Let me break it down for you and make it simple: How do you know that your hormones may be "off"?
- You feel tired all the time.
- You feel like you cannot lose that extra weight (especially in your middle or in your thighs).
- For women: your premenstrual symptoms (right before your period) are more intense and painful. For men: your libido is lacking.
- You have intense food cravings.
- You're bloated and constipated.
To be honest, my list of tips to balance your hormones is insanely long, but if I had to pick the top five things that I would do TODAY to rebalance my hormones, these would be them:
1. Add at least three servings of cruciferous vegetables a day.
Cruciferous vegetables (think broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower) bind to excess estrogen in your gut and flush it out.
Specifically, there's a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) that helps your body metabolize estrogen.
Raw is best, with lightly boiled or steamed as second place. In addition, cruciferous vegetables must be chopped, crushed, or chewed well for maximal benefit. Try to use pesticide-free vegetables when possible, as pesticides are also hormone disruptors!
2. Stop using plastic food or drink containers.
BPA is a known estrogen-mimicker that can throw off your hormones. Now there is evidence that even non BPA plastics are dangerous. So, this is a hard one but minimize your plastic use, especially heated plastic (like food or drink containers).
3. Read your labels and avoid parabens.
These are chemicals found in cosmetics, shampoos and other personal care products. They are also known to be hormone disruptors.
4. Make sure you get the magic sleep hormone.
Sleep 7 to 9 hours to give the body time to release, rebalance, and replenish hormones. HGH (human growth hormone) is released during stage-3 sleep, which is when your brain is producing slower moving waves and you're less responsive to environmental stimuli. This hormone is also called the "magic youth hormone," and is also the one that athletes (illegally) use to improve performance. When we skimp on sleep, we shorting ourselves HGH (and so many other beneficial hormones).
5. Insist on making time to sit with your thoughts and relax.
I know it's not easy to squeeze in meditation when you're busy, but the benefits are undeniable. Try deep breathing, meditation, prayer, yoga — whatever it takes for you to be present and take your mind off your to-do list. Start with just 10 minutes — it can be split up over the day today. Cortisol and stress hormones create havoc to our other hormones when we are constantly stressed primarily using a process called pregnenolone steal syndrome. Our body steals from our other hormones to make more cortisol, giving us all the symptoms above — not good.
Bonus: If you have the time, interest (and, honestly, insurance coverage) you may want to check your baseline hormones through blood or salivary testing.
There you have it. Can I go on and on about other detailed ways to balance hormones? Yes. Should you ditch all this advice and just take the first hormone pill you find? NO!
I would love to hear the foods, supplements or practices that helped you balance your hormones, so we can all help each other!
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