Hormone imbalance can cause all sorts of unpleasant symptoms and health issues. If I asked you to name some hormones, what would you say?
Estrogen? Progesterone? Testosterone?
Those are the ones I most commonly hear because, honestly, that is what most of us think of. The truth is we don’t really think about our hormones all that much. That is, until we are feeling miserable with night sweats, moods swings, PMS, or hot flashes. These are the typical symptoms that make us think about hormone imbalance.
But, what if I told you that you have many more hormones than this? And that there are several more symptoms of hormone imbalance that you may never have considered before?
The truth is that we have many hormones that regulate the functions in our bodies and interact with each other. This makes them more complicated than the average person would assume. Healthy hormones are not just reproductive hormones, but also adrenal, thyroid, liver, digestive and intestinal. They all have to function properly for you to be happy, healthy and energetic.
Life without hormone imbalance
When your hormones are healthy and balanced:
- you spend your day feeling calm and energized – not stressed and overwhelmed
- your periods are regular
- you have no trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- you wake up feeling rested
- your memory and focus are regular – no more brain fog
- your muscles and joints are not sore and you feel limber
- your skin is clear and smooth – not dry
- you maintain good sex drive
- typical menopausal symptoms of hot flashes and weight gain are not an issue
7 Keys to Healthy Balanced Hormones
Stable Blood Sugar
Having stable blood sugar means keeping it steady without fluctuating from high to low throughout the day. Blood sugar ups and downs put your hormones on a roller coaster. This especially affects insulin (a fat storage hormone) and glucagon (fat burning hormone). Eating smaller snacks and meals of fresh whole foods will go a long way in maintaining smooth, even blood sugar levels.
Balanced Adrenal Glands
When adrenal glands are balanced, it means they are not secreting too much cortisol throughout the day. When you are stressed, excess cortisol makes you burn carbohydrates. This causes your blood sugar to swing up and down. And, in order to produce all that cortisol, your adrenals block the process of progesterone production. That is why you may notice a late or missed period when you are stressed. Good stress management techniques go a long way in supporting your adrenals. Did you know that simply pausing to take 5 to 10 slow, deep belly breaths calms your nervous system and lowers cortisol levels?
Healthy ovaries produce normal amounts of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Obesity is one of the biggest factors affecting ovarian health. Being underweight can also prevent your ovaries from functioning properly and can upset the hormonal balance in your body. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do to support your ovaries.
An effective liver aids in the detoxification of any toxins or excess hormones that you produce or toxins you ingest. The liver also helps convert your T4 thyroid hormones to the active T3 that you need. And it produces sufficient cholesterol to help you make sex hormones. Your liver also makes bile that helps break down fat and excrete toxins. Oh, and it helps maintain stable blood sugar – are you starting to see the many connections and interactions at play? Your liver loves cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, bitter foods like dandelion or collard greens, sulfur-rich foods such as onions and garlic. Apples and grapefruit are also great for your liver because they have significant amounts of calcium d’glucarate.
A happy thyroid will properly regulate your metabolism so you feel great. Keep your thyroid happy with sea vegetables, Himalayan sea salt, and coconut oil.
Efficient Digestive System
Your digestive system works to make you feel comfortable after eating (no gas, indigestion or bloating). It ensures that the nutrients from your food are available to help nourish your body. Support your digestive system by practising the keys to good digestion. One simple habit you can develop now is to avoid drinking ice cold water right before, after or during your meals.
Garden of Good Gut Bacteria
Good gut bacteria in the right amount is needed in your intestines. This helps regulate everything including: the adrenals, the liver, the thyroid and blood sugar. They also help to eliminate toxins, play a protective role against many health conditions, and help regulate all of your hormones. Including probiotic and prebiotic foods in your daily diet will help to maintain healthy gut bacteria. Probiotic foods replenish your gut bacteria – like planting seeds or new plants in your garden. Prebiotic foods nourish your gut bacteria – like water and sunshine helps the flowers in your garden to grow. Fermented foods, fibre-rich foods and water are all good for your gut bacteria. One of my favourite prebiotic foods is sweet potatoes. There are so many delicious and nutritious ways to prepare them!
The Big Picture – A Holistic Approach
There are 5 key systems that directly affect the health of your hormones as well as each other: Adrenals, Liver, Thyroid, Digestive System, and Intestinal System. Because of that, it is improper practice to work on only one of them. You have to work on all of them. You can do this by working on your stress levels, managing your lifestyle, and taking any necessary supplements to compensate for what you are not getting through your food.
Since the main goal of a strategy for healthy hormones is to support all 5 of these key systems you need to take a holistic approach. This is best accomplished by:
- Eating specific foods that will support their functions.
- Improving lifestyle habits, including stress management and exercise.
- Determining which supplements you need with your health practitioner. Click here to see a list of the basic supplements that I recommend to my clients for supporting hormone balance and overall good health.