Hormone imbalance is a real struggle for many of us and an increasing number of women are shunning pharmaceuticals and looking into natural ways to balance hormones.
As our bodies chemical messengers, hormones are vital to a wide range of different biological processes including things like metabolism, sexual function, reproduction and mood. The production of hormones is a complex process which depends on having a ready supply of amines, proteins and peptides which are made from chains of amino acids, and steroids which are derived from cholesterol.
Hormone imbalances therefore depend on things like dietary factors which can cause problems simply because the body doesn’t have the building blocks to make them. But environmental factors as well as endocrine disruptors can also be problematic as they interfere with our bodies ability to manufacture hormones correctly, causing “mutant” hormones. Add to that the fact that on any given day, a woman’s body will have fluctuations in hormones like estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, lutenizing hormone, prolactin, oxytocin, leptin, ghrelin, thyroid hormones, melatonin, serotonin and others, it is no wonder that hormone imbalances are increasingly common.
Luckily there are some easy and natural ways to balance your hormones. Obviously diet is an important part of this process, but there are also a few other things you can do to help your body reset itself.
7 NATURAL WAYS TO BOOST FERTILITY
1. Eat Enough Healthy Fats
As literally the building blocks for hormone production, Omega-3s and saturated fats are vital for proper cell function and especially for hormone function. When our bodies have an inadequate amount of these fats, it must use what is available, relying on lower quality polyunsaturated fats.
These types of fats are less stable and oxidize easily in the body, leading to inflammation and mutations within the body.
In our current western diets we’re consuming way too much omega-6 fatty acids from polyunsaturated vegetable oils, while not consuming nearly enough of the beneficial Omega-3s and saturated fats.
Eat More of These Foods:
- Coconut oil is amazing for hormone health as it provides all the necessary building blocks for hormone production, assist weight loss, reduce inflammation, and even has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
- Avocado can help manage stress hormones and control your menstrual cycle. The plant sterols present in avocados have an effect on estrogen and progesterone, the two hormones responsible for regulating ovulation and menstrual cycles. They also contain beta-sitosterol, which effect blood cholesterol levels and help balance the stress hormone cortisol.
- Flaxseed has all sorts of benefits for hormone balance as it’s a significant source of phytoestrogens, especially lignin’s which have both an estrogenic and antiestrogenic effect. Flax seed is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants.
- Broccoli can also work to balance your hormones by helping to maintain estrogen balance. And since it is high phytoestogenic compounds broccoli may also promote beneficial estrogen metabolism.
- Pomegranate is filled with antioxidant and can help block excess estrogen production in the body.
- Fatty fish like salmon mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, or albacore tuna are high in omega-3s which are essential for cell-to-cell communication, which leads to overall improved hormonal communication.
- Leafy Greens rich in antioxidants are ideal for balancing hormones, help prevent inflammation and lower levels of stress, which can help improve cortisol levels and help with estrogen balance
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts help lower insulin and maintain blood sugar levels which have an impact on estrogen production and balance.
- Soy contains phytoestrogen and affects estrogen levels, especially during menopause.
- Turmeric, like soy, can mimic the activity of estrogen helping to balance estrogen levels in the body.
- Quinoa is a complex carbohydrate which can help keep your blood sugar levels steady, in turn keeping insulin and androgen levels balanced. Quinoa is also a great source of protein at 8 grams of protein per cup..
2. Consider Adding Herbs
One natural way to balance hormones is through certain compounds in herbs and plants. These can help support the body to gently bring hormones back into balance. Some recommended herbs are:
- Vitex/Chaste Tree Berry nourishes the pituitary gland and helps lengthen the luteal phase. It also lowers prolactin and raises progesterone.
- Red Raspberry Leaf is a well know “women’s herb” with high levels of an antioxidant called ellagic acid which can alter estrogen metabolism
- Passionflower is high in chrysin, a naturally occurring flavonoid which may help lower estradiol.
- Maca, licorice and ginseng are part of a group of herbs called adaptogens which help the body handle stress, support the adrenals and balancing hormones.
3. Supplement Wisely
Ideally we would get all our nutrients from the foods we eat but unfortunately, we live in a world where over-farming, pollution and contaminants are a reality. With careful supplementation and adding some of those nutrients back into our bodies we can support hormone function and naturally balance hormones.
- Magnesium is vital for to our central nervous system and preventing an overabundance of cortisol. When these things are regulated, all your other hormones will also be better regulated. Magnesium also helps you sleep better and reduces inflammation, both of which are needed for hormone balance.
- Vitamin D, especially vitamin D3 acts like a hormone while helping to reduce inflammation levels.
- Omega-3s is a pre-hormone and vital in supporting hormone function. Omega-3s also reduce the inflammatory damage that interferes with hormone balance.
- Gelatin or Collagen is a great source of minerals and necessary amino acids helping to support hormone production
4. Support Digestive Health
Our digestive tracts are populated with many vital neurotransmitters in the body meaning our digestive system has much more of an impact on our hormones than we may realize. If there is an imbalance in our gut, it can easily translate into an imbalance in neurotransmitters and hormones.
For instance, serotonin which is necessary for stress, sleep and mood balance is more concentrated in the gut than even in the brain. Similarly, 70% of the immune system is found in the gut and even thyroid health has been linked to gut health.
For women who are struggling with gut problems may have trouble ever achieving hormone balance without addressing gut health first.
5. Avoid Harmful Chemicals
Endocrine disrupting chemicals found in pesticides, plastics, household cleaners, and even mattresses can mimic hormones in the body and keep your body from making its own, real hormones. For women who are struggling with a hormone imbalances, avoiding these compounds are very important.
Here are some tips for avoiding toxins:
- Opt for organic produce where you can
- Improve indoor air quality with plants
- Use homemade or natural pesticides and cleaners in and around your home and garden
- Drink filtered water
- Avoid Teflon and other types of non-stick coating
- Avoid using plastics for heating up food
- cook in glass or non-coated metal pans made from copper or stainless steel – don’t use aluminum
- Use glass or non-coated, non-aluminum metal containers
- Buy produce without packaging (e.g. go to a butcher or buy vegetables from farmers markets or the bulk section of a supermarket) and use your own glass containers
- Switch from your usual beauty products and toiletries to “cleaner” organic, natural deodorants, lotions and makeup. If you feel adventurous you can even start making your own
6. Improve Your Quality and Quantity of Sleep
Without adequate sleep, your hormones will not be in balance. During sleep our bodies are busy recharging your mind, removing toxins and creating hormones. A lack of sleep can have a huge impact on hormones and even one bad night of missed sleep can create havoc on your blood sugar and insulin levels, in turn messing with your estrogen and other hormone levels.
Here are some tips to help improve sleep:
- Avoid artificial light and reduce blue light exposure from electronics like your phone, TV and computer at least 3-4 hours before bedtime.
- Optimize temperature, sound and other stimuli in your bedroom to improve your sleep environment
- Create a bedtime routine to help support your natural circadian rhythms. Wake up and go to bed at the same time, even on weekends to keep your hormone cycle regular.
- Get as much natural light during the day as possible spending at least 30 minutes outside each day if possible as wide-spectrum of natural lighting helps boost serotonin levels and balance melatonin levels
- Reduce stress through meditation or some other spiritual practice which helps you calm down
And there you have it! Seven natural ways to balance your hormones and get your reproductive health back on track. Have you had success with any of these methods or do you have any other tips that worked for you? We would love to hear from you – share your experience in the comments below.
DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult with a physician if you have a serious medical condition or use prescription medications. A doctor’s advice should always be sought before before embarking on any new treatment.