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Alongside poor gut health, bad hormonal health is one of the top contributing factors to health issues in women. This article discusses natural solutions for women’s hormone imbalances.
What causes, increased body weight, hot flashes, night sweats, cravings, lack of sleep in women especially those going through perimenopause and menopause?
The answer is hormonal imbalance!
What Is Hormonal Imbalance?
Hormonal imbalance affects women both physically and emotionally.
Women’s hormone imbalances occur when the endocrine glands in the body that make up the hormonal or endocrine system produce too much or too little of the particular hormone it is responsible for. This imbalance can occur for many reasons but most commonly due to poor diet and lack of exercise.
The endocrine system is composed of different glands that are connected to each other.
It regulates the natural functions of your body, including metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, reproduction, sexuality and mood.
These natural functions are balanced by hormones which are released into your blood by these glands. These hormones travel around you body via the bloodstream, helping to control important functions such as hunger, moods and blood pressure.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance In Women?
In the case of poor hormonal health we can experience a range of symptoms:
- Weight gain, hot flashes, night sweats
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Dry Skin
- Having low libido or even experiencing difficulties in relationships
- Not being able to fall asleep at night
- Feeling moody and irritable during the day
- Unstable body temperature (hot flashes)
- Hormonal imbalance can affect women of all ages.
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Some specific issues connected with some of the most common hormonal imbalances include:
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Weight issues, hair loss, acne.
Weight problems, fibroids, depression, low libido and fatigue.
Fatigue, forgetfulness, dry skin and hair, weight gain.
Nerve damage, vision loss, weight gain, heart disease and stroke.
Chronic fatigue, aches, pains, and poor sleep.
What Are The Hormones That Cause These Symptoms?
There are many natural solutions to be able to balance your hormones naturally.
I will cover the most important ones needed for natural hormonal balance:
Keeping the stress hormone cortisol happy is a fine balance. If this is consistently too high or too low you can feel fatigued.
This is the fight or flight hormone. It is released in response to a stressful, exciting, dangerous, or threatening situation.
Even if minds are only thinking about a stressful situation they can’t perceive that it isn’t happening at that exact moment.
So you may not be actually right in the middle of some yell fest with the company that supplies your god awful slow internet. Right now you’re just lying in bed and imagining the call that you are going to make to the company whose contract with you is on shaky ground.
In both cases, adrenaline is released. At night this could cause restlessness and lack of sleep.
Overtime excessive adrenaline can cause high blood pressure, and elevate your risk of heart attacks or stroke. Weight gain, anxiety, and insomnia could also show up.
If your thyroid hormones are out of balance you might experience tiredness, depression, dry skin, brain fog and increased weight as well as several other issues.
Estrogen is a hormone that is mainly responsible for menstruation and reproduction. It also affects your mood, memory an boned density.
If too much estrogen is present you can experience breast tenderness, menstrual cramps and heavy bleeding.
Estrogen dominance may also lead to mood swings along with low libido, hot flashes and night sweats (which is an absolute nightmare for me as I sweat like a man in the gym).
Progesterone is a progestin hormone that is naturally produced by the body and given to women during hormone therapy.
This natural hormone helps you sleep, reduces hot flashes and night sweats through regulating your menstrual cycle.
Low progesterone can also lead to infertility and sparse or lack of periods.
The male hormone is still present in women, even though in much smaller amounts. Its natural purpose is to stimulate libido, give energy and increase sex drive.
When there are too little of this natural hormone you might experience lack of motivation, lack of energy, poor mental performance, lower self-confidence or even depression.
Too much of this and you might notice excessive hair on your face and arms, acne or even polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Not enough and there is the possibility of gaining weight and fatigue.
This natural hormone is produced by the body and regulates blood sugar. It also helps you feel full, which will naturally lower your cravings for food.
If your insulin levels are too high it can led to insulin resitance which can cause an increase in weight and Type 2 Diabetes.
Being resistant can show up as cravings for sweets, tiredness after eating, increased thirst, or difficulty losing weight.
If your levels of insulin are too low it might lead to fatigue.
Healthy Foods to Help Restore Hormone imbalance
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussel sprouts are all natural foods that are high in nutrients. They might be able to help you restore hormone levels because they contain natural phytonutrients that potently block estrogen production.
They also support the liver in processing hormones and moving them out of your system.
