What Are Hormonal Imbalances?
Hormonal imbalances occur when your bloodstream either lacks or has too much of a hormone. Even small imbalances can create side effects that resonate throughout your body.
For example, insulin can be elevated when you eat too many sugary, processed foods. This overwhelms your cells so they can’t “hear” insulin’s call. Your pancreas will continue to secrete insulin, but it’s harder for your cells to take glucose from your blood.
In other words, your cells become resistant to insulin’s call, and that leaves your pancreas to over-secrete this hormone. Insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes and all of it’s not-so-friendly symptoms including disease, disability, and early death.
Like any hormonal imbalance, insulin resistance is not a problem by itself. It can knock other hormones out of whack and cause them to also become imbalanced.
Everyone experiences hormonal imbalances or fluctuations at some point, and that’s because there are a lot of different variables that can cause these imbalances, including:
- Chronic stress
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Underactive or overactive glands
- Overweight or obesity
- Poor diet and nutrition
Don’t worry though, you can work on finding balance in your hormones, and we’re here to help you with that. We’ve compiled a list of 11 tips to help balance your hormone levels:
1. Cut Way Back on Sweets & Starches
Too many sweets can really send your hormones on a wild ride. Sugar keeps your insulin elevated, which knocks other hormones like cortisol out of balance as well.
If you really want to see some results: cut sweets and starches from your diet completely for two weeks to see how your body reacts.
2. Try Reducing Grains, Legumes and High Sugar Fruits for Two Weeks
Speaking of insulin resistance: you may be unknowingly carbohydrate-intolerant. Too much of these carbs can cause some metabolic problems for insulin-resistant people or those who don’t process carbohydrates efficiently. A healthy gluten-free diet can reduce inflammation and insulin resistance in some people.
3. Eat More Healthy Fats
It’s time to stop with the fat-phobia. Good fatty foods, like avocados, are extremely healthy and help balance your hormone levels. Too few of these healthy fats on your plate can short-change your body’s ability to produce hormones that boost your energy, feelings of satiety and suppress cravings.
4. Be Good To Your Microbiome
To make this more clear: feed your gut with enough immunity-supporting fermented foods and benefiting fiber to keep good bacteria strong and bad bacteria in check. This tip not only keeps your digestion running smoothly, but it’ll help any energy hormone imbalance as well.
5. Avoid Reactive, Inflammatory Foods
Hormonal imbalances can actually increase inflammation, which in turn disrupts hormone production even further. Chronic inflammation can occur when adrenals over-secrete cortisol into the body, which disrupts insulin production.
Try an anti-inflammatory diet, one that’s rich in wild-caught fish and high-fiber plant foods. If you’re unable to regularly eat fish, opt for a quality fish oil to get those crucial omega-3 fatty acids.
Looking for anti-inflammatory recipe ideas?
Look no further, we got ya!
6. Aim to Sleep More & Better
When you’re not getting enough sleep, or if your sleep isn’t the best quality, this can wreak serious havoc on your system. Limiting your body’s ability to release necessary repair hormones that normally restore and refresh cells as you sleep.
What happens when these cells aren’t properly repaired? Rapid aging of the body and brain (Pass!). Just try and shoot for 7 to 8 hours a night to ensure your hormones can do their job.
7. Cool it with the Stimulants
I love coffee more than anyone, so this one hurts a little. Too much caffeine, and I don’t just mean coffee; energy drinks, sodas, and sometimes even tea or chocolate can mess with the hormones in your body. Mostly the ones that promote restorative sleep.
This is what I was talking about with hormone imbalances affecting each other. Got an imbalance from lack of sleep? Check your caffeine intake.
8. Cut Out Chemicals
Let me tell you right now: there is no hormonal upside to ongoing exposure to common chemicals found in your food, air, water, household cleaners, personal-care products, and cosmetics.
They interfere with the normal hormonal functions, in fact. Make that extra effort to switch to less toxic products that are more natural to limit exposure to chemicals.
9. Minimize the Meds
Just like chemicals (though in a different way), ongoing exposure to meds, both over-the-counter and prescription, can stress your microbiomes and cause hormones to fluctuate.
To help yourself and your hormones, avoid OTC meds because they are more hormone-disrupting. If you must take prescription drugs, ask your doctor to prescribe the smallest therapeutic dose possible.
10. Exercise Regularly
The right kind of exercise, as well as the right amount can positively impact nearly every hormone, even balancing insulin levels! Exercise can also boost what’s known as your “fountain of youth” hormone, which keeps you lean and energetic.
There are some studies that have looked at benefits of high-intensity exercise for further hormone balancing, but ultimately what matters the most is that you’re doing exercise. As long as you’re putting in the work, no matter how high or low intensity, you’ll see positive results.
11. Learn to Unwind in ways that Enhance Healthy Hormone Function
Stress is a big factor when it comes to energy hormonal imbalances, which is why I saved it for last. Life is crazy sometimes, and we can all feel overworked, underworked or just plain stressed about different things at once. This can really put a strain on your hormones.
What you have to remember is to blow off some steam regularly. It doesn’t have to be anything huge and life-changing. Watch a funny movie and make it a point to laugh hard, put on your favorite music and just dance that stress away, or treat yourself to a night out with friends for some well-deserved fun!
You can add to that a regular meditation and an easy, restorative yoga practice to really keep everything hormonal in balance. Not only will these things help your hormones, but you’ll feel more relaxed, fit, and trim. Not a bad bonus if you ask me.