Hormones are chemical messengers that take information around your body via your bloodstream. They regulate physiology and behaviour, ensuring our body is functioning properly, and affect all aspects of our health and well-being.
It is natural for hormones to become imbalanced at various times in your menstrual cycle and life. They are also impacted by lifestyle and environmental factors as well as medical conditions, such as stress, diet, weight, overactive or inactive thyroid or hyperglycemia. Chances are if you’re a woman, you’ve experienced imbalanced sex hormones at some point in your life.
The two main sex hormones in women are oestrogen and progesterone. Symptoms of imbalanced levels of these hormones include hair loss, bloating, fatigue, low blood sugar, fertility issues, mood swings, depression, anxiety and irregular menstrual cycles. Hormonal contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are treatments for hormone issues. However, there are also natural ways to help restore hormone health.
Here we’ve listed some of the natural remedies you can integrate into your daily routine to try to rebalance your body for a healthier lifestyle while promoting hormone health.
Optimizing your hormone health:
1. Don’t forget to sleep! 😴
Getting enough and the right amount of sleep helps maintain healthy physical and mental function. Poor sleep is associated with hunger and high levels of stress hormones. As a healthy adult, a consistent 7-9 hours around the same time every night is what your body is looking for in order to maintain a good level of hormone health.
2. Make time for exercise 🏋️♂️
Maintaining regular physical activity helps to regulate mood and energy levels. Exercise is great for controlling anxiety, stress and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
3. Keep your vitamin levels topped up 💊
If you don’t feel like you’re getting the right level of vitamins, try taking multi-vitamin supplements or speak to a GP, nurse or pharmacist to find which you might be low on. Vitamin B is important for mood and energy control and can optimise hormone health within your body. Magnesium is also important for stress levels and promoting better sleep. It is also good for PMS and menstrual cramps.
4. Eat the right type of fats 🥥
Healthy fats in your food help the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Nutrient deficiencies including not enough good-fats can therefore cause hormonal imbalances. Healthy fats include coconut oil, olive oil and avocados. Omega-3 fatty acids are likewise important to maintain a health hormone balance. These can be found in oily fish such as salmon and anchovies, and seeds such as chia.
5. Love your gut ❤️
Having a healthy gut with beneficial bacteria has also been linked to hormone production. Keep your gut on track by adding fermented foods to your diet, such as kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir. A balanced diet of fruit, vegetables and whole foods will also help aid the restoration of your hormone health.
6. Consider herbal remedies 🌿
Many herbs have been associated with the control of female hormones, however it is recommended that you speak to a healthcare professional before beginning any herbal supplements, especially if you’re taking any form of birth control.
- Dandelion root can help detoxify the body and can be used to treat mild digestive issues such as constipation, which is an important step to remove hormones from the body.
- Ginger is great for balancing female hormones and can reduce common symptoms of PMS.
- Cramp bark can be used to alleviate menstrual cramps by relaxing muscles.
- Fenugreek seed contains phytoestrogens, which help to balance oestrogen levels within your body. Research has also shown that it can help painful periods and improve low libido in women.
- Raspberry leaf has antioxidant powers and can help muscle relaxation during menstrual cramps.
- Vitex is ideal for helping to balance female hormones by decreasing levels of prolactin which results in a balancing of oestrogen and progesterone. It can therefore be used for infertility, acne and PMS treatment.
- Black cohosh can be used to treat menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings. Like Fenugreek seed, black cohosh is a phytoestrogen, and must not be taken if pregnant or breastfeeding.
All of the above lifestyle changes will have additional positive effects on your mental and physical health beyond hormone health. It is recommended that you see your doctor if you continue to struggle with imbalanced hormones after trying to integrate the above natural remedies into your daily routine.