Ross here with my latest new, free guide to help you reach your dream health and energy!
Today we’re looking at your hormones, and the intricate system of organs and glands that regulate them (the endocrine system).
When your endocrine system is out of balance, it has a negative knock on effect to every area of your health.
BUT – it can be quite simple to regain balance of your hormones, and when you do…WOW…your health will flourish and your energy will skyrocket.
And in this guide I will show you how!
As ever, you don’t have to do everything…
Just start with the ONE THING you can build into your lifestyle now, and then when it’s mastered…move on to the next thing and focus ONLY on that 🙂
This is important.
Hormonal imbalances can cause problems from infertility to diabetes, but certain foods can help keep your hormones balanced and your body functioning properly. We share which foods to focus on for optimal hormone health.
Let’s Start At the Start…What are hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through the bloodstream and coordinate various bodily functions. hormone levels can fluctuate due to a variety of factors, including stress, diet, exercise, and sleep patterns.
The endocrine system is made up of eight glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream: the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pineal, and thymus glands, as well as the ovaries and testes.
Hormones are also regulated in many of our organs such as our digestive system where hormones such as insulin are produced, and in our fat cells which produce leptin.
Whenever any of these glands or organs fall out of balance and we get either over, or under-production of hormones, a cascade of health issues can emerge.
What are some of the most common hormone imbalances?
The most common hormone imbalances include:
- Cortisol imbalance: Too much cortisol can lead to anxiety, weight gain, and high blood pressure. Too little cortisol can lead to fatigue, weakness, and depression. Too much cortisol also drives down blood pH to create an acidic environment, in which a myriad of other conditions can appear, or get worse.
- Estrogen imbalance: Too much estrogen can lead to weight gain, water retention, and breast tenderness. Too little estrogen can lead to hot flashes, night sweats, and more.
- Thyroid imbalance: Too much thyroid hormone can lead to weight loss, anxiety, and heart palpitations. Too little thyroid hormone can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and depression.
- insulin imbalance: Too much insulin can lead to diabetes, while too little insulin can lead to hypoglycemia.
- Progesterone imbalance: Too much progesterone can lead to weight gain and water retention. Too little progesterone can lead to irregular periods and PMS.
- Testosterone imbalance: Too much testosterone can lead to acne, hair loss, and irritability. Too little testosterone can lead to low libido and erectile dysfunction.
You could have one of these, or many, as each one can lead to a cascade of additional imbalances!
What is the HPA Axis?
The HPA Axis is the hormone control center of the body, made up of the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands. All of the suggestions on this page will positively impact the HPA axis, which is essential for your health.
The hypothalamus is a pea-sized region at the base of the brain that controls many important functions in the body, including hormone production.
The pituitary gland is a small gland located just below the hypothalamus that also plays a role in hormone production.
The adrenal glands are two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys and produce hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
When the HPA axis is in good health, everything else and every health goal you have will become a lot easier.
What are the symptoms of hormone imbalance?
The symptoms of hormone imbalance vary depending on the hormone involved. However, some common symptoms include fatigue, weight gain or weight loss, inflammation, mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems and so much more.
For instance, thyroid imbalance can lead to problems such as fatigue, depression, weight gain or weight loss, hair loss, and dry skin.
Adrenal hormone imbalance can lead to problems such as anxiety, inflammation, weight gain or weight loss, and fatigue.
Estrogen hormone imbalance can lead to problems such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
What causes hormone imbalance?
There are many things that can cause hormone imbalance, including stress, diet, exercise, sleep patterns, and certain medical conditions.
At the core, diet and lifestyle are the biggest, most common causes of hormone imbalance. And a modern lifestyle of stress, poor sleep, exposure to toxins, alongside a standard Western diet of processed foods, sugar, gluten, unhealthy fats, artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners and so on is absolutely disastrous for your hormones, and the glands that support and regulate them.
How to Repair Hormone Balance, the Alkaline Way!
1- Eat Lots of Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage contain compounds that help to detoxify the body and protect against hormone imbalance.
They also contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which has been shown to reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer.
Cruciferous are also high in a compound called sulforaphane which helps to boost detoxification enzymes in the body, protect against oxidative stress, and reduce inflammation.
In addition, cruciferous vegetables contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, and fibre, which are all essential for good hormone health.
2 – Include Plenty of Healthy Fats in Your Diet
Healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts and seeds are essential for hormone balance.
They help to regulate hormone production and hormone metabolism, as well as reduce inflammation.
Healthy fats are also necessary for the production of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), a protein that binds to testosterone and reduces its activity.
The HPA-axis thrives when you eat lots of healthy fat because it helps to reduce stress and inflammation.
