Hormones are like chemical messengers, and govern nearly every cellular action in our body. Each group of hormones has a very distinct role in our body – some are considered essential, others are not.
Let’s start with our sex hormones. While very important, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, are actually not essential for our survival. They’re responsible for sexual functioning and fertility, as well as in more of a “beauty” capacity – keeping our skin, hair & nails vital and youthful looking.
On the other hand, stress hormones (like cortisol & epinephrine, also known as adrenaline) are critical to our survival because they synthesize proteins, maintain cellular electrolyte balance, regulate heartbeat and blood pressure, and transport glucose into our cells – essentially feeding our brain.
These hormones are so crucial, that in times of chronic stress, cortisol (the “hormone of stress”) will be made at the expense of sex hormones. No wonder we can start feeling whacked out and disconnected at certain stages of life!
So what happens when hormones stop playing well together?
We can often experience a ripple effect, even when there’s a slight hiccup in hormone function. Also, with the interconnected nature of your endocrine system, one hormonal imbalance can lead to an additional one, causing multiple symptoms and overlapping health issues. #notgood
The 10 most common signs that you may have a hormonal imbalance:
- Poor sleep – not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep
- Fatigue that’s not alleviated by sleep
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Resistant excess weight and body fat, especially around the belly
- Low libido or sexual dysfunction
- Acne or other skin issues
- PMS symptoms
- Foggy thinking (brain fog!) and difficulty concentrating
- Mental health issues – depression and anxiety in particular
- Mood changes like irritability and anger
NOTE: I know that maybe you’ve been to the doctor and have been told that your hormone levels are within the normal range and there is no cause for concern. Here’s the thing – normal does not meal optimal. You could be on the low end of normal range but still within the normal range and be feeling like crap. Don’t settle for normal or average….aim for optimal. Choose to bring your overall health to the highest possible levels.
While there can be many causes to hormonal imbalances, the following are the most common ones that have been identified:
- Age and stage of life
- Chronic stress
- Medications (e.g. the Pill)
- Toxins and endocrine disruptors like xenoestrogens (think plastics, chemicals in skincare products)
- Poor nutrition and lack of adequate key nutrients (not enough or poor quality fat)
- Blood sugar regulation problems (think cravings, fatigue, hangriness)
- Disrupted circadian rhythm (poor sleep)
- Chronic inflammation (e.g. leaky gut & digestive system inflammation)
If you’re reading this and thinking, “this is me, this is me”…. don’t panic! I’m going to share with you 5 simple ways to support and rebalance your hormones naturally.
Eat whole foods: processed, packaged foods offering little to no nutritive value will also offer little to no fuel for your hormones.
Be sure to eat fresh over packaged foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and quality sources of free range and grass fed meats and eggs. Also, if tolerated – nuts, seeds, and legumes in moderation. Keep in mind that grains and dairy may cause or exacerbate hormonal problems for some people so these should be infrequent or avoided all together.
Eat more good fats: Good fats are essential for hormonal health because sex hormones need fat as a building block – and your body can only use the ones you give it. Fat is also needed for your brain, eyes, immune system, heart health and mood.
Opt for sources of good fats from whole foods, such as avocados, raw nuts & seeds, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, real butter or ghee (grass fed preferable), wild-caught salmon, and free range eggs – yes, you can eat the yolks (and you should)! I posted recently about Healthy Fats and Dangerous Fats. Check it out here.
Exercise daily: Working out on a regular basis, engaging in strength training, and incorporating HIIT (high intensity interval training) has been proven to be especially beneficial for keeping our bodies AND our hormones fit. And exercising also helps you sleep better.
Sleep better: Getting deeper, more restorative sleep can be the key to supporting your hormones, above all other measures (but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the other ones!). If you have trouble falling asleep, consider adding essential oils to your night-time routine (via diffuser or topical application). We have had great success adding essential oils to many different areas of our lives!
Manage stress & practice self-care: the truth is – stress can be devastating for hormonal health (an overall health in general). We need to equip ourselves to manage the stress and “business” of everyday life through the actions that bring back balance and wellbeing to our bodies AND our minds – like good nutrition, exercise and sleep!
Learn better coping mechanisms (like breathing techniques), practice mindfulness and be sure to engage in daily self-care. Self-care doesn’t have to be a complicated or expensive venture. What is it that you enjoy doing to relax? Having a bath? Giving yourself a facial? Reading a book? Taking a walk? Whatever it is, engaging in it daily (ideally) will dramatically support your hormones. Lastly, have you heard of the app Calm? It has guided meditation (5min), breathing exercises, relaxing music and sleep stories. It’s a great app that really helps you to focus, relax and sleep.
If you’d like to chat about simple ways you can get your hormones working with you (instead of against you), book a free 30 min call
RECIPE: Hormone-friendly Choco-nut Fat Bombs
- ½ cup almond or other nut butter, no sugar-added (if nut-sensitive, use sesame tahini or sunflower seed butter)
- ½ cup virgin coconut oil
- 3 Tbs raw, unprocessed cacao powder
- stevia, xylitol or monk fruit to sweeten to taste ( 1-2 drops or 1/8 tsp powder)
- silicone candy mould or mini-muffin pan
- splash of real vanilla extract or vanilla powder
- cinnamon or ginger
- pinch of Himalayan pink salt or Celtic grey salt
- In a large skillet melt coconut oil and nut butter over low heat.
- Stir in cacao powder and desired sweetener.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla (+ other add-ins), if using.
- Pour or spoon mixture into silicone candy molds or mini-muffin pan (about 1 Tb of mixture)
- Put in freezer until set.
- Remove from molds and store in the freezer or fridge in an airtight container.
Be mindful that each fat bomb is considered a full serving of fat – great for curbing the appetite, satisfying a sweet tooth and supporting your hormones with the building blocks they need! And FREAKIN DELISH. The hubby makes these HIMSELF every two weeks….seriously, that easy and totally delicious.