How Many Should You Be Having
Aim to start with ½ cup of cooked greens and increase this to 2-3 cups daily. If you notice you are struggling with your digestion of foods, cooked greens are easier to digest.
Try adding your greens as a base to your salad, mixing them into smoothies, mixing through curries or soups or adding them into stir fries.
What The Pill Does To Your Hormones
Oral contraceptives impose a very specific type of hormonal control over the body. While they can regulate our cycles and control many hormonal symptoms, they do so by suppressing our natural cycles of ovulation, menstruation, and hormonal fluctuation. Placebo pills for the last 5 days of the cycle lead to a breakthrough bleed, not a true menstrual period. If youre on a complete suppressive plan, you may menstruate as infrequently as every 3 to 12 months, depending on the type of pill youre taking and these too are breakthrough bleeds, not real periods.
You can experience post-pill symptoms whether youve been on the pill for a couple months or many years, though in my experience, women whove been on for several or more years and certainly those on it for close to or over a decade, which is incredibly common are more likely to experience more pronounced hormonal imbalances when they come off the pill.
If you went on the pill to address acne or an irregular cycle, the pill may have simply buried your symptoms. When you come off the pill, theres a good chance that youre still dealing with those same imbalances, which may have gotten more pronounced over time because the Root Causes werent addressed..
What’s The Best Way To Start A New Exercise Routine
If you’re experiencing hormonal imbalance, it may be extra hard to get motivated. Hormone issues can zap your energy and make working out feel like a chore and this can lead to a frustrating cycle of weight gain and energy loss. Conditions that involve hormonal imbalance are also often linked to inflammation, which can make working out even harder. In this case, its important to find ways to make exercise fit into your life as smoothly and with as little difficultly as possible.
Physical Activity and Insulin Sensitivity:
Effects of 8-week Pilates exercise program on menopausal symptoms and lumbar strength and flexibility in postmenopausal women:
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What Causes Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances can be caused be a variety of different factors including:
- Poor diet or nutrient deficiencies
- Gut dysfunction
- Environmental toxins
- Chronic inflammation
- Methylation impairments
Everyones biochemistry is unique, so what triggers a hormonal imbalance for you might not for another person. Also, because all the systems in the body are interconnected, if you have one hormonal imbalance, you might have other ones as well. For example, if one hormone isnt getting the correct message across it can throw off the rest of the bodys delicate communication system between other hormones
Use Certain Essential Oils
To balance your hormones naturally, its important that you eliminate toxins in your body by avoiding conventional body care products that are made with potentially harmful chemicals, including DEA, parabens, propylene glycol and sodium lauryl sulfate. A better alternative is to use natural products made with ingredients like essential oils, coconut oil, shea butter and castor oil.
The Environmental Working Group evaluated tens of thousands of products and ranked them in an easy-to-understand guide to make sure you have a resource to keep your family safe. Check out EWGs Skin Deep Cosmetic Database today for recommendations for which products to use and avoid.
To replace toxic body care and cleaning products, use these hormone-balancing essential oils:
Clary sage helps balance estrogen levels because it contains natural phytoestrogens. It can be used to regulate your menstrual cycle, relieve PMS symptoms, treat infertility and PCOS, and even reduce the chances of uterine and ovarian cancer.
It also serves as a natural remedy for emotional imbalances, like depression and anxiety. Diffuse three to five drops of clary sage to help balance hormone levels and relieve stress.
To ease cramps and pain, massage five drops of clary sage with five drops of coconut oil into your stomach and any other area of concern.
You can rub two drops of fennel into your stomach or add one to two drops to a class of warm water or tea to take it internally.
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What Is The Hormone Diet
The Hormone Diet is a book and diet program by Dr. Natasha Turner, a naturopathic doctor. Its primary focus is on hormone fluctuations that may negatively affect a persons weight. It also focuses on other factors that can contribute to weight gain and other chronic diseases.
The Hormone Diet is a 6-week, three-step process designed to promote hormonal balance and an overall healthier body through diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and detoxification. The diet regulates what you eat and also tells you the right time to eat to ensure maximum benefit to your hormones.
The book boasts of being the first diet book to emphasize the importance of hormonal balance among all the hormones that influence weight. It also claims to be the first to explain the lifestyle habits that can help boost hormones to burn fat. These include:
- managing stress
The diet aims for weight loss of up to 12 pounds, including water weight, in the first phase. It aims for about 2 pounds a week after that without calorie counting.
According to the author, following the entire protocol may help you optimize the levels of inflammation in your body as well as these hormones:
The full list is in the book The Hormone Diet.
