Our hormones naturally ebb and flow over time in different stages of life. There are a number of factors that can alter our hormones including aging, medication, nutrition, toxins, stress, and certain health conditions. Here are some causes, tips and tools to combat hormonal imbalance.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers that relay instructions to a variety of cells and organs. They have many different functions in the body – hormones tell us when to eat, sleep, menstruate, reproduce, run away from danger, and even dictate our body temperature. We have dozens of hormones coursing through the body at any given moment.
Managing hormones naturally
The macro and micronutrients found in our food and supplements provide the body with fuel to keep everything in working order.
Hormones can become imbalanced with a diet that’s low in fibre, hydration, and nutrients, and high in sugar and processed foods.
Fibre helps to detoxify excess hormones through the digestive system. Estrogen, for instance, is excreted via the bowels. If you’re constipated, these estrogens can sit around long enough to be put back into circulation, which isn’t ideal.
Get your daily dose of fibre from:
- Whole grains (quinoa, barley, oats)
- Beans and legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas)
- Fruits and vegetables (avocados, apples, berries)
- Nuts and seeds (chia seeds, almonds, pecans)
Healthy fats from foods like fish, avocados and coconut are important for hormonal health. Essential fatty acids support the structure of our cell walls, which supports the transmission of information between hormones and cells, and even helps to produce hormones. Omega-3 fatty acids, for instance, support healthy cholesterol levels. Good cholesterol is a key ingredient in the creation of steroid hormones like cortisol, estrogen and progesterone.
Choose colourful, nutrient dense fruits and vegetables for a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Nourishing our detoxification pathways
Toxins come in all shapes and sizes and our ability to detoxify toxins changes throughout our life. Pollution in the air, cleaning and personal care products, smoking and alcohol consumption, and even pesticides on our produce can all contribute to hormonal imbalance. When it comes to personal care products, most of us are slathering ourselves with dozens of products containing hundreds of ingredients. Run your products through the SkinDeep cosmetics database to see what kind of ingredients you’re dealing with, and if they are contributing to hormonal imbalance.
The effects of toxins are cumulative, meaning they build up in the body over time. We have several bodily systems that actively filter out these toxins but they can still disrupt our hormones along the way.
- Digestive system
- Lymphatic System
How to support your detoxification pathways
Show your detoxification pathways some love and support with proper nutrition, exercise and supplementation.
- Proper hydration supports nearly all detox systems – make sure you’re getting in your 8 cups per day.
- Bitter herbs and flavours are great for stimulating digestion and liver function. Try a dandelion root tea, or add radicchio to your salad.
- Fibre binds to toxins and excess hormones to be excreted through the digestive system.
For a little extra help, Detox-Pro is a 15 day total detox solution to support phase I and II liver detoxification. It provides critical nutrients and antioxidants to optimize detoxification pathways.
Exercise is great for overall health and also contributes to healthy detoxification pathways. Moving your body gets your digestive and lymphatic system moving. The lymphatic system is similar to the cardiovascular system, but rather than having its own pump like the heart, it relies on our movement to circulate. Exercise also has great mood balancing and stress reducing side effects!
Cholesterol is a key ingredient in the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. It also happens to be the key ingredient for cortisol, the stress hormone. When the body is under stress, the production of cortisol is prioritized over the production of sex hormones. When stress becomes chronic, this can result in hormonal imbalance.
Stress hormones send the body into fight-or-flight. Any processes that aren’t vital to survival slow down as energy and resources are allocated to dealing with the danger. Whether you’re facing real danger or a confrontation at work, the body still releases stress hormones as if it has encountered a lion. When the body believes survival is being threatened, the jobs of estrogen and progesterone simply are not a priority.
What does stress management look like to you? Try upping your self-care game, find a new hobby that gets you in a state of flow or carve out a sliver of time to truly connect with a friend. It could be as simple as a new breathing technique or trying a new supplement. Adrenal Chill is a nourishing combination of KSM-66® ashwagandha and 200mg of L-theanine that helps to reduce stress and anxiety, while promoting relaxation.
Balancing hormones can be a tricky process. Listen to your body. If something feels off, chat with your MD or ND and ask them to run some hormone level tests.
This blog post is brought to you courtesy of CanPrev