Do not underestimate the power of hormones! They affect people in so many different ways, and are crucial to good moods and a healthy body.
So What Exactly Are Hormones?
Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs and affect many different processes, including:
- Growth and development
- Sexual function
- Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells that make hormones. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, pancreas and adrenal glands.
SIDE NOTE: If you prefer watching videos instead of reading articles, check out my video on the subject:
It can be a complicated process but I am sure these tips will help you:
1. Get some Maca Root
Maca root is a tuber in the radish family that has a history of boosting hormone production and libido. Many women notice fewer PMS symptoms, increased fertility and improved skin while men notice increased sperm production, libido and better sleep. Maca is also high in minerals and essential fatty acids, making it great for hormones. It tastes great in smoothies, and is available in capsule form or powder form.
2. Cut out the bad fat
Bad fats, such as high omega 6 polyunsaturated fats, are simply not meant to be consumed. These are man-made fats, they are not natural. The human body is about 97% saturated and monounsaturated fat, with only 3% Polyunsaturated fats. Half of that three percent is Omega-3 fats. If this ratio is imbalanced, it can cause serious issues. The body needs the good fats to build cells, but if it doesn’t have them, it will have no choice but to use the highly unstable polyunsaturated fats, which cause mutated and inflamed cells. So basically, don’t eat fats like vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine, shortening, or other chemically altered fats.
3. Limit or Avoid Caffeine
Too much caffeine can wreak havoc on the endocrine system, especially if there are other hormone stressors involved too. Avoid coffee, chocolate, cut down on tea, and replace with herbal teas instead and decaffeinated green tea.
4. Avoid Toxins
Toxins found in pesticides, plastics, household chemicals, beauty products and even mattresses can contain hormone disrupting chemicals that mimic hormones in the body and keep the body from producing real hormones. Things like the contraceptive pill do the same thing. Consider natural ways of preventing pregnancy, I suggest the book “Taking charge of your fertility.” Use a glass bottle instead of a plastic one for your water. Use a water filter, and eat organic produce and meat whenever possible. Make your own natural beauty products. Avoid these:
- Bisphenol-A (BPA)
This one is as simple as that – Sleep! It is so crucial, if you are not getting enough sleep, then your hormones won’t be in balance. If someone created a pill that gave you the same benefits as sleep does, they would surely win a nobel prize! You might even want to consider sleeping for 10-12 hours a day for a while if you really have a hormonal issue, to allow yourself to heal.
6. Consider Supplementing
- Iodine – Iodine is a trace mineral most of us are deficient in. The Japanese have one of the lowest rates of breast cancer. I believe this is partly due to the fact that they consume large quantities of iodine, but unless you are eating fish broth and seaweed everyday, then take 12.5mg of iodine daily. This is the same amount the Japanese get, so you know it works.
- Vitamin D3 – This is a pre-made hormone that supports new hormones. You can get it by getting enough sun but during winter or certain parts of the world this just isn’t possible, so either supplement, take fermented cod liver oil, or eat foods high in vitamin D. Do not ever take synthetic D2.
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil & Butter Oil – I’m putting them both together because you can usually find them in supplement form together anyway. It provides many of the necessary building blocks for hormone production including Vitamins A, D and K. It also is a great source of Omega-3s and beneficial fats. It is much better than fish oil or normal cod liver oil. Butter oil is high in the essential nutrient vitamin K2, which works alongside hormone builders such as Vitamins A & D.
- Magnesium – This supports hundreds of reactions in the body and often contributes to better sleep (which is great for hormones, obviously). The best way to get magnesium is actually through your skin, either through a oil, a spray, or magnesium flakes inside a homemade skin cream!
- Gelatin – This is a great source of calcium, magnesium and phosphate. It supports hormone production and digestive health and helps sooth inflammation. It’s great for making healthy gummy sweets!
7. Exercise Correctly
If you are trying to balance your hormones, strenuous exercise is only going to make things worse. Sleep is actually more important to help heal your body during this time. Don’t turn into a couch potato just yet though. Light exercise is best, such as swimming, walking and rebounding. Short bursts of heavy lifting (kettlebells, deadlifts, squats, lunges) can be beneficial since they trigger a cascade of beneficial hormone reactions. So avoid the extended running, cardio and exercise videos, for now.