The second phase also involves ridding your diet of human-made foods, which include:
- processed foods
- foods that contain nitrates, such as cured meats
A Quick Summary Of Hormones
Hormones serve as chemical messengers in your body, carrying signals to different areas of your body and affecting vital functions like metabolism and growth. These chemicals are produced by the endocrine system and contain information that helps instruct different organs and tissues throughout your body about how to function.
When these chemicals are out of balance, it can lead to:
While this sounds like a bunch of medical jargon, each hormone has an important purpose in the reproductive system.
AMH is released by cells around your follicles and is the best predictor of your ovarian reserve or egg count. FSH is responsible for starting ovulation, while estradiol is a sex hormone produced by your ovaries. LH is the hormone that keeps your cycle regular and is produced by your pituitary gland.
Testing for thyroid health is also necessary since the gland can often be the root of pregnancy issues. Low levels of TSH and untreated hypothyroidism can interfere with ovulation, impairing fertility. Thankfully, TSH and fT4 can be adjusted with medication when thyroid disease is present.
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How To Balance Ghrelin Levels
If you have a sneaking suspicion your ghrelin levels are in need of some TLC, here are a couple of ways to balance them:
- Eat adequate amounts of protein. Protein helps you feel full and should be consumed with every meal. Studies show how eating protein promotes healthy ghrelin levels.
- Avoid sugar as much as possible. As you can see by now, consuming too much sugar disrupts hormonal balance, making weight loss seem an impossible feat. Be sure to read labels. If an item contains high-fructose corn syrup, dont buy it. A 2013 study published in Nutritional Diabetes shows how high-fructose corn syrup is one of the primary culprits of imbalance when it comes to hormones and weight gain.
Your Weight Gain Is Only In Your Abdomen
Menopause puts your body through a whole host of changes, one of them commonly being weight gain. Why? Your production of estrogen, along with other hormones, takes a dip. Outside of menopause, low estrogen levels can be due to excessive exercise, disordered eating patterns, or pituitary gland issues. Decreased estrogen levels can change the fat distribution of your body, causing you to gain more in the belly as opposed to the hips, thighs, and buttocks. Estrogen deficiency can also impair the action of insulin, making it harder to regulate blood sugar and leading to increased hormonal belly fat and abdominal weight gain.
Melt away hormonal belly fat caused by low estrogen and insulin resistance by adopting a low carbohydrate eating plan, recommends Johnston. Between protein, fat and carbohydrates, carbs have the biggest impact on raising blood sugar and insulin levels, she says. Reducing high-carbohydrate foods such as refined sugars, breads, cookies, crackers, and pasta and boosting less insulin-stimulating foods rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fat can have a significant impact on your waistline.
Keep in mind that if your carb consumption dips too low, it can suppress your leptin levels and interfere with leptins ability to regulate your reproductive hormones so its important to keep some whole-food based sources of complex carbohydrates in the diet such as fruit, starchy vegetables, and whole grains.
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Changes In Blood Pressure
Your hormones play a major role in heart health, primarily due to one of your bodys largest hormone-producing glands, the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. Without proper regulation of this hormone, your body could end up with too much glucose in the blood, leading to cardiovascular problems like high cholesterol or high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, has also been linked to thyroid dysfunction, testosterone deficiency, growth hormone excess or deficiency, and more.
Consider How Caffeine Is Affecting You
When I talk to most women about caffeine, I usually hear something like, Ill do anything you want me to, but dont make me give up coffee.
I get it. Life is nuts, and most of us need to mainline caffeine just to get by. As I said above, though, this could be really problematic, especially if you experience anxiety on the regular, feel like you cant get out of bed in the morning, have energy crashes in the day, or have trouble falling asleep at night.
If youre not ready to ditch the joe, then just observe how you feel 30, 60, and 120 minutes after youve had coffee. If youre wanting to call it quits, ease into it with half decaf and half regular, replace a cup a day with decaf, or experiment with matcha.
Life is full-on for so many of us these days, which is why I hope that you have a clearer picture of what a hormone imbalance actually looks like and how to start to reverse it. Hormones exist in a hierarchy, so its important to take a top down approach to addressing problems that arise from a hormone imbalance.
Hormones are also talking to each other all day long, so once you work on one hormone, the rest will start to fall in line. Thats the beauty of hormones. Theyre working together to support you, always.
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Top Five Tips For Rebalancing Hormones
Maintain a healthy diet. Incorporate fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, plus raw nuts and seeds into your diet. Avoid high fatty foods, processed carbohydrates, fried foods, soft drinks, enriched flour, and processed vegetable oil. Avoid non-organic dairy products, which may contain harmful bovine growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics.
Add more Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. These fats create healthy cell membranes, allowing hormones to bind to the cell more easily. Omega-3 fatty acids also repair receptor sites and keep it in optimal condition. Consider eating more foods with omega-3s or taking a high quality organic oil, such as hempseed or flaxseed.
