Balancing hormones can be quite complex depending on what is going on in your body. But you have to start somewhere right? Here are three simple steps to incorporate into your daily life to begin to feel your best.
Tip #1 Lower Stress
Easier said than done. I know. When we are stressed, our adrenals work overtime to protect us from what they consider physical stress (even though we are not really in danger). This is our fight or flight response. It causes the adrenals to produce higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol to be able to "run" from this perceived danger. (think walking past a house when a dog rushes the fence....)
Because we can only produce adrenaline for a few seconds, our fight or flight response is dependent on excess cortisol, and this is where the havoc begins. We can only deal with this excess cortisol for a short amount of time, long term exposure has been linked to depression, blood sugar problems, reproductive issues, anxiety and weight gain around the middle.
The key is to support the health of the adrenals with foods rich in B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. Practising meditation or deep breathing helps lower cortisol.
Tip #2 Optimise Liver Function
Excess hormones like cortisol, oestrogen and testosterone all need to be detoxed out of the body. This is a key process that the liver performs to make sure we do not suffer from the excess of these hormones. Supporting the health of the liver, therefore, is critical. A milk thistle supplement helps liver function more optimally. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale, apples, grapefruit, garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, lemons, limes and berries are just a few foods that help support the liver.
We also need good gut health to help make sure the toxins leave the body so supporting gut health is also important. This begins with adding probiotics and fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi or sauerkraut. Prebiotic foods such as garlic, onion, potatoes, wheat, broccoli, berries and apples, just to name a few, feed our good bacteria and help keep our gut healthy.
Tip #3 Balance Blood Sugar
Bad eating habits and stress can cause our blood sugar to swing up and down throughout the day. When our blood sugar drops, we can experience anger, fatigue, weakness and depression. Normally, we then receive a signal to do something about this, such as a sugar craving or a desire for a coffee or a beer. If we respond to the craving, and consume it, this will bring our blood sugar back up. Caffeine, sugar and alcohol all cause the blood sugar to swing up high, which in turn causes a high insulin release. Too much insulin can affect other hormones.
If we do not respond to the craving, then our adrenals send a signal to tell the liver to release stored glucose and bring up blood sugar. Again, it tends to be a lot of glucose, since adrenaline is a powerful hormone. This leads to blood sugar swings. When it is high again, large amounts of insulin are released.
To keep blood sugar stable, eat small meals throughout the day with fibre and/or protein. Blood sugar stabilising foods such as Jerusalem artichokes, cinnamon and legumes can be very helpful. Lowering stress also helps keep blood sugar stable.
These are just three simple steps. Give them a try and see the difference they can make.
For more help on getting your hormones back on track, book online for a free 20 min information appointment with our Naturopaths.