Back in the Summer of 2012, I was experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalance. This opportunity enabled me to become empowered to take my health into my own hands. I started seeing where the disharmony and imbalance was occurring in myself. Well, today I am here to discuss hormones and share how I have balanced mine (and continue to do so) through a mind-body connection.
Here are some of the symptoms I was experiencing:
- Hair shedding
- Trouble sleeping
- Low energy
- Irregular periods
- Dry skin and hair
- Increased muscle tension
- Sore muscles, tendons and joints.
I knew that these symptoms could be from several different sources: the weather, emotions, dietary lifestyle, cleansing/detoxing of body, just to name a few. I decided to get to the source of the matter by keeping a lifestyle/food journal for one month.
I kept a journal of my lifestyle changes and routines (food, supplements, herbal tonics, water intake, sleep patterns, eliminations, exercise, and even emotional issues, old thoughts, and old behaviors). This system helped me immensely in keeping track of what worked and didn’t work for me. I had a lot of changes to make but they were so worth implementing for my health and healing.
Here’s the Scoop on Hormonal Imbalance
Hormone imbalance is the root cause of various diseases and disorders. Modern city-life involves a sedentary but hectic lifestyle, lack of free time, lack of exercise, increased stress, frequent consumption of fast food, excessive consumption of alcohol, excessive smoking, air, noise and water pollution resulting in exposure to harmful chemicals, intake of food that contains preservatives or harmful additives, over-consumption of processed foods, etc. Even our emotional issues can trigger and throw us out of balance. Our thoughts about ourselves, our behaviors and more. All these factors are responsible for hormonal imbalance and the related health complications.
Hormones determine the ‘fight or flight’ response of your body to a stressful condition, and they also control your appetite and fat deposition. They determine the quality of your hair and skin. Hormonal imbalance can affect your looks significantly, and it can affect your memory and cognizance too. Thus, maintaining hormone balance is crucial for good physical and mental health. Regular exercises and good eating and sleeping habits help enhance the production of hormones in the body. A healthy diet which provides all the essential nutrients in proper proportions is essential for the release of hormones by endocrine glands.
Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids like fish, fish oil, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds help improve the hormone levels in the body. They improve your memory and cognitive thinking by replenishing the body with fatty acids (that are destroyed due to hormonal imbalances). Antioxidant rich fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds help strengthen your endocrine system, as they cancel the effects of free radicals on the body. Consumption of organic food (foods produced without using chemical fertilizers and pesticides) with plenty of clean, filtered water is essential if you want to prevent hormone imbalance.
You can start by being mindful of when, where, and how you eat. All of these factors affect both your hormonal balance and the way your body stores fat and builds muscle. Do you eat in a state of stress? Do you eat fast? Are you distracted with TV, reading, smartphone, outside stimulation that causes an underlying anxiety? I was eating amazing healthy foods but it was how, when and where I was doing it that was throwing me out of balance.
7 Main Protocols that Balanced my Hormones and Brought Peace Back into my Life
1. Cleanse thy Liver! – The liver is responsible for eliminating excess hormones (e.g. in the case of estrogen dominance). In addition, estrogen-mimicking chemicals found in many products and in the environment would also be eliminated by the liver. Therefore, supporting the liver is (in my opinion) THE most important and essential part of treating hormonal imbalance. If the liver is congested, fatty or overtaxed, ALL the good things you are doing won’t be very effective until that liver is cleansed and balanced.
2. Get the sleep you need – Limited sleep is linked to hormonal changes that increase hunger and appetite, triggering weight gain. Insufficient sleep will result in lower leptin levels leading to slower metabolism and weight gain. So there is a vicious, depleting cycle, which leaves you heavier, moodier and less energetic.
I now go to bed by 10:00 p.m. and do some light yoga stretching, deep breathing/meditation beforehand. A hot aromatherapy bath works wonder too!