Keep stress levels down. Studies show that women who mediate daily or practice yoga experience less hormonal swings than those who dont. Rest is important. Many women lead such hectic lives with many demands placed on them that they have little time to let their bodies re-adjust. Find small ways and time to relax. A massage can be a wonderful way to relax and remove the aches and pains caused by a busy lifestyle.
Get enough good quality sleep. Try to get at least 8 hours every night. During sleep the body recuperates and restores. Insufficient sleep is now recognised as a major cause heart disease, stroke, metabolic dysfunction and impaired mental health.
Final Thoughts On Hormonal Imbalances
- Some of the most common symptoms of hormone imbalances include unexplained weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, and changes in hair, skin, and nails.
- Root causes of hormonal imbalances include compromised gut health, elevated inflammation, and high stress levels.
- Natural ways to balance your hormones include eating anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fats, reducing your exposure to endocrine disruptors, getting adequate sleep, and using supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps related to gut health and vitamin D levels.
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Dont Forget Vitamins B And D
Taking a high-quality vitamin B-complex supplement can help when youre in the throes of hormonal ups and downs. This is one group of vitamins that you might want to supplement with in addition to eating foods high in these vitamins. Vitamin B-complex is involved in both the production of testosterone and the regulation of energy production in the body. There are nine B vitamins in total, and certain foods contain specific B vitamins.
For example, wild-caught salmon is an excellent source of many B vitamins. Leafy greens, like spinach, kale, collard greens, and even romaine lettuce contain B9also known as folate. Other foods with notable amounts of B vitamins are eggs, sunflower seeds, milk, yogurt, and animal protein. Vitamin D is essential, too. In fact, numerous studies show its importance for mitigating symptoms of PCOS.
Image by Belathée Photography
Essential Vitamins And Supplements That Help Balance Hormones
Hormones can cause issues for many women, especially upon entering perimenopause. All sorts of frustrating fluctuations can occur, and these fluctuations impact nearly every aspect of a womans life. When our hormones are imbalanced, we may experience major mood swings and irritability. We might have trouble sleeping. We may experience a . We might gain weight. We may lose our energy and zest for life. As a result, our relationships may suffer, and we may feel as if our quality of life has suddenly dropped dramatically as well.
Fortunately, there are all sorts of tried and true ways to help balance hormones. One such way is by ensuring youre getting all the right hormone-balancing nutrients from your diet. Supplementing with certain vitamins and supplements may help as well. Relief is possible, with the right approach.
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What Causes Hormonal Imbalance
Powered by our endocrine system, hormones are powerful messengers within our bodies, communicating with our organs and tissues through our bloodstream. Thats no small feat! Every major process in our body is dictated by hormones.
For example, corticosteroids help us maintain blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and salt and water balance, while functions as a sort of warning hormone, helping us adapt to stress. These are just two of the more than 50 hormones in the human body, all with their own unique jobs to carry out.
Hormones naturally fluctuate with age, but imbalances can be triggered by many things, including stress, environmental chemicals, medical conditions, tumors, or medications.
How Common Are Imbalances
Our bodies have an amazing internal regulating system called homeostasis. The theory goes that if you leave the body alone it will harmonize to its own best rhythm.
Thats not the case for all of us though, thanks in part to some genetic or physiological conditions – and because of the increased environmental toxin load were all living with in our modern, busy, post-industrial lives.
Many of us knowingly or unknowingly suffer with imbalances: a survey of 2,000 American women, aged 30 to 60, also found that nearly half have experienced symptoms of a hormonal imbalance.
One of the most common hormone imbalances that can cause fertility issues is polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. It affects at least 1 in 10 of us – maybe 1 in 5 by some measures.
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Pms And Low Sex Drive
Low testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone are all associated with a decreased sex drive in both men and women. This is especially common after age 50 when estrogen and testosterone production declines. Since estrogen is one of the main hormones regulating a womans menstrual cycle a decrease in production can also lead to irregular periods that are too long, too short, unpredictable, heavy, or painful, infertility, hot flashes, mood swings, or painful intercourse.
Puffy Swollen Or Rounded Face
Though this symptom of hormonal imbalance isnt talked about much, for those who experience it, it can be a major concern. And while this symptom is relatively painless, besides possible tenderness due to the swelling, it may be negatively impacting your quality of life. Sometimes referred to as moon face, this gradual rounding or swelling of the face is a common sign of high cortisol characterized by Cushings syndrome. If your adrenal glands release too much cortisol, theyre unable to properly regulate your blood pressure and inflammatory response. As a result, your body has a hard time keeping your blood vessels functioning appropriately, leading to swelling and a puffy appearance around your face or shoulders.
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