Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. They are secreted by several different glands and essential for the main physiological functions of growth, development, reproduction and metabolism.
When you have a hormone imbalance (too much or too little secretion of a certain hormone), even small changes may have a serious impact on your body.
For women, the negative effects of hormonal imbalance may be more obvious. Things like menstrual syndrome, difficulty with conception, menopausal syndrome, weight gain and premature aging.
For most people, simple lifestyle changes can help restore normal hormone levels.
Here are some natural remedies for hormonal imbalance.
1. Ensure enough sleep
Our body’s own biological clock enables us to live according to a circadian rhythm. Cognition, metabolism, sleep-wake cycle and many other functions follow this circadian rhythm.
Studies have shown that a lack of sleep and circadian rhythm disorders are associated with an increase in obesity and diabetes.
If you often stay up too late, you may be likely to crave food more often, especially junk foods that contain sugar and high carbohydrates.
Weight gain or loss can be the result of hormonal changes or imbalances.
A lack of sleep can affect the secretion of several hormones:
- Leptin: it will increase as sleep time increases.
- Ghrelin（Hunger hormone): It increases as sleep time decreases.
- Insulin: Lack of sleep can cause insulin resistance.
- Cortisol: Lack of sleep can stimulate the secretion of cortisol, causing more stress on the body and the brain. This affects glucose metabolism and inhibits the production of melatonin.
- Melatonin: Often referred to as the “sleep hormone”. Frequently staying up late or having a constant lack of sleep can reduce the secretion of melatonin.
- Growth hormone: It can help the body burn fat and increase bone density. When you are in a deep sleep state, growth hormones are secreted the most.
Therefore, ensuring enough high-quality sleep and allowing your body to get adequate rest can help regulate hormone levels.
2. Manage stress
Although it is normal to feel mild stress sometimes, being under stress for long periods of time may damage your health. Stress can disrupt your body’s natural hormone balance, leading to obesity, insomnia, low energy, mood changes and even cardiovascular problems.
The main hormones affected by stress are cortisol and adrenaline. When these two hormones are frequently released and stay in the bloodstream for a long period of time, they can cause a hormonal imbalance. If your stress level is not managed and dealt with in a timely manner, this imbalance may cause serious damage to your health.
Those who are chronically stressed have a higher health risk for weight gain, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, infections, fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems (such as diarrhea and constipation), menstrual disorders or infertility.
When stress causes hormonal imbalance, it can negatively affect your entire life.
Therefore, it is important to learn how to reduce stress. By learning how to stay calm in stressful situations, you will be able to better control your response to external stimuli.
You can try the following methods:
- Practice meditation, mindfulness and/or deep breathing
- Get more quality sleep
- Drink less caffeine and alcoholic beverages
- Stick to a healthy diet
- Listen to music
- Have a massage
- Chat with your family or friends
3. Avoid foods high in sugar and carbohydrates
Your weight and appetite are controlled by hormones, especially insulin.
High insulin levels are a common problem in modern society and is the driving factor for most other hormone imbalances. The main cause of high insulin is an unhealthy diet.
We all know that sugar can increase blood sugar and increase insulin levels. Any foods that are rich in carbohydrates can cause the same result.
Chronic high insulin levels and fluctuating blood sugar levels are the main sources of stress on the body. These imbalances can in turn disrupt the regulation of other hormones.
- Increasing cortisol levels, which can lead to increased abdominal fat, poor sleep and an inability to concentrate.
- Thyroid levels are also affected, which may lead to fatigue and weight gain.
Eating a high-carbohydrate diet for a long time is likely to lead to insulin resistance, which is the fuse that causes obesity and prediabetes.
Therefore, if you want to improve insulin sensitivity and balance other hormone levels, the best way is to avoid diets containing refined carbohydrates. Things to try to avoid include sweetened beverages, wheat and other grain products and various high-processed foods.
4. Eat more healthy fats
Healthy fats are essential to overall health. They can promote metabolism, balance blood sugar and help you feel more full. Healthy fats are also essential for maintaining a good hormonal balance.
Omega-3 fatty acids are especially important for hormone balance. People need to get enough omega-3 fatty acids to help balance omega-6 levels.
Most of the time, people get more omega-6 fatty acids from their diet, because omega-6 acids are mainly found in red meat, corn oil, rapeseed oil and fried and processed foods. Eating too much of these foods can cause metabolic problems, weight gain and a hormonal imbalance.
A study in the journal Nutrients suggests that medium-chain fatty acids, such as those found in coconut oil or red palm oil, may help to regulate the body’s cells responsible for insulin response. It also balances levels of a hormone that regulates the appetite and stimulates the digestion of fat and protein.
The following are some of the best sources of healthy fats:
- coconut oil
- olive oil
- nuts and seeds
- salmon, mackerel and other fatty fish
5. Eat more fiber-rich foods
Dietary fiber can provide nutrients for beneficial bacteria in the intestines and maintain the firmness of the intestinal mucosa, helping you to avoid chronic inflammation and even autoimmune diseases caused by intestinal leakage.
In fact, most people have a leaky gut. Leaky gut is the root cause of most health problems. In other words, solving your intestinal leakage can greatly improve your overall health.
Insufficient fiber intake can also lead to constipation, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, weight gain or obesity.
Studies have found that fiber, especially soluble fiber, can improve insulin sensitivity and increase satiety.
Eating more fiber-rich foods can help balance your hormone levels. Some of these foods include pears, strawberries, avocados, apples and carrots.
6. Eat enough protein
Protein can provide basic amino acids that the human body cannot produce on its own. These amino acids help to maintain the health of muscles, bones and skin.
In addition, protein also affects the body’s release of hormones that control appetite.
Studies have found that eating protein reduces the level of the “hunger hormone” Ghrelin and stimulates the production of satiety hormones, including PYY and GLP-1. [*]
Protein-rich foods take longer to digest and increase satiety. At the same time, they can promote metabolism and help burn more calories.
Some foods with a high protein content include eggs, chicken breast, turkey and tofu.
- 8 Protein Deficiency Signs And Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
- 10 High-protein, Low-carb Foods That Can Help You Lose Weight
7. Regular exercise
An article on “BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med” pointed out that regular physical activity can reduce the risks of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Several hormones that may be affected by exercise include:
- Dopamine: Studies have shown that exercise increases the level of dopamine in the brain, thereby reducing stress and even depression.
- Serotonin: When your serotonin level is too low, symptoms such as depression, anxiety or headaches can occur. Serotonin is also one of the main components of melatonin (the hormone that controls sleep). Regular exercise can promote the release of serotonin.
- Testosterone: Low testosterone levels can lead to decreased energy levels, mood swings, increased body fat, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, osteopenia, or hair loss. Regular exercise helps to increase testosterone levels.
- Estrogen: Reduction or imbalance of estrogen is one of the causes of menopausal syndrome. Regular exercise can help increase estrogen levels and improve menopausal discomforts.
The best way to regulate hormone levels is to combine strength training with aerobic training, which helps to maximize the health benefits.
Hormones are essential to body function. Even a small imbalance can seriously affect health. For many people, changing their lifestyle and eating habits is the best way to balance hormones naturally.
Remember, if your symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention as soon as possible.