While some (outdated) sources are still (wrongly) recommending avoiding saturated fats, these are critical for your health, and especially your hormones. Saturated fats from coconut will actually help to reduce inflammation and support hormone health.
3- Improve Sleep
Sleep is crucial for hormone health. When you don’t get enough sleep, it throws off the delicate balance of hormones in your body and can lead to hormone imbalance.
Lack of sleep increases the stress hormone cortisol, which can disrupt the production of other hormones such as thyroid hormone, testosterone, and growth hormone.
It’s important to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night to keep your hormones in balance.
4- Try to Reduce stress
Stress is one of the biggest causes of hormone imbalance. When you’re stressed, it increases cortisol and other stress hormones, which can disrupt the production of other hormones in the body.
We cannot prevent stressful events from occurring in our life, but we do have a level of control over how we respond to them. Without question, the very best way I have found to help support my stress response is to practice mindfulness each day (or as often as possible).
It truly is a game-changer. Just 10 minutes each day, using an app such as headspace or Calm is such a fantastic practice.
Mindfulness has been proven to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while also increasing focus, sleep quality, and overall well-being.
5- Avoid Endocrine Disruptors
There are many chemicals in our environment that can disrupt hormone function and lead to hormone imbalance.
These are called “endocrine disruptors” and they’re found in many common household products, as well as in the food we eat.
Some of the most common endocrine disruptors are BPA and phthalates.
BPA is found in plastics, canned goods, and cash register receipts, while phthalates are found in fragrances, cosmetics, and cleaning products.
You should also look to move to more natural household cleaning products, skincare, cosmetics and laundry products where possible too.
Chemicals such as SLS, found in many shampoos, toothpastes and soaps can also act as potent hormone disruptors.
6- Eat the RAINBOW of Vegetables Daily
The more colourful the vegetables you eat, the more nutrient-dense they will be and the better they will support hormone health.
Vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squash, and dark leafy greens are all packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help to protect the body against hormone imbalance.
7- Raise Your Magnesium & Zinc Intake
Magnesium is an important mineral for hormone health. It helps to regulate the stress hormone cortisol, as well as thyroid hormone and sex hormone production.
Studies consistently find that the vast majority of people in developed countries are chronically deficient in magnesium. Glands that require adequate magnesium include the adrenals, pancreas, and pituitary, and organs including the brain, heart, and kidneys.
Zinc is another important mineral for hormone health. It’s necessary for the proper function of over 300 enzymes in the body, as well as hormone production and metabolism.
Zinc is also involved in fertility, reproduction, and sexual function.
It’s also necessary for the production of energy in the body, and for detoxification.
My recommendation is zinc picolinate, and for magnesium I recommend magnesium glycinate.
8- Incorporate adaptogenic herbs into your diet
Adaptogenic herbs are a group of herbs that help to support the body’s stress response.
They help to reduce cortisol levels and promote hormone balance.
Some of the most common adaptogenic herbs include ashwagandha, holy basil, and maca.
You can find adaptogenic herbs in supplement form, or you can add them to smoothies, soups, and teas.
9- Include Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Foods such as turmeric and ginger are fantastic for hormone balance because they help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Chronic inflammation is a major contributing factor to hormone imbalance. When there is too much inflammation it affects our hormone-balancing organs and glands by causing them to produce less hormone.
10- Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is so important for hormone health.
During sleep, our bodies work to repair and regenerate cells, detoxify the body, and balance hormone levels.
Studies show that sleep deprivation can lead to insulin resistance, increased inflammation, and weight gain.
It’s also during sleep that the body produces human growth hormone (HGH), which helps to repair and regenerate cells and tissues.
11- Reduce Sugar & Gluten
Sugar and gluten are two of the biggest hormone-disrupting foods.
They both lead to inflammation in the body, which in turn disrupts hormone function.
Additionally, sugar causes spikes in blood sugar levels, which can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain.
Gluten has also been shown to damage the gut, which is where so many of our most important hormones such as serotonin and dopamine are produced, as well as those ‘weight loss hormones’ leptin, ghrelin.
Adiponectin is another important hormone affected by gluten intake. Adiponectin helps to regulate metabolism, and is the hormone that is essential to the body to convert fat to fuel (rather than sugar). Many studies show that people who eat a gluten-free diet have higher levels of adiponectin.
So there you have it, the top 11 ways to balance your hormones the alkaline way!
I hope this article has given you some useful tips on how to start balancing your hormones naturally
So, if you’re looking to balance your hormones, it’s important to reduce or eliminate sugar and gluten from your diet.
Following these simple tips can help you to achieve hormone balance naturally. Try incorporating some of them into your life and see how you feel!
[+] See Also:
- The Best Foods for Adrenal Fatigue
- My LEPTIN-Balancing Smoothie Recipe
- Gluten-Free Granola Recipe
- My Acid/Alkaline Food Charts