My favourite veg dish to eat is baked Brussel sprouts. Quarter and bake them on an oven tray on medium drizzled with plenty of olive oil and salt and pepper. Make sure you throw in all of the outer leaves, when they go brown and crispy they are delish!
Foods high in B5 and B6
Lentils, beans, avocados, sweet potatoes, tuna and turkey are all good sources of these and will support the natural production of cortisol.
Foods high in Vitamins D, E and Manganese
These keep the pituitary gland contented, so red meat, fish, eggs, nuts, leafy greens, avocados, slmonds and seeds are good for it.
Also pineapple, acai and dark chocolate. I’m pretty sure there could be a delicious dessert to be whipped up with those last three. In researching this I came across this recipe with the hilarious description of insomnia. I can so relate at the moment
These fats help natural hormone production, so avocados, fish oils, nuts and seeds are a good natural source.
Also coconut oil which is high in natural saturated fat that can support your natural cholesterol levels.
The pancreas is a fan of olive oil, so have at it. I prefer drizzling it instead of butter. Or, another little hint, if you freeze some in a jar and then chill it when it’s cold, it tastes like a spread.
These contain essential amino acids that your body is unable to produce itself. High quality protein will increase fat burning and metabolsim making weight loss easier.
In addition protein makes you feel satisfied and will help keep your hunger hormone in check.
Instead of coffee have a natural green tea to help balance blood sugar and natural energy.
It also helps the natural production of cortisol, so it is a natural stress reliever.
Chamomile Tea for those nights when you want to relax but can’t sleep. It has natural melatonin that will help you drift off.
Foods high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Salmon, avocados and olive oil are high in natural Omega 3 fatty acids which aid hormone production.
Sage, ginger, fennel and parsley also aid in improving hormone levels.
For healthy function, the thyroid likes its nuts and vegetables, particularly cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and Brussel sprouts. My favourite veg to eat is baked Brussel sprouts. Quarter and bake them on an oven tray on medium drizzled with plenty of EVO and salt and pepper. Make sure you throw in all of the outer leaves, when they go brown and crispy they are delish!
Gluten is one you particularly want to avoid for decent thyroid function. I recommend getting rid of it altogether. It has no positive function in a healthy diet.
Unhealthy Foods To Avoid
They are easy to spot because every other article on healthy food spouts their evil doings.
- Sugar – natural sugar is found in fruit and natural sugars are OK. You want to avoid natural or artificial sugars that aren’t natural to the body, like alcohol sugars. These promote insulin resistance which leads to hormonal issues
- Saturated fats – Animal fat leads to hormonal imbalance as it is pro inflammatory.
- Processed carbs – Foods high in refined carbs will raise insulin and testosterone levels which is a common factor in PCOS. You could also: experience intensified menopause symptoms, and as they also promote insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes. Or suffer anxiety or depression, have poor digestion and more.
- Too much caffeine – notice I say “too much” because one cup actually does some good and there is no way in hell or on earth that I will be giving that up! After that there are some very acceptable herbal teas which will do the job of a hot drink quite nicely.
- Excess alcohol
- High fructose corn syrup – This is shown be a higher contributing factor in obesity than sugar. It also promotes,diabetes and inflammation. This is definitely an ingredient to steer clear of.
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Avoid chemicals that can disrupt hormones
These can be found in pesticides, plastics, household cleaners, skin care products and makeup.
Consider switching to natural skin care products which I personally think are nicer and often far less expensive. See my post:
Avoid heating food in plastic and make your own natural cleaners.
Improve the indoor air quality in your home with plants. The jade, or money plant is one of the highest air cleaners in the plant world so maybe consider a couple of those placed in strategic positions. It helps that they are pretty nice to look at too.
Make your own cleaners with vinegar, bicarb soda and essential oils or opt for a natural cleaner like Koh.
Dietary Supplements To Help Improve Your Hormone Levels
I have lots of natural supplements to recommend.
These are natural bacteria that aid hormone production, so eating foods with natural bacteria will help your body function how it should. Fermentedbeverages such as kombucha are the best, I have some on hand at home all the time.
For muscle and nerve function as well as energy and healthy blood circulation.
Brazil nuts are good natural source of Magnesium – eat three per day maximum!
This natural vitamin has hormone promoting properties, so you want it in your daily diet. It is a fabulous mood leveler.
