I remember scrolling through Tiktok a few weeks ago and came across a fascinating video. A lady asked a gynaecologist how long a regular menstrual cycle should last. He said that when your hormones are optimised and balanced, your cycle should last 2-3 days. During this time, you shouldn’t experience cramps or pain. It had me thinking of how, when I was learning about periods, all I heard was hormonal imbalance but never a way to balance them.
Hormones play a crucial role in your physical, mental and emotional well-being. They help regulate your appetite, weight, menstrual cycle, sexual function and mood. Throughout your lifetime, it is normal for hormones to fluctuate. However, having too little or too much of a particular hormone can affect your health. Common causes of hormonal imbalance include medications, eating disorders, stress, illnesses, trauma or hormone therapy. Check out the signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance here.
Here are a few ways to balance your hormones naturally to maintain a healthy and stress-free lifestyle.
1. Maintaining a Good Diet
Maintaining a balanced diet is essential to balancing your hormones. Proteins provide your body with amino acids that produce peptide hormones. The hormones that are responsible for regulating your metabolism, appetite and stress. Healthy fats are also very essential. Unlike refined carbs, they do not cause inflammation, disrupting your hormone balance. They also boost your metabolism and promote weight loss. Some of the best sources of healthy fats are coconut oil, avocados and salmon. Carbohydrates are also essential; however, it is wise to stay away from processed carbs and refined vegetable seed oil. You should also avoid oils high in omega-6 fats like sunflower oil, corn oil and cotton seed.
2. Getting Sufficient Sleep
If you are a night owl like me, it might be time to change your sleep cycle. Sleeping for less than 7 or 8 hours is one of the contributing factors to hormonal imbalance. Hormones work on a schedule. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is often regulated at midnight. Sleep helps to keep this hormone balanced. As you sleep, your body also recovers and builds energy. A poor sleep cycle increases cortisol levels, which means your productivity also gets disrupted. The higher the cortisol, the more likely you will develop depression and excess weight over time. 7 Ways To Fix Your Sleep Schedule Especially For Those With Irregular Sleep Patterns
3. Exercising Regularly
Regular physical activity is essential. Not only does it increase blood flow, but it also helps to enhance hormone receptor sensitivity, helping the delivery of nutrients and hormone signals. What Type Of Exercises Are Right For You?
4. Taking Care of Your Gut Health
The human body produces more than 100 trillion bacteria responsible for producing numerous metabolites that can affect your hormones negatively or positively. Ensuring your gut is healthy can help to balance the good bacteria as well as balance your hormones. Eating a healthy diet packed with fruits and vegetables and reducing stress factors are ways to support a healthy gut. Lifestyle: 6 Ways To Improve Your Gut Health
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that improve the production of essential hormones like leptin, ghrelin and insulin. They also help to protect your gut lining. You can opt for probiotic capsule supplements or add fermented foods to your daily diet, like yoghurt. Health: Different Types Of Probiotics You Need To Know About
6. Lowering Excess Sugar Intake
Sugar plays a crucial role in your body. However, excess sugar causes obesity and diabetes. Two conditions that make it easier for your hormones to be imbalanced. Added sugar promotes insulin resistance, and constant fructose intake can disrupt the bacteria in the gut. So, if you are a sweet tooth, it might be time to find alternative foods to satisfy your cravings, like fruits. Health: Signs You Are Eating Too Much Sugar
7. Maintaining Moderate Weight
Weight gain leads to complications in insulin sensitivity and reproductive health. Obesity is related to the development of insulin resistance. It also causes a reduction or absence of hormone secretion from the reproductive system. This can easily lead to infertility in both men and women. Losing weight and moderating it is the best way to ensure your hormones are balanced since it reduces your chances of diabetes and heart disease. You can do this by eating healthy portions and regulating calorie intake.
8. Getting a Healthy Dose of Vitamins
When it comes to balancing your hormones, vitamins B and D play a considerable role. Vitamin B complex helps in the production of testosterone and also regulates energy production in the body. Vitamin D is like a hormone in your body, reducing your chances of inflammation. You can opt to take supplements; however, natural foods are the best in vitamin B. Sunshine is the best way to ensure you get enough vitamin D. When exposed to sunlight, your skin makes vitamin D on its own. Health: Benefits And Sources Of Vitamin D
9. Adaptogen Herbs
Adaptogen herbs are unique plants that protect the body against various diseases that cause stress. Aside from regulating stress levels, studies show that adaptogens such as ashwagandha and holy basil can help to:
- Lower your cholesterol levels.
- Reduce depression and anxiety.
- Stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels.
- Improve the function of the thyroid.
10 Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha
10. Working on Balancing Your Emotions
Emotions can also cause hormonal imbalance. Feelings of impatience, unforgiveness and frustration can cause liver issues, leading to estrogen imbalance. Your insulin levels will likely go up if you are constantly worried and anxious. The best way to balance your emotions is to reduce stress levels. You can do this through journaling, practising meditation, breathing exercises or even prayer.
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