8. Get in those healthy saturated fats
Low-fat diets are probably the number one reason people are having problems with their hormones. Hormones are made out of cholesterol. What are good fats? Traditional fats that have been around for centuries, such as grass-fed butter, cream, egg yolks, ghee, coconut milk, lard, beef tallow, coconut oil, palm oil and extra virgin olive oil. Remember though, oils have different smoke points before they go rancid, so the best ones for cooking are coconut oil, palm oil, animal fats and ghee.
9. Fix your leptin
Leptin is a master hormone that regulates hunger and metabolism. We can create a deficiency in our leptin levels by consuming too much sugar or processed foods, or by skimping on sleep—and as a result, we can experience more food cravings and a slower metabolism. It is very important to get your leptin back into balance, and that really needs a whole post to itself to fully explain.
10. Eat nutrient dense foods
This is something we should all be doing and it really helps you to get all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need. All you have to do is eat balanced, real food meals (not packaged or processed) that are nutrient dense. You don’t have to go crazy with this though. Prepare your food properly as well, as this can enhance nutrient absorption and reduce nutrient inhibitors such as phytic acid. So soak or sprout your nuts, seeds and grains before consuming. Some of the most nutrient-dense foods are:
- Organ meats – liver, heart, kidney and other organ meats have 10-100 times more nutrition than muscle meats such as chicken breast or ground beef.
- Shellfish – including crab, oysters, shrimp, clams and mussels. Fish broth is especially good as it’s high in Iodine, and so is seaweed.
- Organic Meat – Mutton, bacon, chicken, steak, it’s all good.
- Fish – Salmon especially and maybe avoid tuna due to risk of it being radiated.
- Bone Broth – One of the best sources of minerals.
- Eggs – Nutrient dense and full of healthy protein and cholesterol, vitamin D and A, and cheap as well!
- Fermented or Fresh fruit & vegetables (an obvious one!)
White flour and sugar are nutritionally empty and strip your body of nutrients, so replace those with healthier options.
- Bread – Sourdough or Sprouted grain bread.
- Flour – Use coconut flour or almond flour instead.
- Sugar – Use natural sweeteners such honey, grade B maple syrup, yacon syrup (contains prebiotics, similar to molasses in taste), molasses, palm/coconut sugar or nectar, and stevia.
11. Avoid Soy
Another thing that is prevalent in peoples diets that is causing issues is Soy, and it never used to be. You may think you are not eating soy because you don’t drink soy milk or eat tofu, but unfortunately, soy is in almost everything. Most restaurants use soybean oil to cook with, and most packaged and processed foods contain soybean oil and/or soy lecithin. Most of the meat and dairy we consume is from animals fed soy. Most mayonnaise and salad dressings contain soybean oil.
I’m sure most people have heard of the hormonal imbalances it causes. Soy is a goitrogen, which blocks iodine uptake in the body. As stated throughout this article, you will see why iodine is important for hormone health. In women, iodine is stored in the thyroid gland, the breasts and the ovaries (all hormonal places). It is okay to eat soy in small amounts, as a condiment, as long as it is naturally fermented (such as soy sauce, miso, tempeh, or natto).
12. Get more fiber
Get more fiber into your diet with raw fruit, raw vegetables, and things like chia seeds. Fiber binds itself to old estrogen, clearing it out of the system, and leading to better overall balance. This is good for men and women who suffer from estrogen dominance.
13. Manage Stress
Even if you’re doing everything else right, if you’re stressed out, high levels of cortisol will throw all your hormones off balance. Both overweight and thin people are affected by this, contrary to popular belief that only overweight people have issues with this. Researchers at Yale University, for example, found that thin women who had high cortisol also had more abdominal fat. Managing stress is important for every aspect of health, and I know it is not always easy to manage, but it is important that we all try. The Okinawans are some of the most laid back people, and they live to over a hundred! Try deep breathing exercises, even if it is only for a few minutes each day, it does make a difference. Or try meditation.
As you can probably tell, these are great things to be doing anyway to be a more overall healthier and happier person. Balancing hormones will really come naturally if you follow these general health practices and help to educate yourself on being a healthier person overall. Just do your best though, don’t stress out over it!
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