The One Thing Everyone Should Be Doing To Balance Their Hormones
One of the most important lessons we can learn about our health is that every part of our body is connected. And hormones are the fabric that weaves every system together in perfect detail. As your body's internal messengers, hormones are a critical factor in you looking and feeling your best; this hormonal dance determines the status of your weight, mood, digestion, and virtually every other factor in your well-being.
Hormonal communication typically starts with your brain telling your endocrine system how to work, and the players in this brain-endocrine game are the:
- ovaries or testicles
- gastrointestinal tract
The symptoms of hormonal imbalance are endless.
With hormones—and so many other parts of your body—it’s all about balance. You don't want hormone levels to be too high or too low; they need to be at the right levels at the right time. If your hormones get out of whack, you can experience a whole host of symptoms, including:
- weight gain
- digestive problems
- hair loss
- low libido
- skin problems
- always cold or hot flashes
Mainstream medicine typically runs basic labs for hormone health. If labs don’t come back "normal," patients are typically given a hormone cream or pill that could have side effects. If those labs come back "normal" but they are still experiencing symptoms, they are often labeled as "depressed," "just getting older," or told they "simply need to lose weight."
Balancing your hormones can be tricky.
Diagnosed or undiagnosed, if you are experiencing any (or all) of these symptoms, it can be frustrating to know what to do about it. And here's where I have to give you some bad news: In my many years of clinical experience, I have rarely, if ever, seen hormonal issues solved by a pill. There is no magical hormonal cure, as there are many different factors that are at play for hormone health that we take into account in functional medicine, such as:
With that said, Dr. Google is an endless vortex of overwhelming information, so I want to boil it down and give you one easy action step to start bringing balance to your hormones. If I had to pick one simple change that will make a positive impact on hormonal balance, I would have to go with adaptogens.
Adaptogens are the perfect way to bring balance to your body.
The adaptogenic kingdom is comprised of different plant and earth medicines that have a balancing effect on the brain, hormones, and inflammation levels. There is some exciting science on adaptogens and their ability to be helpful in:
Like a shot of zen to your adrenal, thyroid, and sex hormones, adaptogens are not only effective but a super easy change to integrate into your life. My favorite adaptogens are holy basil (tulsi), shisandra, maca, ashwaghanda, chaga, and lion's mane, and luckily, there are so many ways to use them:
1. Use them in the kitchen.
One fun way to add adaptogens into your day is to add some to your favorite soup recipe. Gently simmer the herbs for an hour or more with the rest of the ingredients to soak all up all the adaptogenic goodness. You also can add them to your favorite healthy baked goods or toasted nuts and seeds for an adaptogenic granola.
2. Make adaptogenic teas and elixirs.
You can brew your own adaptogenic teas with whole herbs, powders, or use a brand that puts them in tea bags. You can also add them to smoothies and green juices.
3. Eat them whole.
Some adaptogens, like adaptogenic mushrooms, can be eaten whole. You can bake lion's mane mushrooms in the oven with sea salt and avocado oil.