How to balance them naturally.
In a healthy body our hormones have a multitude of functions. They act as messengers, sending signals throughout the body to your organs, your skin and other tissues. They tell the body what to do and when. They are responsible for innumerable functions like your reproductive system, your energy levels, how well you sleep. In essence hormones keep your whole system working together as one unit.
Science has identified over 50 hormones so far. Hormones are made of proteins, so it is essential to have a good variety of high-quality protein in your diet to make sure that your body works optimally and you stay shining bright and energetic every day!
What can go wrong?
Many people suﬀer with an imbalance of hormones. Symptoms of these imbalances can be any or all of the following, this list is not exhaustive:
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Sleep disturbances
- Goitre (swelling in the neck)
- A lack of energy
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
- Increased or decreased heart rate
- Puffy face
- Redness in the skin
- Depression or anxiety
Our diet and lifestyle is the environment our hormones are created in. If the environment doesn’t give the right ingredients to make the hormones we need or if we eat toxic food, we leave our hormones with extra work to firefight problems that could be avoided, easily disrupting our finely tuned hormonal balance.
Sadly, today’s lifestyle is often too busy and stressful. To cope we might grab a toxic soda or fast -food burger for lunch on the go, we may skip a workout, we might eat sugary foods for comfort and not make time to prepare healthy food for ourselves.
Our hormones are made from quality proteins found in organic meat and fish, pulses, and nuts/ seeds. Hormones also need micronutrients like Vitamins A and C, found in vegetables of many colours. In particular Vitamin B6 is essential for a balance of hormones, as is Vitamin D3.
Here are my recommendations for optimal hormonal balance:
- Remove all processed white foods from your diet, there is no place for white bread/flour products, white pasta or white sugar at all. If you must eat these foods, opt for organic and wholegrain/ wholefood versions only. Eat a rainbow of colours of vegetables, in particular making sure you have orange and green colours every day as these convey vitamin A and a huge range of minerals and phytochemicals that boost health and energy levels. Foods that contain vitamin D3 include free range eggs, oily fish like mackerel and sardines and of course getting out into the sunshine every day gives your body the sunlight it needs to produce D3. Vitamin D is a common deficiency, yet it is essential for a healthy immune system and for hormonal health. The B ranges of vitamins are found in salmon, tuna, liver, beef, carrots, eggs, sweet potato, green beans and many more. B6 is in so many foods that to rebalance your hormones simply opt for one B6 rich food in each meal, the variety is so wide that it’s easy to follow when you know how.
- Black Cohosh is an oestrogenic herbal supplement, meaning that it can help to rebalance hormones and reduces symptoms of the menopause like hot flashes and night sweats.
- Maca root is an adaptogenic herb from Peru which targets the hormonal system, rebalancing where it is needed. It doesn’t contain oestrogen compounds, but it contains the ingredients needed by your body to produce the right hormones when it is needed. Maca can rebalance hormones of the reproductive system as well as the thyroid and especially with an underactive thyroid.
- Ashwaghanda is also adaptogenic and great for bringing stress hormones like cortisol back into alignment. It boosts testosterone in men and balances oestrogen in women, it has even been shown to reduce inflammation and kill cancer cells.
- Chaste berry is shown to relieve symptoms of PMS and breast pain.
- Soya is one food to be avoided as it is a highly genetically modified. The body can create and metabolise its own oestrogen from the range of healthy foods above, there is no need to include Soya. If you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, simply including a range of pulses and nuts and seeds will provide suﬃcient protein throughout the day for optimal hormone synthesis.
- Light exercise is really important, as well as getting enough rest. Look to move for between 30-60 minutes every day, taking a brisk walk or a pilates class will be suﬃcient to get blood circulating the nutrients from your diet around your body so that you can make the hormones you need to.
As with everything natural, it takes time to rebalance so consistently keeping toxic foods out of your diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will build up over time and you will notice gradual results that last.
Note: With all hormone rebalancing herbs, speak with your healthcare provider or naturopathic practitioner before starting a course. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding some of these herbs may be unsuitable. If you have breast cancer, then you must avoid all oestrogenic herbs and foods.
Main Photo by Bruno Cervera