Herbs To Improve Hormone Imbalance
Vitex Agnus Castus
This natural supplement of fruit works on the pituitary gland which controls hormone production. It has hormone balancing properties without negative side effects.
How to Take Vitex Agnus-Castus – You want to start with a small dose and build up, so it doesn’t shock your system too much.
The natural extract of black cohosh acts on the pituitary gland to control estrogen levels. It is best taken with magnesium at night before bed, so it can work while you are sleeping. Magnesium also helps balance adrenal function which will have its own knock on benefits for hormone levels.
Good natural source of natural enzymes which aid hormone production. Maca root is also good for energy and stress relief, so it’s an all-rounder.
Ashwagandha is one of the most significant adaptogenic herbs used in Ayurveda, natural medicine from India. It is not recommended to take with Vitex, so avoid the two together.
Is a natural supplement derived from cruciferous vegetables which can help balance estrogen levels and reduce bloating. You will often see a lot of natural detox programs offering DIM as a natural remedy for
Other Natural Remedies For Hormonal Imbalance In Women
It is standard to include exercise.
When you start exercising, the thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the body’s temperature, heart rate and blood pressure.
The pituitary gland releases human growth hormone while exercising, which tells the body to increase bone, muscle and tissue production.
Exercise even makes you feel good. It releases natural mood enhancing chemicals, so it’s great for women who are depressed due to hormonal imbalance.
Acupuncture And Acupressure For Hormonal Imbalance In Women
The natural benefits of both acupuncture and acupressure are to improve the function of endocrine glands, which regulate hormones.
Yoga works to create natural balance in the mind and the body. It improves hormonal output and natural endocrine function, which will then regulate hormone levels.
Try for 10 minutes minimum of a stress-reducing activity such as yoga, meditation or reading.
Meditation also relieves stress, which is known to have a positive affect on hormone balance. It works to regulate natural hormone production in the body and keep stress hormones level.
Stress relieving activities are best done at least twice daily.
This is also great natural treatment for hormonal imbalance in women. Massage reduces cortisol levels which contribute to stress, anxiety and depression.
Regular natural massage can positively affect hormones, relieve symptoms of menopause, PMS and perimenopause.
Get enough quality sleep
Stop watching Netflix and go to bed at a reasonable time. Try to get at least 7 hours.
While you sleep, your body is going about its business of repair and maintenance which includes removing toxins, recharging the mind, and creating hormones. Losing sleep has a negative impact on hormone imbalance.
For a comprensive look at how sleep can impact your midlife see:
Long and hard exercise can actually spike your stress levels causing hormonal imbalance.
Do a mix of easy aerobic or high intensity interval training and resistance training. Walk up a hill. Use weights. Try multi-tasking, walk and meditate. Cycle, swim or dance. What ever keeps you moving at an easy pace.
The Bottom Line
You need your hormones levels to be in balance for your body to function optimally. If you have a hormone imbalance you risk developing health issues such as heart disease, insulin resistance, diabetes and more.
Menopause and ageing can make it difficult to keep your hormones balanced but follow the tips in this post and you should have them doing a happy dance.
Your hormones are involved in every part of your body’s functions. They are delivered to where they are needed in exact amounts so your body can function optimally.
As with any health reset eating nutritious healthy foods, exercising regularly, keeping stress to a minimum and getting plenty of sleep can go a long way to getting back on track to optimal health and wellness.
Hormone health will reduce menopausal symptoms and give you better quality of life and isn’t that what we’re aiming for?
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I naturally balance my hormones during perimenopause and menopause?
- Eat a healthy diet adequate in high-quality protein. …
- Cut out processed foods and foods high in sugar and refined carbs. …
- Eat plenty of healthy fats. …
- Drink green tea. …
- Include soluble fibre in your diet. …
- Avoid chemicals that can disrupt hormones. …
- Manage your stress levels. …
- Get plenty of good quality sleep. …
- Move. …
2. What foods cause hormonal imbalance?
- Sugar. …
- Saturated Fats. …
- Processed carbs. …
- Too much caffeine. …
- Excess alcohol. …
3. What foods help hormone imbalance?
Good quality meats, fish, eggs, nuts, leafy greens, healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado, seeds, green tea and foods rich Vit b5 and b6 such as lentils and turkey.