In part 1, we discussed the signs, symptoms & possible causes of hormonal imbalance. In Part 2 we will be looking at Natural ways to restore hormonal balance and harmony.
Women often don’t realise there is a disharmony in their hormones, or that natural hormonal balance and harmony can be achieved.
One of the most common questions I ask in clinic is “what is your cycle like? Tell me about your cycle“, to which i receive “just the normal PMS, anxiety, cramping, headaches, bloating…….” These are NOT NORMAL!!!
So when did COMMON become NORMAL?
From talking to many women about their monthly cycles, there is definitely a sense among women that there should be a level of pain & discomfort associated with the arrival of menstruation. Is it any wonder when:
That’s right 85 – 90% of women suffer monthly!!!!
However, hormonal imbalance is not only linked to the menstrual cycle. It can effect so many facets of our life & the signs, symptoms & causes are varied. If you haven’t already read part 1 on the signs, symptoms and possible causes of hormonal imbalance, you can find it here.
1. Diet & Nutrition
The food we eat or don’t eat can have a huge impact on our hormonal balance. Eating a nutrient dense diet provides us with the macronutrients (fats, protein & crabohydrates) and the micronutrients (vitamins & minerals) for healthy balanced hormonal harmony.
Where do you start?
Start with removing excess sugar, caffeine, alcohol, processed chemical laden foods and takeaways. Replace them with more fresh vegetables, quality fats and proteins. This is known as the “crowd out” method. The more you introduce in these quality foods, the more you will eat less of the “nutrient poor” foods.
Ever noticed the difference in your energy, mood, ability to cope with stress & your productivity when you start the day with avocado & eggs on your toast, rather than just a coffee or jam on your toast?
A great way to start looking at how to eat is the 80/20 rule. Simply, eat Nutrient Dense Wholefoods 80% of the time and allow yourself to eat “nutrient poor foods” 20% of the time. After all, it’s not about deprivation, it’s about nourishment. Sometimes that 20% is just as important to nourishing the soul & social interaction, as the 80% is to nourishing the body.
Making changes and knowing where to start can be overwhelming sometimes. If you need help in changing your diet & nutrition for hormonal harmony, get in touch!
Sleep is essential to hormonal harmony, as well as overall health and vitality. The quality & quantity of our sleep effects our bodies ability to heal & restore itself.
Implementing a sleep hygiene plan and strategy can be helpful in improving sleep onset, sleep quality & sleep quantity.
But what to implement?
My biggest 3 sleep tips:
- No technology for at least an hour before bed and never in the bedroom
- Aim to go to sleep and rise at the same time everyday
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, comfortable and used for sleep & sex only. If you want to read, watch TV, chat on the phone, do all of this in another room before you head to bed.
3. Reduce Stress
Reducing stress is another important factor in balancing your hormones. Stress increases Cortisol, excess cortisol production has an effect on both oestrogen and progesterone production and ovarian function.
The impacts of stress are far reaching, but one of the biggest is it’s effect on glucose & insulin. This is one of the reasons hormonal imbalance is often seen with weight gain or an inability to lose weight. Cortisol causes a rise in glucose, leading to increased blood sugar and after time insulin resistance.
How can you reduce stress?
My top 5 stress-less tips:
- Learning to say no & putting your health before everyone else’s
- Mindfulness or meditation practice
- Regular exercise (walking, yoga or pilates are great)
- Reduce alcohol, sugar and caffeine in the diet
YEP! by now you might be starting to see the link between each of the main contributors to hormonal imbalance & the best ways to naturally restore hormonal harmony.
Daily movement is essential for hormonal balance, not to mention essential for general health & wellbeing.
Exercising daily does not mean you need to head to the gym every day and sweat it out (although sweat can help eliminate toxins), with high intensity training. However, mixing up low, moderate and high intensity exercise throughout your week, is a great way to achieve hormonal harmony.
Moving daily with a walk, yoga, pilates, swim at the beach, bike ride, gym class or whatever you love to do, about 5 times a week is optimal for hormonal balance.
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress, however high intensity or prolonged exercise can increase cortisol & reduce progesterone.
Everyone is very individual! Depending on the reasons for your hormonal (or suspected) hormonal imbalance, or if your trying to conceive, the amount and type of exercise you do can be helpful or harmful. So it’s always best to seek a little professional guidance .
5. Gut health & Detoxification
Quite often hormonal imbalance is closely linked to poor gut & liver function. The liver is the main detoxification organ and responsible for neutralizing and excreting both excess hormones and toxins (internal & external).
If the liver is over burdened with toxins and excess hormones, these recirculate around the body and are reabsorbed. Leaky Gut and poor gut health contribute to this re-absorption and an increase in toxic load.
When looking at optomizing detoxification pathways, we need to address not only diet but stress, movement, mindset, relationships, sleep & environmental toxins.
In clinic, I often work with women and men on a tailored detoxification program that addresses all of these areas. To aid in improving both detoxification & gut health, to help restore hormonal harmony.
You can find out more about my available online detox program and tailored detox packages here.
It would be great if we could obtain all our nutrients from the food that we eat, after all ‘food is medicine‘. Sometimes it’s not always possible, due to many reasons like changes in farming practices & poor soil quality, poor dietary choices, preservatives & additives in processed foods, poor gut health & reduced absorption capabilities, stress &/or lifestyle choices.
Nutritional Supplements used in the right form & therapeutic dosage, can be of benefit in restoring nutrient levels to optimal levels and aiding in the restoration of hormonal balance.
However it is important to note that it is best to seek professional help in determining a supplemental program right for your specific needs. Always advise your nutritionist or naturopath of any medications you are taking or your health provider of any supplements you are taking, to ensure their are no interactions.
If you missed Part 1 of the Hormonal Imbalance Series you can find it here
DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to lead anyone away from a qualified health practitioner or medical care. We make absolutely no claims to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition, it is advisable to speak to your qualified healthcare professional.