9 Ways to Balance your Hormones Naturally

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A high-stress lifestyle seems to be the norm. Couple that with improper eating habits and you are wreaking havoc on a woman's delicate hormonal balance. Even healthy women who follow a good diet may find glitches in their hormones.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance may include PMS, osteoporosis, weight gain, altered sex drive, allergies, uterine fibroids, urinary tract infections, changes in the skin, fatigue, anxiety, water retention, hair loss, facial hair growth and even depression. By keeping hormones in balance, women can find it easier to maintain a healthy weight, keep a regular menstrual cycle, as well as exude optimal energy levels. Hormones can affect everything and if they are off, there natural solutions instead of filling your body with synthetic hormones.

1. Get to know your cycle.
If you don't know your menstrual cycle or don't get it or get it too often, most of the time this means that your hormones are imbalanced. There are a few apps you can try - Natural Cycles app, Flo app, Dot app, Period Diary app. Download one today and start tracking!

2. Work to keep your stress levels at a normal level.
I know this sounds insane, but it is NOT impossible. Studies show that women who participate in a daily meditation or yoga experience less hormonal swings than those who do not mediate stress in some fashion. Rest is also important. Many women have such hectic lifestyles that they give their body little time to re-adjust from life's demands. This disrupts the natural hormones cycles in women. Find small ways to incorporate rest and relax throughout the day.

3. Seed cycling.
Every month, your body goes through a lot of hormone fluctuation with your cycle. From day 1-14 of cycle you go through a lack of estrogen. During the second part of your cycle, your body lacks progesterone. Seed cycling is using 4 different types of seeds to help balance and lessen the fluctuation of hormone changes. Here's how it works:

Days 1-13 (the first day of your period): eat 1 tbsp daily of both flax and pumpkin seeds to boost estrogen. 

FLAX - Contain lignans, which help to bind excess estrogen so that it can be eliminated from the body. They are also known to protect against hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.

PUMPKIN - High in zinc, which support progesterone.

Days 14-28: eat 1 tbsp daily of sesame and sunflower seeds to boost progesterone.

SESAME: Contain lignans to block excess estrogen.

SUNFLOWER: High in selenium, which is good for hormone balance.

4. Get enough sleep at night. 

Sleep is when our body recovers from any imbalance it may have suffered throughout the day. Lack of sleep swings hormones into over-drive because they have to compensate for what your hormones do for you on a daily basis. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Set a bedtime and stick to it.

5. Stay away from soy the best that you can. 

The soybean did not serve as a food until the discovery of fermentation techniques. The first soy foods were fermented products like tempeh, natto, miso, and soy sauce. Soybeans contains large quantities of natural toxins or "antinutrients." First among them are potent enzyme inhibitors that block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion.

These inhibitors are large, tightly folded proteins that are not completely deactivated during ordinary cooking. They can produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer.

Soybeans also contain haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together.

Trypsin inhibitors and haemagglutinin are growth inhibitors. Weanling rats fed soy containing these antinutrients fail to grow normally. Growth-depressant compounds are deactivated during the process of fermentation, so once the Chinese discovered how to ferment the soybean, they began to incorporate soy foods into their diets.

Soy also contains goitrogens - substances that depress thyroid function. 99% of soy is genetically modified and it also has one of the highest percentages of contamination by pesticides of any of our foods.

6. Don't overdo the caffeine. 
Studies show that stimulants, including coffee cause the adrenal gland to overproduce hormones. You can drink coffee and caffeine, but try not to drink it all day long. If you do, drink plenty of water to try and balance them out.

7. Maintain a healthy diet.

Incorporate more fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, plus an abundance of raw nuts and seeds into your diet. Foods such as processed carbohydrates, fried foods, soft drinks, enriched flour, processed vegetable oil and soy products can alter hormone balance. Avoid non-organic dairy products which may contain harmful bovine growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics. These wreak havoc on a woman's system.

8. Eat more Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Every cell in your body is made of fat. These fats act to create responsive and healthy cell membranes, allowing hormones to adhere to the cell more easily. Omega 3 fatty acids also aid the body in keeping the cellular receptor sites (where hormones bind) repaired and in optimal condition. Consider eating more foods with omega-3's (salmon, almonds, avocado) or taking 500 mg of a high quality organic oil, such as hempseed, flaxseed or olive oil.

9. Let the sunshine in.

Vitamin D enters the body and is transported to the liver and kidneys, before getting converted into the active form, calcitriol. Active vitamin D is actually a hormone itself and as we know, hormones are chemical messengers that tell our cells what to do. The actions of active vitamin D have a flow on effect to our hormonal balance. Vitamin D is important for controlling insulin sensitivity, regulating mineral concentration in the blood including calcium and also controls and modulates the immune system. Vitamin D also has a strong relationship with our sex hormones. 

Adrenal glands mobilize the body's response to stress. In our fast paced modern world, our adrenals tend to get overused as our body is not able to distinguish between different forms of stress such as environmental, physical, and emotional stressors. The adrenal glands and the hormones they produce are dependent on adequate levels of vitamin D and zinc in the body to function. 

Pick one of these natural things you can do this week to balance your hormones. Have a great week Warrior!