep your hormones functioning correctly. A combination of aerobic and resistance training has been clinically shown to be most effective for hormone balance, but even regular walking can have positive hormone-regulating effects over time.
Studies show that when it comes to keeping your hormones in check, regularly getting out for some exercise is far more important than the intensity of the exercise, so don’t fret if you’re not able to perform rigorous exercise.
Physical activity helps decrease insulin levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and preserve muscle-maintaining hormones that decline with age such as testosterone and DHEA.
4. Manage stress levels
One undervalued key factor in hormonal health is positive stress management. Keeping stress levels to a minimum, as well as maintaining a positive and calm mindset, are both essential when it comes to keeping your hormones balanced.
When left unchecked, stress can wreak absolute havoc on your endocrine system and result in chronically elevated adrenaline and cortisol levels (the “stress hormone”). Activities such as yoga, journaling, meditation, reading, and relaxing music are just some ideas for how to better cope with stressful times.
5. Eat regular, calorie-appropriate meals
If there’s anything your hormones hate, it’s regularly starving your body, followed by periods of overeating. Studies generally show that the best way to avoid unwelcome hormonal shifts and spikes in cortisol is to eat the right amount of calories for your body at mealtime, and to try to avoid chronically over or undereating.
Your endocrine system requires specific nutrients to perform optimally and keep your hormones in check. Since most of us don’t follow a perfect diet 100% of the time, adding some of the below nutritional supplements can help fill in the gaps and support healthy hormone function.
5 Supplements That Promote Hormone Balance
This mineral-dense adaptogenic herb has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for its many health-supporting qualities. Ashwagandha shows promising potential to support endocrine function by improving communication within this complex system, as well as enhancing adrenal function, decreasing cortisol, supporting healthy blood flow, and more.
These benefits make it a popular supplement for individuals suffering from fertility, menstrual, and libido-related imbalances. These reasons make it a must have in many of our holistic supplements, like our Primal Greens superfood blend.
This mineral is absolutely vital when it comes to repairing hormonal imbalances, from PMS to PCOS and perimenopause. And although magnesium is essential to healthy hormone levels, it’s also widely lacking in the vast majority of our diets (especially women).
In your body, magnesium functions to help calm your nervous system, regulate cortisol levels, improve sleep quality, support thyroid health, and allows your body to create the important hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Consuming a moderate amount of healthy fats with each meal has been shown to have a positive effect on hormones. One healthy fat in particular known as MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) are derived from coconut or palm oil and have been shown to be particularly helpful in increasing insulin sensitivity and enhancing the production of hormones responsible for appetite control. This healthy fat may also help boost athletic endurance, promote healthy metabolism, decrease cravings, and enhance overall wellness.
Curcumin, the powerful active compound in turmeric, has been shown in some studies to have a positive effect on many hormone-sensitive conditions and fertility issues. This potent antioxidant has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and may help promote healthy inflammatory responses, support liver health and detoxification, and improve estrogen metabolism, all of which are essential for hormone balance. Always be sure to look out for high-quality turmeric supplements with a high concentration of curcumin extract (standardized to 95% curcuminoids) and a patented black pepper extract for maximum benefits.
The quality of your gut health has a huge impact on the rest of your overall wellness, especially when it comes to hormone health. Taking a high quality, diverse strain probiotic supplement can help replenish healthy gut bacteria, improve digestion, enhance mood, boost immunity, and support hormone balance. Studies have shown probiotics to have especially unique benefits when it comes to female hormone health by supporting fertility, thyroid function, preventing vaginal and urinary tract infections, and supporting a healthy pregnancy.
More top choices for hormone balance:
- Vitamin C
- B Vitamins (especially B6)
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