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Chemical Intolerance and Chronic Illness

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    5 Ways to Balance Hormones Naturally

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    Hormones are chemical messengers that travel throughout the body instructing various glands and organs to perform a wide range of functions. The correct functioning of these endocrine glands is vital for overall health and wellbeing. Balancing hormones properly requires a delicate, multifaceted approach. For instance, various foods and herbs can impact hormone levels, as well as stress levels, time of the month, and age. Rather than simply eradicating the apparent cause of the imbalance, it’s better to look deeper into the issue, so that imbalances can be avoided in the future.

    To bring balance to hormone levels, one needs to first look at lifestyle factors. Hormones don’t go out of balance in isolation. Instead, they’re responding to our relationships, emotions, diet, reactions, thoughts, and environment. Taking a 360o view of health and wellbeing will allow us to alter our lifestyles so that we can thrive. Instead of looking for short-term fixes to soothe the symptoms, we must look to basic lifestyle factors like circadian rhythms, time spent in nature, sleep, relaxation, and refraining from blue light in the evening, as these alone can disrupt your hormonal balance.

    5 Ways to Naturally Balance Hormones 

    1. Get Regular Exercise & Sweat it Out

    Exercise has a major effect on all aspects of health, such as improving circulation and helping the body detox. Likewise, hormones like insulin, adiponectin, DHEA, and growth hormones are all impacted when we exercise. Just 20 minutes of exercise per day is enough to keep your hormones in check. If walking is all you can do, it’s a great place to start. In one Japanese study walking increased anabolic hormone and skeletal muscle mass in older adults. Movement gets the lymphatic system moving and the blood flowing, allowing the body to cleanse.

    2. Avoid Processed Foods & Alcohol

    Just a few glasses of wine can increase estrogen levels, which can throw hormone balance out of sync. This is especially true for postmenopausal women. Processed foods also contain high levels of refined carbs that turn to sugar in the bloodstream. Insulin is a hormone that’s negatively impacted by consuming processed foods. The fructose that is found in a wide range of processed foods has been found to promote insulin resistance in people with both prediabetes and diabetes.

    3. Eat More Plants for a Hormone Reset

    Plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes are high in fiber and micronutrients that boost overall health. Foods high in fiber include pears (3.1g fiber per 100g), strawberries (2g fiber per 100g), lentils (7.3g fiber per 100g), and popcorn (10.1g fiber per 100g). They also contain antioxidants that help detoxify the body which in turn can help reset hormones.

    4. Prioritize Restorative Sleep

    Sleep is when the body cleanses and renews. Additionally, a lack of high-quality sleep has been found to create an imbalance in several hormones, such as growth hormone, ghrelin, leptin, cortisol, and insulin. Both leptin and ghrelin are believed to contribute to the regulation of food intake. A lack of sleep also activates the sympathetic nervous system (aka the fight-flight-freeze response).

    5. Relaxation & Stress Management

    Stress activates the hormones cortisol and adrenaline, designed to help direct energy into organs of action and away from the body’s core. This system is there to fight off dangerous predators or situations. Today, stress hormones are often activated due to burnout from a hectic modern lifestyle, as chronic stress is a growing problem in the US. According to the American Institute of Stress (AIS), a massive 77% of people say that they experience stress that impacts their physical health and 73% say that stress impacts their mental health.

    Symptoms of a Hormonal Imbalance

    The following symptoms could indicate a potential hormonal imbalance:

    • Heart palpitations or decreased heart rate
    • Joint pain
    • Stiffness
    • Night sweats
    • Frequent urination 
    • Fine or thinning hair
    • Dry skin, acne
    • Depression or anxiety
    • Irritability
    • Fatigue
    • Weight gain or weight loss
    • Skin tags

    While the symptoms above don’t necessarily mean that a hormonal imbalance is present, they could be important indicators. Hormonal imbalances can lead to the development of other conditions such as diabetes, thyroiditis, underactive or overactive thyroid, and Cushing’s syndrome. Therefore it pays to take measures to make healthy lifestyle choices to naturally balance your hormone levels.

    The Bottom Line

    Seeking early treatment for hormonal imbalances is vital to avoid the domino effect of chronic conditions. Healthy lifestyle choices are a great way to balance hormones naturally. Taking micro-steps is often better than going all out. Perhaps choose one of the steps above and work on it for a short period of time before incorporating the next. Remember it’s about slow, steady progress towards a healthier lifestyle, rather than a quick fix.

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