Sometimes, certain medical conditions, constant stress, poor diet, and other factors can cause fluctuations in hormone levels. Ultimately, that may lead to hormonal imbalance and all its perks – weight gain, fatigue, skin problems, infertility, and other health issues.
By keeping your hormones in check, you also keep your physical and mental health in good shape.
Let’s look at 4 steps to achieve hormonal balance naturally.
Step 1: Get a healthy sleep routine
Getting enough sleep is extremely important for your hormonal balance and health in general. It helps your body regulate stress and appetite hormones, and get optimal growth hormone levels. It improves metabolism and reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes. It even supports the health and youth of your skin, decreasing the signs of aging.
Start with getting 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep every night. That’s how you can improve your sleep quality:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
- Have some relaxing pre-sleep ritual, such as self-massage, meditation, or reading a book
- Decrease blue light exposure and use red dim lights in the evening
- Ideally, stop looking at any screens at least 2 hours before bed
- Get some sunlight during the day
- Spend some time outside every day
- Avoid caffeine for at least 6 hours before bed.
Step 2: Reduce stress
Chronic stress is the highway to hormonal imbalance. The good news is that you can integrate various simple changes and practices into your everyday life to decrease stress-related hormonal fluctuations.
First, identify activities that bring you relaxation and peace. These could be walking or playing with your dog, reading a book, drawing, attending a spa/massage session or a yoga class – and anything else that you personally find relaxing. After you find what helps you shake off everyday tension, make sure to use this anti-stress weapon regularly, especially at times when things get hard.
Then, you have various universal stress-reducing practices at your disposal, try to integrate at least some of them in your everyday life:
- Healthy sleep routine (remember the first chapter?)
- Deep breathing
- Taking a walk outside
- Doing yoga
- Listening to relaxing music
- Self-massage (add relaxing music on top)
- Drinking lavender / chamomile tea
- Washing dishes (it really helps!)
- Taking a warm bath
- Avoiding toxic and negative people
… and many more – just find what works for you best.
Sometimes, things can be more complicated when we try to manage stress, and more efforts may be required to change the situation. For example, you may feel like your job or a close person brings you lots of negative emotions and increase your stress levels constantly. Maybe it’s time to change that job? Or maybe it’s time to have a deep conversation and explain to that person how you feel?
When you feel overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, or other mental issues, never hesitate to turn to a professional for help. Getting proper guidance and therapy can not only improve your mental health, but also significantly increase your general wellbeing.
Step 3: Develop a healthy diet
Everything you eat supplies your body with certain nutrients that affect your hormone levels.
For example, when your body gets too much sugar with food, it elevates your cortisol and insulin levels, which is not only harmful for your health by itself, but may put other hormones out of balance too.
A healthy, balanced diet will provide your body with essential vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients to help it produce and regulate hormones properly. We prepared some recommendations on how you can support your hormonal health with the right nutrition.
Enrich your diet with fiber, clean protein, and healthy fats:
- Healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, fish)
- Whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa)
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, chia seeds)
- Beans (chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans)
- Fruits & berries (apples, blueberries, oranges, pomegranate)
- Vegetables (kale, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, radishes, beets)
You also need to avoid foods and drinks that negatively affect the proper functioning of your hormone system:
- Deep-fried foods (french fries, potato chips, chicken strips)
- Processed meats (bacon, pepperoni, hot dogs, sausages)
- Caffeinated beverages (coffee, energy drinks)
- Sweetened beverages (soda, iced tea, juices)
- Sugary pastry (cookies, pies, biscuits)
You may also consider taking food supplements such as ashwagandha and magnesium that can help balance hormones, reduce stress, facilitate weight loss, and slow down the aging process. However, it’s important to consider your health state before you start taking any supplement and make considerable changes to your diet.
We always recommend consulting with a professional nutritionist for developing a custom diet & supplements plan that would take into account all your personal nutritional needs and red flags, including hidden allergies.
Step 4: Start exercising regularly
Exercise helps regulate many hormones that affect your physical and mental health.
For example, physical activity decreases the levels of stress hormones (such as cortisol and adrenalin) and increases the levels of happy hormones (such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphin), which helps improve mood and decrease stress, anxiety, and depression among other benefits.
To keep your hormones in check, include some (or all) exercises from this list into your physical activity routine:
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Strength training
- Cardio training
Consistency is very important, so make sure to stick to your training schedule and exercise on a regular basis.
However, overdoing it won’t do any good for your health, so make sure to have enough rest between sessions and plan the whole workout routine in accordance with your individual factors (e.g. age and health state) and goals. It is always better for your long-term fitness results and safer for your health to develop your training plan together with a fitness professional.