3. Yoga – Inversions stimulate the pituitary gland, the master gland. The pituitary gland is “in charge” of the body’s overall hormonal functioning. Stimulating this gland promotes hormonal balance and healthy hormonal functioning. Inversions increase the flow of oxygen, internal fluids and blood thus cleansing the body’s many systems. Headstands, shoulder stands, Legs Up the Wall, bridge pose, forward bends and similar asanas are the go-to poses.
4. Add more fat into your diet – Fat is your friend not your foe. Fat does not make you fat. Your body needs fat to fuel the body’s hormonal systems, including the production of sex hormones like testosterone. Normal testosterone levels are necessary for a healthy sex drive, strong energy levels, and the retention of lean muscle mass. Dieters sticking to a low-fat regime sometimes skirt the minimal acceptable levels of fat intake, playing Russian roulette with their hormone levels. Eat fats in their raw and unprocessed state and be sure to get enough omega 3 fatty acids daily, in the form of chia seed, flax seed, hemp seed, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed and blue green algae.
5. Herbs and herbal tonics – Nature’s natural source for health balancing and rejuvenation through plants. Many Chinese, Ayurvedic and Western herbs are potent for liver cleansing and hormone balancing. I feel that when the body is in balance and harmony, the organs and systems fall back into balance. Hot herbal tonic drinks have become part of my dietary intake and have done wonders for my overall well-being. Some of my favorites include Maca, Shatavari, Red raspberry, Dong Quai, Shilajit, Ashwaganda, Reishi, Red Clover. I will share my hormone balancing tonic drink here soon.
6. Reduce Stress – The stress hormone cortisol is a big player in messing with our hormones and keeping them “out of whack”. Stress is one of the key contributors to hormone imbalance. When you’re in a stressful situation, your body produces a cascade of chemicals-hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters — that mobilize your body to escape or fight. When this is chronic, the excessive demands of on your adrenal glands, the “stress soldiers”, cause less nutrients and hormone precursors to be available to make other hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA. Studies show that you can transform a stressful state through the power of deep breathing and appreciation. Take frequent deep breathing and appreciation breaks throughout the day to support your hormones. Reduce stress through exercise. I enjoy yoga, walking outside in nature and Rebounding. I practice deep breathing, and affirming GRATITUDE first thing in the mornings, hot aromatherapy baths at night, getting away from stimulating activities at night (computer, TV, etc.) and chill out before bedtime.
7. Deep Breathing – Deep breathing stimulates vital hormone secretions throughout the endocrine system by exciting the pneumogastric nerve and providing direct massage to glands in the abdomen and sacrum, thereby balancing all vital functions, including sexual potency and fertility. Deep breathing permits deep, uninterrupted sleep and reduces time required for a complete rest. It also improves digestion, metabolism, excretion and and aids the liver. Take a slow deep breath in for a count of 4 seconds. Hold the breath in for 4 seconds. Release the breath for a count of 4 seconds. Slow and controlled. Do for as long as you can. Just focus on your breathing. Do this anytime and anywhere you need to come back to balance.
We are constantly evolving and growing on a daily basis. You are not your individual parts, you are the sum of all your parts operating in partnership. Mind, body and spirit are inseparable, and illness in one often produces illness in the others. Think holistically and your overall health will improve.
Researching food and nutrition is a passion along with cooking and preparing wholesome meals that are plant based.She loves to share recipes and information to assist others to take their own health to the next level.
She aims to ignite the spark of light in you to see the connection between the body (food & exercise), mind (change your old thoughts/ perceptions/ attitudes to NEW, positive ones with affirmations and BELIEVING in them till you LIVE them), and Spirit (Loving & accepting yourself unconditionally that it opens yourself to a source that responds in kind.)The power to heal is WITHIN you!
Kibby writes a blog where she shares recipes, organic gardening, DIY tips, natural pet care and more. She currently resides in North Georgia with her husband, three dogs and a cat.
Latest posts by Kibby Miller (see all)
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