Feeling like you're always moody, having problems with gaining or losing weight, or even struggling with an inability to focus? It’s time to investigate the possibility of a hormonal imbalance, a pressing topic for both men and women in today’s world.
Many people in the Just Add Water® Family prefer to address their hormone health concerns naturally, prioritizing supplements, herbs, nourishing food, energy work, and plenty of rest! At Just Add Water®, our superstar ingredients target energy levels, hormonal balance, and a diverse microbiome.
In this blog, we’re going to define hormonal imbalance, identify the symptoms, and discover the natural options to bring your body back into flow! A nutritious diet and other healthy lifestyle habits may help improve your hormonal health and allow you to feel and perform at your best.
Keep reading for some DIY-type hormone balancing protocol that can make a big difference in your daily wellness!
To empower you in your wellness journey, here’s a little bit about what hormones even are… Hormones are molecules produced by the endocrine system; they are chemical messengers. These chemicals have huge effects on our mental, physical and emotional health. There are over 200 hormones and hormone-type substances in the body and three main types: lipid-derived hormones, amino acid-derived hormones, and peptide hormones. They each play a major role in controlling our metabolism, appetite, weight, growth and developmental processes, mood, and sexual funcion. Misfirings of those chemical messengers cause the symptoms you may be suffering from (listed below).
Frequently measuring your biomarkers and having a basic understanding of where your health and hormones are is a great practice to start. Before testing with your doctor or at home, it is important to note that blood tests don’t always tell you what is happening with your tissues and cells (where hormones have their effect). You may have been told, “your blood levels and TSH look like they’re in the normal, healthy range,” but make sure and check your T3, T4, Ceruloplasmin, Vitamin A, and copper levels as well!
A hormonal imbalance is likely caused by one of these six major lifestyle and dietary factors:
For women, hormone imbalances can appear in a variety of ages, some as early as 10 or 11, others may be more around 15, and can last until the age of 80. Usually, a hormone imbalance occurs when your female hormones, specifically estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and cortisol are being created and released throughout your body in either insufficient or excessive amounts. Other hormonal imbalance issues are related to the hormone insulin and your body’s regulation of blood sugar, thyroid hormones, or the stress hormone, cortisol.
For some women, symptoms will include mood changes, anxiety, fatigue, hot flashes, night sweats, changes in menstrual cycle, and even weight gain or weight loss. Ideally, your body produces the perfect amount of each hormone needed for various processes to keep you healthy. However, our fast-paced lifestyle, dietary patterns, age, and other factors may affect our hormonal environment.
The adrenal glands are your body’s “STRESS GLANDS”. They help your body manage both acute and chronic stress (chronic stress being the one to avoid, as it is associated with early aging and other major health issues). On top of that, your adrenals are your backup system for producing female and male sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. They are also extremely important for balancing hormones during the peri- and post-menopause, and postpartum phases.
It goes without saying that hormonal health is largely dependent on adrenal health. So what can you do to help naturally balance your adrenals?
When your body is under stress, your adrenal glands produce cortisol. In times of excessive stress, your body will actually convert your important sex hormone, progesterone, into cortisol. However, high levels of cortisol can cause weight gain, blood sugar imbalances, sleep issues, and more.
The best ways to balance the production and release of hormones from your adrenal glands is to reduce stress levels, improve sleep, hydrate often, supplement with B12 Vitamins, Folate, CoQ10, Magnesium, Zinc, Curcumin, Vitamin C, and Omega-3’s, and try adding/removing these foods from your diet:
**Also be sure to check for mineral deficiencies in your body. Potassium is essential to thyroid hormones, calcium is needed for regulating blood sugar and insulin levels, copper is needed to recycle iron, and so on! Healthy hormone balance may be as simple as getting more mineral-rich foods in your diet.
Chronic stress will often deplete your progesterone levels, which can lead to estrogen dominance. Estrogen is not only produced by your adrenal glands, it is also produced in your ovaries and testes. When there is too much estrogen in your body, it gets stored in your fat tissue.
Estrogen dominance largely occurs due to a combination of exposure to toxic hormone-mimicking xeno-estrogens in the environment along with poor diet and lifestyle choices. Being estrogen dominant results in health issues such as hormonal cancers, autoimmune diseases, candida overgrowth, and thyroid dysfunction. Initial symptoms include weight gain, abnormal periods, PMS, hot flashes, fibrocystic breasts, fatigue, loss of sexual desire, anxiety, and depression.
What can you do to help naturally balance your adrenals? Start by removing or reducing the stressors below that apply to your daily life.
Sugar, refined flours, trans fat, and junk food
Alcohol, caffeine, stimulants such as adderall, and smoking
Antacids, birth control, and medications such as such as prednisone, hydrocortisone, and dexamethasone
excessive stress from work, finances, and relationships
Chronic and acute infections
Feeling a lack of control over outcomes
An unbalanced fight or flight response
The thyroid gland is your metabolism firehouse that every cell in your body depends on. The thyroid glands produce two important hormones known as T3 and T4. They are created by combining iodine and an amino acid called tyrosine and then released into the bloodstream. If your thyroid is not functioning properly you may experience inexplicable weight gain, constipation, dry skin, fogginess, fatigue, hair loss, and depression.
There are several ways to start naturally treating a thyroid issue in the hopes of improved symptoms! For example, did you know you need retinol to make thyroid hormone? And thyroid hormone is important to a healthy metabolism and progesterone levels. Here are a few to look into: Supplementing with ashwagandha, selenium, B Vitamins, probiotics (like Just Add Water®), and proteolytic enzymes.
Both your thyroid and your ovaries need iodine for optimal hormone production. So, make sure and check that your diet includes a sufficient amount of the following foods!
Organic potatoes with skin
There’s a lot going on during the first few months postpartum. Not only are you navigating life with a newborn (sleepless nights, nursing, diaper changes, spit up, crying, etc.), but your body is recovering from birth (a classified trauma) and going through some major hormonal shifts.
While you're focusing most of your time and energy on taking care of this amazing new human, it is critical during this time to focus on taking care of yourself as well.
Eat plenty of nourishing foods
Rest as much as possible
Load up on iron
Get your thyroid checked
Try acupuncture, massages, or EFT (tapping)
Implement low-Impact movement
At any stage of life, eating a well-balanced diet is important for overall health. Enjoy a variety of organic vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products, low-fat dairy sources, and lean sources of protein. However, during menopause, an especially transitional period of a woman’s life, hormone imbalance can cause uncomfortable symptoms that can often be negated by certain foods. If you’re going through menopause, eating soy or flaxseed products may support your body.
Can you eat your way to optimal health? At Just Add Water®, we think food and nutrition is a very important component in the journey to healing. Food is medicine. While stress management and exercise are important lifestyle choices for improving hormone balance and overall health, try implementing the following dietary suggestions as well! They will support your endocrine and lymphatic systems and get your hormones back in balance.
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